Category: Blog

It’s All About Choosing

To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there. – Kofi Annan

Tell me about the classes you took in school about developing an accurate and resourceful self-image, knowing your values and strengths and how to set and achieve authentic goals.

I’d say the best time to start taking such classes is in middle school, but I’m no developmental psychologist, and I might be wrong about the best, exact, time to learning the fundamentals of how to live well.

The problem is that we don’t, by-and-large, teach any of these things in the USA (at all… ).

So, to reference Mr. Annan’s words above, your life is choices and choosing well requires certain skills and knowledge.

As importantly, few have had systematic training in developing proper awareness and life skills.

Thus: it is incumbent on each of us to learn these skills and develop a useful consciousness and life skill-set.

You can do it on your own, or as more and more people are doing these days, hire a coach to help you.

Begin With Truth

Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable. – Peter F. Drucker

There’s a little saying that I like to remind myself of: How You Do One Thing Is How You Do Everything.

Many may disagree, but it’s very useful for me. It reminds me that when I slack off, or do a sub-par job, it matters.

By – consciously* – doing less than I can I chipping away at my soul. I am saying to myself: “You could have done better, but you chose not to.”

This has real implications, not just in the quality of my work, but in my view of myself. When I do what’s “acceptable,” rather than what I know is “right,” I lie to myself.  (And when I lie to myself, I trust myself less, and when I trust myself less, I feel bad about myself and think smaller about who I am and what I can do… )

So, in matters both external (the work you do with and for others) and internal (the thoughts you repeat and believe and the goals you set), choose what is right rather than what is (merely) “acceptable.”

***

* And that’s the key… Once I become aware that I’m not doing my best, and continue, I’m out-of-integrity – and I suffer.

The Waste of Worry

“If you have fear of some pain or suffering, you should examine whether there is anything you can do about it. If you can, there is no need to worry about it; if you cannot do anything, then there is also no need to worry.” – Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama)

I don’t know if it’s an original thought or I heard it somewhere and forgot, but I have long said worry is just a prayer* for what you don’t want.

I believe it was a mentor of mine (Steve Chandler) that said “worry is a misuse of the imagination.”

So what is a proper use of the imagination? Of thought?

It’s asking yourself:

“Does this matter?”

“If it does, in what way, to what extent?”

“If this didn’t matter, what is creating my unease? How can I create a resourceful cognitive/emotional state?”

Some more:

“What do I truly want in this situation? How can I move towards that?”

“What is the best outcome for all involved, including myself?”

“Putting aside what I don’t want, and being in a state of gentle curiosity, what might be what I want?”

***

* Mind you, I am not a religious person, but prayer is just such an apt word.

What You Have

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where to go. – Theodor Seuss Geisel

Everything you need, you have.

The only other thing is what you do:

What you think.

What you feel.

What you believe.

What you insist on.

What you resist.

What you focus on.

What you create.

You have everything you need.

What are you going to do?

Why You Should Forget (Most) Everything You’ve Heard About “Finding Your Purpose”

Great minds have purpose, others have wishes. – Washington Irving

I want to take a little bit of a different direction and use this quote to talk about “finding your purpose.”

Based on what I’ve read and some pretty deep thinking, I believe “purpose” is misunderstood.

It would seem that the popular understanding of purpose is that’s it’s something to unearthed, something to be discovered. And once discovered, can serve as guide for life and all its activities.

Poppycock!

What a mind-fudge!

Such a view sets us up to fail, and fail miserably in many cases.

Implicit in such a scenario is that if you don’t divine your purpose, you’re doomed to a rudder-less, devoid-of-passion life, merely bumbling from one pedestrian pursuit to the next.

There’s a alternative though.

We all have a purpose, I will allow that. But it’s not some Holy Grail like thing that waits in the ether for use to finally, perhaps miraculously, discover.

Our purpose is something we create – something we bring into being.

At the outset, your purpose is self-knowledge and finding the willingness to be curious and work hard.

It’s sort of like you before you were born. Before you were conceived really.

Prior to your conception everything necessary for you to exist was already in place, but it took some doing to convert your potentiality into reality. And it happened. You were conceived and then you were born.

But you had to develop in the womb first. That’s how the process works. Babies must gestate.

So too with your purpose. There’s a process to creating your purpose.

It’s starts with believing that you are here to do things and do them as only you can. (Not that you’re better than anyone… everyone has their own purpose (and way of serving and contributing).)

What needs to happen for you to create your purpose is a combination of gentle curiosity and inquiry combined with hard work and experimentation.

You need to be curious about what it is you might be very good at, and derive great satisfaction from and develop a willingness to try stuff, and to work hard while doing so.

As you engage in this cycle of curiosity and inquiry and experimentation and hard work you begin to create your purpose.

As you explore the gentle whispers of your soul you work your butt off and learn what feeds you and what drains you – and what you resist and what draws you in deeper and deeper.

Purpose is something you create.