Being terrified doesn’t mean you’re weak, it means you’re human. And the most important steps we take in life are often going to be the most terrifying. They’re terrifying because they’re significant. They’re terrifying because they take you from where you’ve been and set you on a path to somewhere new. And because that path is new, it is mostly unknown, and we’re afraid of the unknown. The the wold belongs to those who step anyway. The world needs you to take that next step.
Discussions about the Escape Velocity framework for life.
Today they posted the video from my TEDx talk.
I tell a very concatenated version of my story, focusing on what led up to one of the most pivotal moments in my life, and then introduce one of the foundational aspects of achieving Escape Velocity — a fundamental change in how we see ourselves, not as the product of our past, but for the potential of our future. Because truly, it is not our past that matters, but our future.
This morning I came out to my office to work, and as I was walking over to my desk I looked up and saw my beloved plant, a venus fly trap.
I found it a while back and bought it because it was a symbol of patience, and I like to fill my office with symbols (see Gravity’s lesson on influence – control your environment).
But I hadn’t watered the plant, or fed it, for… well… quite some time.
I suddenly felt a sense of urgency, and rushed out to get it some water. As if somehow the next 10 seconds were crucial. (Classic example of the “all of a sudden syndrome“). As if suddenly, now aware of the situation, pouring my attention on it would somehow compensate for all my neglect.
As I sat there looking at the sad state of my symbol of patience, trying not to think of the irony of it all, my mind grasped hold of a positive lesson I could learn from this loss.
If you want to kill something, stop feeding it.
Yeah, I know, it sounds simple. But when was the last time you fed your spiritual being? When was the last time you fed your dream? When was the last time you quenched your thirst for discovery? When was the last time you fed your creativity? When was the last time you fed the relationship with your significant other? Or your children? Or your parents?
All those things you care so much about… if you don’t feed them, they die. Don’t let that happen.
What too often happens:
Without guiding principles you have no moral compass.
With no moral compass, all paths seem of near equal value. Since there are more wasteful paths than worthwhile ones, chances are, you’ll wind up pursuing something wasteful. (This is living reactively).
Because you have no guiding principles or moral compass, you have no means whereby to measure yourself.
When you fail to measure yourself, you fail to course correct.
When you fail to course correct, you end up spending an embarrassing, irretrievable amount of time on that path of no value.
Being so invested, you’ll be prone to defend your investment, thus further entrenching your commitment.
In the end, you’ll find yourself nowhere meaningful, at a tremendous expense, and you’ll want to blame someone else, thus further enhancing the misery of the situation.
On the other hand…
If you have established some guiding principles, you have a fine-tuned moral compass.
Decisions are easy, guided, and your direction, deliberate.
Frequent measurement is automatic, and course correcting, because you’ll be so invested. Invested in what matters most, invested in your pre-chosen direction.
In the end, you’ll do remarkable things, and leave a legacy of greatness.
Happiness, engagement, and fulfillment will surround you.
The good news…
…is that you can create your moral compass at any time. Determine your guiding principles, catch a vision of where you want to go, and then use that compass to analyze your current trajectory.
If it doesn’t lead in the right direction, stop, change course, and spend the rest of your time investing in something of value.
It’s the only way to avoid the misery that so often accompanies those who lack clarity of purpose, and have no sense of direction.
Those who accomplish greatness don’t do it by choosing the path of least resistance, nor the path of greatest temptation. They do it by staying true to the values, principles, morals, and direction they have pre-determined in a moment of clarity and insight.