Excerpt from Do the KIND Thing
Talking with yourself often and deeply is not always an easy task but there are no shortcuts to understanding what makes you tick. You must take the time to ask yourself questions. Your answer most likely will not come overnight. And it may evolve as you gain other experiences. But that is why it is so important that you consciously invest the time to listen to your inner self along the way. Knowing what makes you happy is presumably the first step to actually being happy. So why is it that so many people go their entire lives without considering it?
It is tough work, actually, not just because our modern culture of tweets, blogs, emails, and Facebook posts extinguishes our time for deep reflection, but because these are tough questions that are not easy to answer. If you never ask them, though, you will never even start the journey to find the answers. And the journey itself may be the answer. If you can find what you love, and do it, your success is guaranteed— because every day pursuing what you care about will fulfill you. But if you let societal pressure fool you into thinking that your “goals” are financial success, or power, or fame, or other empty concepts on which you benchmark yourself against others, you’ll be like a hamster running on a wheel, never quite reaching the goal.
Even though this advice may seem obvious, in a culture that celebrates materialism and consumerism, at many points we are tempted to measure our success against that of others. It happens to me and I have to remind myself of my priorities. Many talented and smart people get lost chasing the wrong goal. To find our true north, we need to talk to our innermost selves. We need to dream— to consciously daydream. To let our thoughts and our consciousness take us wherever they may. Daydreaming helps us to visualize the heights we can reach, to imagine new worlds, to imagine ourselves in new places, to never believe someone who says “it can’t be done.”
Every major accomplishment starts with some people thinking it is impossible to achieve it and naïve to try. Our fates are interlinked nowadays now more than ever. The challenges that new generations are inheriting are daunting. From resource scarcity to global warming, tackling these challenges will require that we recognize our shared humanity and work together. We cannot look around for someone else to solve these problems. We are the ones with the power and responsibility to lead the way.
Talk to yourself because along the road, as you commit to excellence and aim high, there will be times when you fall. And the higher you climb, the bigger the fall. Sometimes that fall will hurt. A lot. And at those times, when you talk with yourself, it is most important that you love yourself and cut yourself some slack. Be comfortable making mistakes. As long as you learn from them. But don’t be afraid to keep climbing, and falling. For failures, and the lessons we draw from them, most often precede our greatest successes.