Develop Dreams That Come True!
Develop Yourself, Part 6 of 6
“Exploring the question brings more wisdom than having the answer.” – A Course in Miracles
This concludes the series on developing yourself. In this mini-series within “So, You Want to Start A Business” I have hopefully laid the groundwork to emphasize that you are the key ingredient to anything and everything you are, you have, and you do.
Viktor Frankl suggested the Statue of Liberty be supplemented with a corresponding Statue of Responsibility. When you pause to reflect, this is brilliantly simple. Nothing has value unless it has boundaries, limits, restrictions, or a finite element to it. Liberty cannot be recognized, enjoyed, or spread without a corresponding ethos of responsibility. How can you truly appreciate food, safety, shelter, education, love, health, or the right to think freely and to participate in a free society – unless you have experienced something that has moved you away from those things, either temporarily or worse? If I am always entertained, I will soon grow bored. If I am always full, I will soon find no enjoyment in the textures, flavors, or aromas of food. If I always have instant gratification for every material item, I will soon feel empty of meaning and experience no appreciation or contentment. Therefore, recognizing that I am responsible for my own development, growth, education, action, and response to every situation, I will be at liberty to deeply enjoy the fruits of my efforts, thoughts, and behaviors.
Success in life and business depends fundamentally on your mindset and behaviors; tools, skills, and resources are icing on the cake. Chris Hedges, in his book Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, sums it up another way: “We’ve bought into the idea that education is about training and “success”, defined monetarily, rather than learning to think critically and to challenge. We should not forget that the true purpose of education is to make minds, not careers. A culture that does not grasp the vital interplay between morality and power, which mistakes management techniques for wisdom, which fails to understand that the measure of a civilization is its compassion, not its speed or ability to consume, condemns itself to death.” Your mindset and your behaviors, when developed, should result in the growth of your mind, your morality, your wisdom, and your compassion. Your mind, as your core asset and compass, will guide you to the decisions, actions, and behaviors that will serve you consistently and reliably in every single interaction throughout your day and your life. Thus prepared, you may now utilize tools, resources, and skillsets efficiently to master business building if that’s what you choose to do.
“As long as you can find someone else to blame for anything you are doing, you cannot be held accountable or responsible for your growth or the lack of it.” ~ Sun Bear
One final thought on developing yourself and that is the challenge of being honest. Think of Shrek when he says ‘Ogres are like onions. They have layers.’ We must all be related to ogres because we all have layers – layers of stories we tell ourselves about everything in order to navigate life. It’s hard to be honest because we all have filters which color our interpretations about every event, conversation, and perception – filters from our past, our culture, and our circumstances. To grow, however, requires that we strip away as many layers of filters as possible to reach solid, honest footing from which to build and develop going forward.
Not sure what I’m talking about? Think about family strife, miscommunication and grievances at work, or the many bizarre scenarios that populate so much of current TV shows. How much of that drama and negative energy could be redirected with positive results if each person were responsible enough to look inward, get honest about their role in the current dilemma, and decide to be responsible and develop themselves? (But then what would we watch?)
Over time I’ve encountered good people, caring people, hard-working people with a sincere desire to have a business as a vehicle towards a more rewarding life. Each person has had barriers. The biggest problem, though, has not been the barrier itself, but the inability to identify and acknowledge the unspoken in order to support their stated desire. It has been their drinking, their financial mismanagement, their unwillingness to pursue education, their lack of focus, their refusal to give up entitlement – their unwillingness to look in the mirror, peel back the excuses, be ruthlessly honest, and get to a grounded place.
I know there are absolutely horrid situations yielding hardships of every conceivable nature. I’m not saying there isn’t validity in what you may have experienced or suffered. There may be a clear path leading back to your coping skills of drinking too much, being lousy with your finances, being afraid to shine at work, or being incapable of healing rifts within your family. I’m not saying it’s easy to undo years or decades of habit and mindset. I’m suggesting that as long as you hang onto those, you can’t develop and be your highest, best self. And until you are your highest, best self, pushing to grow beyond your comfort zone and willing to keep learning, you won’t ever reach the place you say you want to be. I want you to have all your dreams come true. You may need help to do that. Even Pinocchio had help!
I’m dating myself, but Jiminy Cricket was appointed by the Blue Fairy to be Pinocchio’s conscience so that he could be honest and finally earn ‘real boy’ status. Here’s what Jiminy had to say:
“You know, any wish is possible. All it takes is a little courage to set it free. A wish is a powerful thing, especially when it comes from the heart. Fate is kind. She brings to those who love the sweet fulfillment of their secret longing. Like a bolt out of the blue, fate steps in and sees you through. When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true. Just remember – always let your conscience be your guide.”