I often think about the difference between intellectualizing a concept and actually experiencing it. I think about how hearing something versus feeling something impacts how and why we make decisions.
For example: The little kid who you tell ten times not to put his hand on the stove hears you but it isn’t until he puts his hand on the stove and experiences the pain that he realizes not to do it again.
We learn by doing. Change becomes a priority, as the Heath brothers say, when we see, feel, and experience the pain point. No amount of telling someone what to do is necessarily going to spring them into action, at least not in a self-motivated and sustainable way.
Growing up, we hear a lot about what we should and should not do, what will or will not make us “successful,” how to lead a fulfulling life, and so on.
It’s always been in my nature to get curious and question what I’m told. I want to know the intentions and motivations behind the words. (It drove my Mom crazy.)
“But why should I do that?” I’d ask.
“Because I said so,” Mom said.
“Tell me more about your intention,” I’d say.
“Okay, Twelve,” my Mom endearingly called me as an inquisitive and outspoken twelve-year-old.
When receiving advice, I always wondered (and still do)… is this person trying to keep me safe? Are they projecting their own past pain? Are their values aligned with mine? What are their motivations? What’s the quickest way for me to experience the lessons first-hand?
I believe the best way to learn is to live for the question and experience the answers — to go through the pain, to feel the trials and tribulations, to see the opportunity — so that you know what does and does not work well and feel right for you.
When I see something important that I want and I feel scared about it (which most important things I want have some level of fear attached to them), I usually dive fully in with my heart wide open.
I’ve discovered the best way for me to learn and realize what’s possible is by giving all my heart and soul, even if things don’t work out. It’s in the times that I fall short, or feel so overwhelmed that I can’t see the light, that I often learn the most about myself and what I’m capable of. It’s in times of despair and cloudiness that breakthroughs emerge. And what emerges is larger than hope—what emerges is clarity.
Clarity is all we’re ever looking for. Clarity on why we exist, clarity on the bigger picture, clarity on what we want, clarity on how we get it.
Clarity. Clarity. Clarity.
So how do we get clarity? We decide to go do something that sparks our curiosity. We take action toward a specific goal. We make mistakes. We experience the answers. We learn about ourselves. We keep making mistakes. We keep experiencing answers. We become far more confident and wise. We remember to stay present. We do the best we can. We keep going.
Let me repeat: We. keep. going.
Perseverance is what enables you to experience the answers of why you exist, what matters to you, and what on earth you are meant to be doing with your one special life.
Winston Churchill said that success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.
Winston Churchill is a smart man.
Keep going. Live for the question and give yourself the time and space to experience the answers.
p.s. After a few months of writer’s block, this is the first post IN A WHILE that literally poured out of my heart and soul. It involved very little thinking and took me about twenty minutes to write. My fingers were typing so fast I could barely keep up! This is when writing feels most natural and alive for me. The period between the last time I wrote like this and now was PAINFUL at times. I kept going. Our only choice ever is to keep going. So if there’s something you love that you’re struggling with, you’re not alone. Keep going.
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