Earlier this summer I sat with my feet dangling above the water near Chelsea Piers in New York (see above). The calming sound of water was not only soothing to my mind but also to my spirit and heart. As I sat there I eagerly watched as people walked up in awe of how beautiful the view was. Then each bystander would gaze out on the Pier, stare into the distance for a minute or two and then leave. This happened time and time over.
And then I remember sitting there thinking “How representative of life is this?“
Many of us go through our entire lives chasing an empty dream, a fancy job or just fabricated success. While we may obtain the riches and fame, we then fight to the death of us to keep it. And the real “rat race” begins. And we’re forever running a race we cannot possibly win. And it’s sad that many of us don’t take the time we should to look inward and constantly evaluate our decisions and how they affect not only ourselves but the others around us.
Lately I’ve been taking at least 30-45 minutes every day to spend with myself in deep silence. I’ve been doing this for the past four months and it has made an amazing difference in my life.
Through my summer internship and recent experiences I’ve learned everything in business starts and ends with people. Thus, understanding our world, its inhabitants and their psychological behavior is essential to building a better company, brand, team, event and world. But how many of us care to do extensive research on ourselves? How many of us do deep, personal case studies seeking to understand why we individually do the things we do, why our decisions for “x” somehow lead to “y” outcome?
I think to effectively understand and lead others, we must first understand and lead ourselves. If we think about it, no one knows us better than ourselves. And if we’re able to better understand ourselves, how much better are we able to do things such as interview for that “perfect” job or give our 90-second elevator pitch when asked? How much better can we empathize with others when they desperately need it?
This world is changing and changing rapidly. As much as we are uniquely different we all share characteristics that we value and seek. We value feeling appreciated, feeling “good enough,” and feeling important.
Every day I think we should all figuratively go to the edge of life’s cliff and do two things: gaze the landscape and then JUMP. And I mean jump without any fear, any inhibitions, any regret we made the wrong decision. Because we didn’t. The most precious moment we have is the moment we have right in front of us. And sometimes things happen for a purpose but have little to no meaning. But that’s okay. In the end, the point of life is about enjoying the process of becoming better people.
As I sat at that pier I remember thinking I should be more like water – ebbing and flowing towards failure, towards success, towards happiness, towards my goals, towards the life I’m too scared to live but desperately want to have. I just have to be brave enough to take the first step.
Below are a few notes/quotes I’ve come across the past two months that have left a lasting imprint on me. Hopefully, they can help you as well:
- “Be bold. Be Vulnerable. Hustle.” ~Jay Williams
- Enjoy the process of becoming
- Simple exposure can lead to dramatic transformation
- Today success is personal. It’s about using the years of emerging adulthood to figure out what works for you.
- “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might.” ~Ecclesiastes 9:10a
- Other people’s road maps won’t be able to guide you, but they can show you how to draw your own.
- Twentysomethings: This is the time to experiment – try things and quit them and try other things. This is the time to have gaps in resumes, red in bank accounts, and a suitcase packed, ready to go at a moment’s notice.
- Personal growth looks a lot like being lost. Lost is okay. People grow more when they are lost then when they are on a straight path with a clear view of where they are going.
- Nothing gold can stay; nothing black does either.
- Life isn’t only about being a part of something greater than yourself but also creating something greater that you can be a part of.
- You don’t have to be homeless to be hungry.
- By seeing the seed of failure in every success, we remain humble. By seeing the seed of success in every failure we remain hopeful.
- Where do dreams start? They start when we’re playing, when we’re free to run and romp around. That’s when we imagine we’re bigger than we are.
- The more we can stay aware of how our mind creates our reality and environment, the more conscious and aware we can become.
- We will never leave where we are until we decide where we would rather be.
- The proof of desire is pursuit. We will never possess what we are unwilling to pursue. Desire is not what we want. It’s what we cannot live without.
- Peace is not the absence of conflict. It is the absence of inner conflict.
- “The preparations of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” ~ Proverbs 16:1,9
- We will only be remembered in life by the problems we solve and the ones we create. We will only be pursued for the problems we solve. The problem that infuriates us the most is the problem God has assigned us to solve.
- Failure leads to the greatest success: humility and learning. Success leads to the greatest failure: pride.
- Don’t think about what you want from life. Think about what life wants from you.
- We are all given two great gifts: our mind and our time. Our happiness and success in life is contingent upon what we do with both.
If you like what you read above, I also recommend these resources for further review.
- David Brooks’ 2013 commencement address (video and speech) at Sewannee College
- George Saunders advice to Syracuse University’s 2013 graduates
- BOOK – The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter – and How to Make the Most of Them
- ARTICLE – “There’s More to Life Than Being Happy“ (via The Atlantic)
- POEM – “See It Through“
- VIDEO – “This is Water” by David Foster Wallace
Have a blessed Sunday! ;)