“Thou hast only to follow the wall far enough and there will be a door in it.”
—Marguerite De Angeli, 20th Century American writer/book illustrator
Image from Amazon
Being persistent and staying the course is a solid approach to discovery and achieving excellence, offered to us all. These days it seems fewer and fewer of us take this approach. It appears that the pursuit of/grasping for pleasure and comfort and the avoidance of discomfort and pain has softened many of us to far more frequently pursue the paths of least resistance.
Over the years I’ve been repeatedly introduced to the Japanese concept of IKIGAI, which is defined as a central purpose or reason for being. Two of the most common perspectives on this topic relate to either a societal or personal view of life that can drive our daily pursuits.
What is your personal or societal IKIGAI? How has or can it fuel you to follow more of the long and difficult walls of life until you discover and open the doors to your destiny?
“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”
—Nelson Mandela, late S. African political leader and philanthropist
Image from Unsplash by Meg Boulden
Last month Wendy and I had dinner with a long-lost friend — Mitchell, and his wife Terry. Mitchell and I were schoolmates from first grade through high school.
Although many of the stories we held from so long ago have not changed, we found great pleasure exploring how we have both grown and altered in pursuing our individual paths.
Our discussion reminded me of visiting my grade school and former teachers when I was a college freshman. I was amazed at how small the desks, hallways, and students were.
Select and read one of your favorite books from your youth. Note your thoughts, feelings, and emotions regarding how you have growth and altered into the person you are today.
“Has the most important thing changed? Am I chasing an outdated target?”
—James Clear, author, entrepreneur, and photographer
Image from Unsplash by Ross Findon
Today’s quote contains two closed-ended questions. Did you answer yes or no to either or both?
Let’s change them a bit to make them open-ended….
What important things in your life have changed in the past year?
Where are you chasing a goal or target that is no longer relevant or essential?
Explore both the open and closed-ended approaches with a friend, family member, mentor, or coach.
Please let me know what new insights and actions result from this inquiry.
“Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you’ll understand what little chance you have of trying to change others.”
—Jacob M. Braude, 20th Century Judge of the Illinois Circuit Court
Image from Unsplash by Edward Howell
How much time do you spend in your efforts to change others in your life? Consider your specific efforts with family members, friends, and professional colleagues. What is this process like, and how have these folks responded to your attempts to right their wrongs and see/do things your way?
Instead of putting all this effort into changing others, consider redirecting these energies into your own developmental pursuits to change yourself. Maybe your example of change and improvement will cause a positive ripple of change within others in your communities… or maybe not.
In what areas will you stop your efforts to change others in your life?
How and where can you then double down on your own efforts to change yourself for the better?
“Living up to a dream is rarely as important as entering it for all it has to teach.”
Image from Unsplash by Keli Stirrett
What did you dream about as a child? How did your dreams evolve or change as you entered adolescence and your early adult years?
If you are a bit older, what did your dreams include in your 30s, 40s, 50s….?
Where did the dreams take you, and what did you learn along the way?
What vision, mission, and goals do you have for yourself today?
How mindful are you about picking up the lessons along each step of your path?
Motivational Speaker Les Brown and a few others authors suggest we keep shooting for the moon, because even if you miss, you will land among the stars.
“When the music changes, so does the dance.”
—West African proverb
Image from Unsplash by Mitchell Orr
For most of us, it has been quite some time since we’ve gone anywhere to dance. Weddings and other large gatherings where we celebrate and let loose with our best moves seem like distant memories of better times.
It feels like we’ve been engaged in a kind of musical chairs where the chairs are being removed and the music of change starts and stops without notice. We’re all on heightened alert, anxious about staying in the game and securing our seat.
As we look to find our footing in the new year, many of us are beginning to feel the beat and rhythm of new opportunities and possibilities to dance again.
How can you make and listen to the music of a better future for yourself and your communities? Where can you discover and create new opportunities to dance and celebrate your life in the year ahead?
“No man steps in the same river twice.”
—Heraclitus, Ancient Greek, pre-Socratic, Ionian philosopher
Image from Unsplash by Roma Ryabchenko
When you examine the pace of change in your life, what do you see?
When you look at your various communities, where do you notice small, subtle changes? Where are the tectonic shifts far more noticeable?
Just as a river changes its flow and its course over time, our lives are always flowing from one day to the next. To fight or resent such change is like grabbing a handful of air.
Where are you currently upset and angry about the course of your life?
Where are you trying to paddle upstream against the currents of change?
How can and will you instead step into the new river of each day, embracing and influencing your journey?
“Sometimes in the winds of change we find our true direction.”
Image from Unsplash by Eunice Stahl
Few of us are sailing the high seas or doing much boating these days. All of us, however, have seen dramatic climate changes in the weather, and in society. To what degree are you being buffeted or pushed around by the winds of change?
Alternatively, how are you learning to adjust your personal and professional sails and rudders to navigate toward safer harbors and a better world?
How is a meteorologist different from a sailor? Which of these professions reports and forecasts the changes occurring — and which uses that information to direct and adjust their efforts towards desired destinations?
How can and will you take more mindful moments during these dynamically changing times to clarify and pursue your path?
“One reason people resist change is because they focus on what they have to give up instead of what they have to gain.”
—Rick Godwin, American Pastor
Image from Unsplash by NeOBRAND
We all know in our heads and even in our hearts that change is inevitable. The law of impermanence is pretty evident, yet our need for control has us always swimming upstream against the currents of life.
What is there to lose? is a question worth exploring deeply. It is this real or perceived loss that troubles us most. The Serenity Prayer, originally written by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr in 1932, can be helpful to navigate such waters. The modern version reads:
God grant me the Serenity to accept
the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things
I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference
Where and how can a shift of mindset to a positive, opportunistic view of change help you explore and realize previously invisible gains that await you?