I don’t know how many of you are like me on this one, but I find myself thinking about “my life” a lot. What am I doing and not doing to “make it happen”? What have I done that can’t be changed, for better or worse? What have I learned, and forgotten (again)? Can I get an amen?
And, really — what is the “it” that I’m chasing after/carrying on my shoulder/running from?
“It” is hard to really know because, frankly, “it” has changed a lot over the years. Some of “it” was youthful ways, some of “it” was the school of hard knocks, some of “it” was un/realized luck. And sometimes “it” is because I see something completely differently now, because sometimes “it” finds you. And, honestly I think it’s a good thing, but maybe it’s not. How can you really ever know?
It’s like the taoist parable…
This farmer had only one horse, and one day the horse ran away. The neighbors came to condole over his terrible loss. The farmer said, “What makes you think it is so terrible?”
A month later, the horse came home–this time bringing with her two beautiful wild horses. The neighbors became excited at the farmer’s good fortune. Such lovely strong horses! The farmer said, “What makes you think this is good fortune?”
The farmer’s son was thrown from one of the wild horses and broke his leg. All the neighbors were very distressed. Such bad luck! The farmer said, “What makes you think it is bad?”
A war came, and every able-bodied man was conscripted and sent into battle. Only the farmer’s son, because he had a broken leg, remained. The neighbors congratulated the farmer. “What makes you think this is good?” said the farmer.
I try to use “begin with the end in mind” as my compass with pretty much everything in my life & work. Then, of course, there’s execution & the limitation of 24 hours in the day. Like I said earlier, what am I doing and not doing to make that “ending” happen? Why? And really — do I even see “it”? That’s the challenge — listening & staying aware enough — doing enough (and less) to see “it” — And staying tuned & disciplined enough to what “it” is that you want your life to be.
It’s like those 3D stereograms we’ve all stared at in the mall…
At first it’s just a sky full of stars, but when you look at “it” in just the right way — focused — but not too focused, that’s when the maze finally appears. The meaning of life, hiding in plain sight the whole time. And if you try too hard, you’ll never see it. Your closest friends may occasionally chuckle at your impotent ocular ability. Oh, sweet agony…
Or worse, what If I’m just messing with you and really there’s nothing more than a picture of stars? That’s the risk, that’s life — in good times and bad. Happy and sad. Pumped & punked. Look away just for a second — and “it” is gone. Sometimes right after you saw “it” so clearly. Then there’s the moments when nothing can shake you from seeing “it”. Or did someone just tell you what you were going to see and all you really saw was their “it”? Either way, there’s no guarantee that even if you do see “it” — the end — that “it” will happen, because sometimes life decides for you. But you knew that already — especially since you began with the end in mind.
So, if you haven’t done it in a while — it might be a good time to reflect, write down, or revisit what you want your gravestone to say. “It” is easy, just begin with the end in mind… 🙂