“Forget safety. Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.
The Sufi poet certainly knows what it takes to be great. For living to your Ultimate Potential is never a crowded path.
By now you should at least have a cursory understanding as to why so few (very few) ever achieve true greatness in their life. It’s not for the common man. For common is just that, common.
You were born into greatness; and you’ve been conditioned into mediocrity.
Greatness is achieved, only when and if it’s ever achieved, when you’re willing to walk your own path, find your own unique gift and genius, and commit to it so fully and completely that it becomes your obsession.
What I call your Magnificent Obsession.
We’ve discussed at great length “doing what you love.” Please don’t be fooled into thinking that doing what you love means you’ll always love what you’re doing in the moment. Please read that again.
Seem like a riddle?
Let me explain.
Last week we discussed the work of Walter Mischel and the studies of those who were willing to delay their immediate gratification for a bigger reward in the future. (reference UHP8)
We further clarified that while this rare breed might delay external gratification (like accolades, more money or more car) they were not entirely delaying their own enjoyment, satisfaction and gratification.
For the greatest enjoyment and satisfaction of all is the fulfillment of your purpose. A life well lived.
Even painful experiences become pleasurable when you realize they’re helping you fulfill your purpose.
Hence, the statement once again: doing what you love, doesn’t mean that you’re always doing what you love in the moment. Do you get it?
Sometimes doing what you love in the long-term means doing things you don’t necessarily love in the short-term.
There’s always a price for the prize.
Are you willing to pay it?
Those on the road to mastery and greatness learn to love the things that take them to their love. Even when they’re hard.
When you choose to become great one of the big prices you’ll have to pay is that you most likely won’t be popular with the masses. You’ll most likely be misunderstood at best and completely shunned or attacked at the extreme.
Not because you’re arrogant or that you don’t care. You do care. Probably more than most.
And what you care the most about is to give your very best. You care about bringing your greatness in contribution and service to the world. If you attempt to be everything to everybody, you’ll end up most likely being nothing to everybody.
“To be great is to be misunderstood.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
So you think you want to pursue your greatness?
Let’s discuss one of the prices that you must be willing to pay for this prize. I can promise you it’s steep, but then again, not as steep as a life filled with lack of enthusiasm and regret. Not even close.
Make no mistake. There’s always a price to pay. You either pay it now in perseverance, focus, and work. Or you pay it later in regret.
The first price you must pay is a great one for those heavily conditioned in family life and social functions.
It’s time alone.
Let that sink in.
Read it again.
Notice how it feels.
Can you embrace it and deal with it?
We live in a society that’s conditioned in “being social.” Let’s run here and there; and do this and that; and make sure you call the Smith’s and Joneses to join us.
Yet by and large being social is an escape. A denial. A futile attempt to fill a void that cannot be filled with the noise and the business of shallow activity.
I’ve written about this before at great length (reference Mastery, Genius and Greatness 8; Socializing or Networking) so I won’t be redundant in this treatise.
Yet suffice to say that if you’re unwilling to invest large amounts of time alone, there is slim to no chance that you’ll fully develop your Innate Abilities and gifts.
Kobe Bryant didn’t shoot 800 jump shots every single morning from 7AM until 11AM in preparation for the Olympics in a crowd of people (reference UHP6)…
Michelangelo didn’t paint the Sistine Chapel while at dinner parties…
Stephen Jobs didn’t build Apple while having beers with the boys…
And Martha Stewart didn’t build her empire while planning vacations and shopping with the girls!
Masters find little value in things
that don’t contribute to their mission and purpose.
One of my favorite sayings of the Buddha, “The problem, is that we think we have time.”
According to psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyl’s research the worst moods we experience as human beings is when we’re alone.
Why is this?
Because we don’t like our own company. Which basically means we don’t like ourselves. Something to ponder.
If you can’t enjoy being alone in your own company, how can you expect anyone else to enjoy being in your company?
I’ve been blessed to work with literally hundreds of thousands of people from 143 different countries around the globe in both coaching relationships as well as in live events. (reference Ultimate Human Performance Coaching)
What I can assure you is that the vast majority of people don’t know who they are—not really; they don’t know why they’re here; and they have so many unresolved issues suppressed within them that to stop for even a moment brings these things flooding to the surface.
Learning to not only be comfortable alone, but to love it, takes two things:
- A deep understanding of self; and
- A defined direction in the life of this understood self.
A deep understanding of self is a deep topic. One that deserves the focus of an entire series and can only be served justice in a live coaching situation or live event. You can “know about” many things, but things must be experience to be truly known.
Many people “know about” a lot but truly know little.
For something to be known there must be experience.
I was doing a UHP Coaching session with a very intelligent man just yesterday who told me, “I know everything you’re telling me, I just don’t do it.”
“Few things are sadder than encountering a person who knows exactly what he should do yet cannot muster enough energy to do it.”
I responded, “You can read every book in the world about Paris, yet you don’t know Paris. You know about Paris. Get the difference?
The only way to begin to know Paris is to go to Paris and experience Paris.
So while point number one above is vitally important; in fact, critically important; we won’t go into it here. Contact my office and they’ll be happy to discuss with you how I can help you in this area when you’re ready firstname.lastname@example.org
But only when you’re truly ready.
To discuss point two above, let’s return to Csikszentmihalyl’s work and his extensive research with over a hundred thousand people from countries all over the world.
One of the things his research proves is that these worst moods that we find ourselves in when alone are experienced when “nothing needs to be done or accomplished.”
Like it or not, while we are called human beings, as Socrates so aptly stated, “To be is to do.” Particularly in the West.
So this brings us right back to the topic at hand now doesn’t it? Let’s break this down:
First if to truly live and be happy according to Csikszentmihalyl research is to be active (which it is), yet you don’t know who you are and why you’re here, there’s a problem.
Do you see it?
If we have no purposeful action we will fill our time and life with meaningless action. For act we must.
I was coaching a young lady this last week who is recently out of a divorce. A tough marriage; and an equally tough divorce.
She was telling me that she’d had a few dates with a guy who turned out to be a carbon copy of her last husband. Big surprise.
She said I realize that “I need to attract a different type of man into my life.”
I responded, “Yes and no.”
The bigger question is “Why do you continue to attract this type of person into your life?
“And more importantly, the answers you seek are not in dating.
“They’re not in time with your son.
“They’re not in endless activity running here and there.
“The answer will only be found in the silence and solitude with just you and you.”
She thought long and hard.
Your results are a reflection of you.
If you want your results to grow, you must grow.
We’re all wired to psychic order versus entropy; and we’ve discuss the imperative of having a clearly defined goal and intention to bring order to the mind. (reference UHP3)
Yet when we don’t know who we are and why we’re here, our goals are nebulous at best. Or they’re the socialized conditioning of other people’s thinking. Do you follow?
So what’s the solution?
One solution; and one solution only.
Solitude and deep contemplation.
If your own Ultimate Performance is your objective, then every single thing you do must be focused on this and this only.
It is stress and challenge and necessity
that makes an artist grow and outdo himself.
~ Walt Disney
The concept of solitude is deep, powerful and profound. It’s such a paradigm shift from your social conditioning that it bears much discussion and contemplation.
Yet, if you want to make a true difference in this world you must be willing to be truly different from the world. More to come…
And the journey continues…
Stay Awake, Love Life, and Be Epic!