“The path of least resistance is a terrible teacher.”
Image from Unsplash by Taylor Flow
Look back on your life and consider your most impactful teachers.
Which of them left a lasting impression where — even today — you still refer to their lessons?
How often do you recall wanting to be challenged and stretched versus going for that easy “A”?
In today’s convenience-centric world, the goal most often seems to focus on maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain.
What has this approach taught us and how has it weakened our spirits and resolve?
Consider reading Robert Fritz’s book, The Path of Least Resistance to see what it has to offer.
Feel free to let me know your top take-aways as you wrestle with this concept.
See the humanity in others. We are all wrestling with our own stuff that is making life messy and difficult.
—Calm App Reflection
Image from Unsplash by Bud Helisson
To a certain degree we are all narcissists. We can’t help but look through the lenses of our own trials and challenges each day. Doing this can often create a separation between ourselves and others in our communities. We can come to think that the burdens we carry are somehow unique to us and are of far greater magnitude.
I recently watched the National Geographic series 9/11 One Day in America. and got a big wake up call at how our troubles pale in comparison. I’ve also realized in the past few years since Covid the wrestling done by most people is far more than I ever imagined.
To what degree do you take the time to fully embrace the humanity in others? Take a few extra moments today to be interested rather than interesting and see what you discover.
“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”
—Truman Capote, 20th Century American novelist, playwright and actor
Image from Unsplash by the blowup
Wendy and I recently spent a week in Florida to help celebrate one of our dear friend’s 90th birthday. This special lady is only four feet eight inches tall and probably weighs only a bit more than my five-year-old grandson.
During our time together, I had numerous chances to discuss some of her challenging life events and pivotal moments that helped shape who she is.
It is often said that good things come in small packages—in her case, I’m sure that her keen wit, energy and enthusiastic love of life had folks come from near and far to celebrate her flavorful life!
How would a shift from seeing failure as a bitter pill to a tasty condiment give your life more flavor to savor in the years ahead?
“Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”
—J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of The Rings
Image from Unsplash by Ross Stone
Over the last month, much attention has focused on the many wildfires in Canada and their significant impact on the air quality in many North American cities.
Canada has 28% of the world’s Boreal Zones, which represents 552 million hectares (a hectare is about 2.5 acres or 10,000 square meters). About 75% of this area is forest and woodlands.
Forest fires have a renewal capacity to keep these relatively young forests spanning the earth in other countries including the United States, Norway, Sweden, Russia, and China.
Some additional good news to counter the carbon releasing aspects of these fires is that their roots go deep enough to keep these trees alive through the often-bitter cold winters experienced in these regions. Many bird species and animals—such as caribou—count on this deeply rooted ecosystem to thrive.
Where in your life are you deeply rooted?
How does this capacity help you survive and thrive during the burning and frigid aspects of life?
“When elephants fight, it’s the grass that suffers.”
Image from Unsplash by Jonathan Plugaru
Who are the elephants in your world? Take a look through your personal and professional communities. Look also beyond your immediate communities to national and global elephants that are throwing their weight around.
How are their skirmishes and all-out brawls impacting the grass and smaller, less powerful creatures beneath their feet? How much disruption, destruction, and scars are left that may never fully heal?
Where and how can you use the sunnier, milder days of the coming spring to calm the elephants in your world?
What actions can you take to reseed your world for all creatures to graze in peace?
“The challenges that we face test us and help reveal our true potential.”
Image from Unsplash by Taylor Wilcox
In school, we receive a lesson and then take the test. In life, we are tested and challenged—and only then do we sometimes embrace the lesson.
How and in what ways are your personal and professional circumstances testing your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual capacities? Where are you being pushed and pulled to stretch beyond your perceived limits?
Where does your true potential lie beyond your current view of yourself?
Answering these questions many not always give us a full picture of our potential growth opportunities. Sometimes members of our communities who act as sounding boards or mirrors can reveal even more than we can visualize on our own.
Identify at least one family member, professional colleague, mentor, or coach to explore the various challenges and tests you are facing. Explore how such relationships can reveal even more of your true potential. Consider how taking on such a role for others can also enhance your own growth.
“Global Warming = Atmospheric Cancer.”
Seth Godin, American Author
Image from Unsplash by nikohoshi
For the past century—and particularly the last few decades—most of us have been paying increased attention to climate change.
Signs of our industrialized society include increases in local and global temperatures, receding glaciers, and melting Arctic and Antarctic ice shelves. Even the lessening ability to see a night sky full of stars is an indicator.
One non-scientific observation I’ve made recently is the seeming bluer skies and fresher air I experience on my daily walks. My neighbors and their dogs seem to notice as well.
Perhaps taking our feet off the gas pedals of our lives is giving our beautiful planet time to breathe and begin healing.
How can we all continue to take far better care of our extraordinary planet as we continue to combat, treat, and prevent the impact of COVID-19 and other local, national, and global challenges?
“The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.”
—Lin Yutang, 20th Century Chinese inventor, novelist, and philosopher
Image from Unsplash by Faye Cornish
To what degree are you a wisdom seeker?
Would you also describe yourself as an explorer and life-long learner, looking to grasp and understand what makes us and everything around us work?
Given the considerable challenges facing all of us and the world, it is natural to see the need to work harder than ever to hold our ground and not regress and be defeated.
Perhaps instead of life being a series of adding more and more in order to feel better, it may be time for a bit of selective editing in which less is more.
Where would limiting or eliminating some of the non-essentials in your life lead you toward greater wisdom?
Feel free to reply to this post with the actions you intend to take.
“Conflict is essential to progress. No matter how much the engine revs, without friction the wheels cannot move forward.”
—Rob Reinalda, Executive Editor at Lawrence Ragan Communications
Image from Unsplash by Simon English
Here in Michigan, especially around the Detroit area, the Car/SUV/Truck is still king of the road. Toward the end of January, we had a bit of foul, frigid weather, including one particular morning in which my driveway was a sheet of black ice.
Without the expected traction from the driveway, I struggled to make it to my car and barely avoided falling, which was probably a comical sight to neighbors who may have been watching!
Where are you experiencing a lack of traction, or feel you are spinning your wheels?
Where do you notice conflict or areas of friction related to an important relationship or project?
How might this gritty or challenging situation actually be the source of friction that helps you move things forward?