Category: Blog

How To Be Truly True

This above all – to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as night follows day, thou canst not then be false to any man. – William Shakespeare

We’ve all heard the first part of this quote, but rarely is the rest of it mentioned.

Pity.

Because as important as it is to be true to yourself, to know yourself and be authentic, you must be true to others.

Why?

To be untrue to others is a violation who you are, or at least who you’re wanting to be.

As Stephen Covey has said: “when you pick up one end of the stick, you pick up the other.”

There’s no such thing as “selective integrity.”

You’re either honest, or you’re not.

It’s About The Soil

While watching Carol Leifer on the Tavis Smiley Show talk about how she kept trying, and trying, and trying to get on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson I had a realization.

Tavis was asking how do you keep going when you keep getting rejected (it took her 22 auditions to finally get booked)?

Carol talked about how it’s important to not take things personally and keep focused on your goal, but I believe there’s a more important, underlying lesson: it’s not about the plant, it’s about the soil.

*  *  *

Let me explain.

What Tavis was asking about is how do you grow the plant?

What is the process for doing the thing?

Is that an important question?

Sure. Absolutely.

But the more important is to realize where the drive to keep going comes from. It comes from within.

To introduce another metaphor, it’s like lifting a heavy weight. One can understand the mechanics of lifting a heavy weight, but if the muscle capacity isn’t there it simply won’t move.

That’s what Carol really had: capacity.

She had good soil.

Was she trying to grow something challenging?

Absolutely.

She was trying to grow one of the toughest crops, ever: success as a woman comic in the 70s.

Did a bunch of seeds fail to produce anything?

Yup.

But she kept planting, and tending and re-planting.

She didn’t fail all those times because there was something wrong with her soil, something wrong with her, she was trying to grow something in one of the hardest conditions imaginable.

*  *  *

The lesson here is that to do tough, difficult things – and so much of what we want is exactly that – we need to focus on our capacity, on our “soil.”

If we ignore those things the weight will never move and the plant will never grow – no matter how much we “know” about how it supposed to work.

What Independence Requires

People have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want and the courage to take. – Emma Goldman

As we pause in the United States to have cook-outs and watch fireworks, let’s take a moment to reflect on what our Independence Day is all about.

Back in 1776 Thomas Jefferson gave us words that birthed a nation. It’s been quite a ride since then and I would say we’ve done pretty well.

Do we have (much) further to go?

Absolutely.

*  *  *

I ask us to pause, not just for the burgers, dogs, potato salad and beautiful, bright bangy things, but also to reflect on what it means to be “independent.”

It doesn’t mean to alone, or selfish, or isolated.

It means that we take responsibility for what we want, and who we want to be.

Just as our nation cleaved itself from England in order to be more free, we would do well to ask ourselves what shackles we carry around in our own lives.

And then to declare our independence from that which does not serve us.

That takes careful and expansive thinking and the hard work of being responsible for what our dreams require.

It’s how we become free.

One Way To Live Really, Really Well.

I have a theory about where much of our behavior comes from.

I trot it out often, maybe too often . . . .

But this theory does have value, even if seen again as an abstraction.

What I mean is that if I distill this theory and its “implications” I can arrive at something useful, regardless of whether someone sees the novelty, usefulness and general brilliance of my (specific) thinking (I was being a little cheeky there, can you guess where?).

*  *  *

Anyway, to my point.

When we suppose that there’s explanation for what we do, that might be beyond our general conscious awareness, and that entertaining that supposition and being willing to try new things for having considered something differently, our lives can shift.

They can shift in unexpected and beautiful ways.

Once we’re willing to think that our lives are not fixed and nearly-impossible to change, we open a doorway to new thoughts.

We become willing to compare what we want to change with what we’re actually doing and it’s genesis and then we are free to think, feel and be differently.

*  *  *

Life becomes more about curiosity and cause-and-effect rather than a fatalistic slog marked by annoying frustrations (and worse) that seem to keep happening . . . .

When we imagine, with intention and discipline that things often have an explanation, that comes with the possibility of better and different actions and outcomes, we can live life differently – and better.

Impossible, or Just Hard?

Everything hard was impossible, until someone did it.

What’s “impossible” for you?

What was once “impossible” for you?

The only thing you need is to believe you can start.

You don’t have to believe you can finish, or succeed, just some clarity that it’s worth starting.

After you start, just keep going until either 1) you’re done or 2) it makes no sense to continue.

You done plenty of “impossible” things.

And they were “hard” at first.

So, put aside “hard,” and the illusion of “impossible,” and just start something.

You can always stop, but only if you start.