I’ve been reminded of this concept several times over the last few weeks, so much so, for once, this post practically wrote itself.
As most ah-ha moments that come to my mind, there’s an Oprah reference to boot. It was a conversation that I came across between her and Iyanla Vanzant where Oprah was asking, why, when people are miserable, is it still so difficult for them to change?
Her response, was simple, but profound: “…because they can control it.”
She went on to say when people complain about being broke, lonely, or unsatisfied in anyway, they still know how to do that. Despite the unpleasantness, it’s predictable, and for whatever reason, humans will almost always choose that over the unknown. Change requires not only embracing the unknown, but diving right into it every chance you get. It’s not for the risk-averse.
The next relevant moment came from audio by Wayne Dyer that I try to listen to yearly called no limit living. In this talk, he categorizes people in three ways based on a flat tire scenario: people that do nothing and are immobilized by the event (this is the lowest rung of self-actualization), people that get out and kick the tire profusely and are angry that they have to deal with such a thing, and then there are people that without hesitation or feeling bothered, get out, change the tire, and get back on track to their destination.
As much as our need for control reigns supreme, you can not control where someone falls on that spectrum…and as easy as it seems to state your claim at being the latter…it takes work. A lot of work. And even when you feel like you’ve made it to the promise land of emotional intelligence, there will be occasions when you automatically revisit the lower rung, unexpectedly.
It was ultimately seeing one of my favorite quotes that made this post come to life.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Theodore Roosevelt, The Man in the Arena. Excerpt from the speech “Citizenship In A Republic”, delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910
The real tragedy, in any situation, is not being willing to get back in the car and reach your final destination. We all have a vision for our lives (if you don’t, that’s step 1) and only we can control if we get there or not.
So dare greatly and don’t let anything render you speechless or unable to move…and remember…everybody dies…but not everybody lives.
Ironically…the airline lost my luggage for an international flight today…this was a timely message for myself included…so I’m gonna live it up!