Hello and good day to you. I hope this finds you hopeful and optimistic... but if not, I'm grateful that you are here, investing, placing a little bit of energy and focus in the pursuit of an excellent character, devoted to growth, evolution, and a more beautiful and meaningful life.
Today I met with a friend who was in the middle of treatment for a heroin addiction.
He had been through multiple rehabs, and had not been able to string together a consistent amount of time wherein he was sober, and making the kind of positive progress that he wanted in his life.
His life had not been a party; instead, it had been an unfortunate series of events, circumstances, and actions that were constantly contributing to this incredible hardship, and to the poisoning of the life that he really was wanting to live.
He felt stuck, beaten... he was discouraged and feeling hopeless. And as we met, he came to me with a specific complaint.
He was having a difficult time listening to a specific counselor in the program he was in, because they had not been through what he had been through, and he said to me "how can she help me? She hasn't been where I've been... she has no idea what I'm talking about!"
After listening and looking to understand where he was coming from, I asked him "isn't the truth, just the truth regardless of who says it?"
Is someone who is struggling with an addiction, or someone who is recovering from an addiction... is what they say, more true, than the words from someone who has never been high, or been dependent?
The reasonable and only acceptable answer, of course, is no!
We are fools if we refuse to hear truth and wisdom simply because of its source, and yet, it is so difficult for us to separate the message from the messenger. But if we choose to be emotionally mature, and that's why you're here, and if we seek to be humble seekers of beauty and truth, then we must be willing... we must commit to being soft-hearted, instead of closed and hard-hearted.
The key word you must adopt and believe in to become more coachable, more open to wisdom, and to helpful experience... the word I want you to place into your internal dictionary is, "consider".
To consider simply means that you are willing to think carefully about something before you make the decision to either agree or disagree with it. To do this, you must be awake and aware that sometimes you are resistant to the words of others.
I'm not suggesting that you need to take in everything that other's say or suggest to you... heaven's no... what I'm suggesting is that from this moment forward, that you become less concerned with your judgment about the messenger, and instead be committed to searching the message that you are receiving for any bit of truth, or any information that is helpful to you.
To fully consider any message, we must mind-fully, we must deliberately focus on the message, and honestly, seek for any truth that is present.
By "considering", it doesn't mean that you are obligated to accept, instead, it means that you are committed to examining what has been said, and then to freely, and intelligently choosing to abide by it, or to simply say, "thanks, but no thanks."
This is key for you...
I want to highlight your personal freedom and liberty to choose to accept or pass. I want you to clearly understand that you don't have to take anything you don't wish to take into your life... but because you are seeking to add wisdom, happiness, freedom, and success to your life, you can now be a little more open to the experience of others, and simply learn to measure and evaluate what others are suggesting to you.
The days of just saying yes to please others is over... the days of just saying no because you think you are the source of all truth or because you can't possibly be wrong... those days are over as well.
Why would you hold on to a faulty paradigm?
You wouldn't knowingly do it, and that's why you are here. You're here because I have something to present to you... something that I want you to consider... and if you feel that this concept is reasonable, then marry it... adopt it into your life, and become a little less bitter, a little less judgmental, a little less resistant... and instead become someone who is wise and seeking further wisdom.
We get so hung up on "well his tone was just off," or "she's such a hypocrite," or "why should I do what she says, she never listens to what I say?" or "they don't care about me".
We can be so provincial!
Are we not all hypocrites?
Don't we all fall massively short and yet when we deal with the world and others in such an entitled and closed hearted way, we become even greater fools by refusing the very truth that can set us free?
Just listen to the words!
Hear them, consider them, and retrieve from them the value that is there for you. That is wisdom... that is confidence... that is strength, and the beginning of intelligence.
Just listen to the words!
This personal philosophy may sound trivial and small, but you will find that there will be times when considering the messages that are being spoken or shown to you, will require your full conscious presence, and a deliberate effort to remain mindful and aligned to your highest values and principals.
How much growth do you and I refuse because of our pride and entitlement?
When will you and I leave by the way side our silly notions that we must only be spoken to in certain ways?
When will we decide to let go of our justifications, and rationalizations... our excuses, and instead open our minds, hearts, and souls to the truth that our children, spouses, friends, co-workers, or strangers have to offer us?
I urge you to seek for truth... to seek for what is helpful... for what is effective... for what works, so that when it appears in any of its forms; whether its an event, circumstances, the advice of others, suggestions, criticism, feedback, a work evaluation, etc, you will be awake, fully conscious and ready to accept it.
The Zen proverb "when the student is ready, the teacher will appear" - speaks to this simple truth.
The word teacher is metaphorical and does not apply to a single person or entity.
Life is a teacher, and so are the infinite numbers of circumstances that we must adapt to and grow from.
Commit today to being a student.
To being a scientist of life.
Instead of a know it all who is walking around with a blind fold on.
Become someone who is looking for help and truth! Decide now to consider all things!
It is so much easier to live meekly and soft-heartedly, instead of constantly resisting, fighting, and refusing. Regardless of how you feel about Jesus, and it's really up to you, he said something that I believe applies nicely to this discussion... he said "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth... blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness (truth): for they shall be filled."
Another word for blessed, is happy... happy are they that hunger and thirst after truth.
Listen, I believe you will be filled, if you can find a way to greet the world with a healthy skepticism, and with an eye and a mind for truth, knowing with full certainty that no one will force you to do anything that you don't want to, or to believe something that you don't wish to... let that knowledge... let that feeling of personal empowerment and confidence fill you, so that you can go into your life, into your relationships, into your jobs with an open mind, ready to receive anything that is beautiful, helpful, honorable, and perhaps more effective than your current mindset.
So if you find that criticism is hard for you. If you find yourself immediately becoming angry when someone is attempting to teach you, to train you, to coach you, to reprimand you, to critique you... let that be a signal to you, that in whatever that circumstance happens to be for you... that you've gotten caught up in some of that rigid, or fixed mindset... the kind of mindset that is more concerned about you proving yourself, or being seen as being right, or being overly concerned about not making any errors or mistakes, or getting caught, and instead step into that healthier, freer, more creative and happier mindset, that is less concerned about being right, and instead about learning to do right.
Instead of constantly proving your worthiness or knowledge, adopt the mindset of growth, evolution, and progress.
Adopt the mindset that everything is a process, and that if you stay committed, that you'll develop and become better and better.
Remember the wise words of Benjamin Franklin "That which hurts, also instructs." Go confidently, and I'll see you next week.