“The outer conditions of a person’s life will always be found to reflect their inner beliefs” –James Allen
Uncommon resolve is uncommon. Many well-intentioned goals, aspirations and dreams die on the vine because the person backing them lacked the resolve to go the distance. To be fair, many obstacles stand in the way of success. The bigger the goal, the bigger the obstacles, which come in four flavors:
1. Legitimate speed bumps in the form of health issues, financial needs, partnership challenges or a change of heart.
2. An inability to muster the requisite motivation and energy for the magnitude of the task. This obstacle results from not understanding the nature of the task at the outset, or taking on too big of a task and not preparing adequately.
3. Fear of failure, loss of investment money, diminished reputation, loss of job, etc. The sister obstacle to this is fear of success, which would disrupt one’s comfortable status quo.
4. The last obstacle is flawed beliefs and faulty thinking.
It is this last obstacle of beliefs which I would like to discuss in more detail now.
Believe it or not, here I come…
As James Allen’s quote above suggests, you can’t hide from your own beliefs. What you believe colors every thought you have and every action you take…and the very person you become. Likes and dislikes, other people, career choices and even the food you eat are all a byproduct of your beliefs. I believe that if your beliefs are working for you then you should be hugely successful, peaceful and content. If that sounds like a pipe dream, then perhaps your beliefs need to be challenged? But when is the last time you examined and challenged the very beliefs you hold dear in life? Typically this only happens when we hit a wall – the conditions created by current beliefs cause a breakdown. In those moments you are open to new beliefs and willing to test drive some.
Socrates made this off-hand comment long ago: “the unexamined life is not worth living.” What does it mean to examine a life? I think it is clear that Socrates meant to examine your very beliefs now, before a train wreck forces you to. Really, does it make sense to go through life assuming that all the ideas you digested and assimilate as beliefs are unassailable? That would be leading an unexamined life. Examining your beliefs will lead to new levels of resolve, because you will find deeper meaning and clarity about the very nature of existence itself. Beliefs come in two primary forms, relativistic and universal. Next time we will take a look at how one of these strengthens resolve, while the other weakens. Examining your beliefs, then taking action to upgrade your beliefs about yourself and your purpose in the world, will lead to uncommon resolve in your missions.
Until then, we send our blessings to Nelson Mandela’s family and the country of South Africa. We are deeply grateful for the example Mr. Mandela has set for all seekers of truth and authentic leadership.