I used to write and share inspirational articles to a core group of friends back when Google Reader was in vogue.
(Remember Google Reader? I miss it.)
I believed that inspirational blog posts were important. I hoped that intelligently crafted content could change the world. I wanted to help people achieve their best — at work, in life, and in the soupy center of their stormy minds.
Now I don’t think that I can teach you shit.
The world is one big instruction book. When you are ready, lessons are revealed.
Have a crappy job? Whether it’s human resources or supply chain management, you will stay with a job until it becomes intolerable. Then you’ll move on. Then you’ll stay at that next job until you struggle again. At some point, you might be motivated to change patterns deep within yourself. But maybe not. That’s on you.
Are you struggling in your personal relationships? Things don’t change unless you change — your communication style, your standards, your boundaries, your expectations, and maybe even your zip code. You’ll know when you have had enough.
But here’s the cool thing about our very human struggle to endure: when you’ve reached that moment where you cannot stand who you are and where you are for another moment, life answers. There are enough people who have been through exactly what you have experienced (believe it or not) and will be there to guide you. I promise you that people find you — they come out of nowhere! — to help you through a personal betrayal, horrible job situation, addiction, sobriety, divorce, illness and even death.
What I am describing are synchronistic moments where, when you’re ready to explore a new way of doing things, you discover an answer.
It’s not Jesus. It’s not Allah. It’s not a messiah. It’s you — paying attention and learning from the stories that have been told, and the lives that have been lived, for thousands of years.
Waiting for life’s lessons can seem lonely. Acknowledging that you might not yet be ready for change can seem very negative. But being a good student and taking advantage of synchronistic moments removes the burden from professors, parents and even spouses and places the responsibility for your life — and your well-being — on you.
And that responsibility is worth it, too. When you avail yourself of new information — and then teach and inspire yourself to do great things — you create a self-sustaining narrative that informs a broader community. When you become a living embodiment of continuous learning and resiliency, our collective society benefits from the hard work you do. Even if you do that hard work alone.
You teach you. You inspire you. By doing so, you teach and inspire others.
That’s how this all works.