“Whatever course you decide on there is always someone there to tell you that you’re wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it all the way to the end takes courage.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
To lead your life design into reality is not to seek avoidance from potential disappointments or challenges, it is to intentionally discover your greatest good and to act on this knowledge all the way to the end. Many times, when people want to try and avoid pitfalls or setbacks in implementing their life design they are essentially asking, “What proof can you give us that this stuff will actually happen in my life?” Now, think about that question for a minute, as well as the context in which it’s asked. What is really being said is, “I want a transformed life, and before I take my first step, I also want 14 examples of where it’s worked in situations just like mine.”
Imagine if Christopher Columbus and Walt Disney took this “prove it before you do it” approach to life. Not only would Florida still be undiscovered, Orlando would still be an orange grove. Sadly, many who are stuck in this decidedly “non-Explorer” way of thinking are doomed to wander endlessly, forever in search of finding a life design with no potential challenges. Because, in order to find it, you will have to whole-heartedly embrace it and lead your life design into reality, continually moving forward even when there are aspects or elements that don’t pan out perfect on first try. (Think of Thomas Edison giving up on the light bulb because of his faulty first attempts.)
At worst, this unending search for a perfect, “no problems” life design leads to cynicism that major life change is, in fact, impossible. At best, it can lead to adopting someone else’s version and calling it yours. Unfortunately, imitating another person’s design for life is, by definition, not a personal life design. And, while it can lead to worthwhile short-term, incremental improvement, it will never lead to transformational breakthroughs.
If leading the whole of your life design into being sounds too daunting to do all at once, don’t stop altogether, just take another approach. Imagine a begging bowl as a metaphor for your life design. You get to intentionally choose what to put into the bowl and what to leave out. Follow the steps below to see how leading your life design into your reality can be much simpler than you think.
Step 1: Imagine each day your begging bowl starts out empty. And each day, you get to fill that bowl.
Step 2: What do you want to intentionally put into that bowl today? What action can you take that would make your life design true?
Step 3: What you do intentionally want to leave out of your bowl today? What action or actions do you need to stop doing?
Step 4: Lastly, what can you put in your bowl to help someone else today? What can you give and contribute that would reflect your life design?
When we act boldly with intention and action to unleash our talents and passions in the world, we lead our new life into our day-to-day reality. The most tragic, however, is when we don’t act on the talents and passions that we’ve been given with the time we have because of not wanting to hit potential bumps in the road. When we act timidly or worse, when we don’t act at all to use our talents and passions, we perform the greatest tragedy; then disillusionment and despair can follow. Let the begging bowl exercise remind us that we should not let this happen to us or to each other.
Leading your life design into your world is an act of creation. Thinking about creating something is vastly different than actually creating it. Yoda was right when he said, “There is no try. There is just do or not do.” When we take his advice to heart, then and only then will we really be leading a transformed life.