An exercise I’ve recently admired asks about the advice you would give yourself twenty years ago. During this holiday travel season, I’d like to offer my own version, which I call A Guide for the Ride. Here’s Part One. Part Two follows next month.
Keep your options open. Stay away from emotional attachment. Remain psychologically uncluttered. “Lightness” describes both the physical aspect of travelling and the way one navigates life. It allows us to be flexible, contributes to well-being and builds resistance to natural ups-and-downs.
“Travel light, live light, spread the light, be the light.”
Always Bring Something to the Party
I learned this lesson from my parents, masters of loud, late, impromptu gatherings. Bring something unique, inspiring or helpful to a group, family or team. If you can’t think of anything, help clean up!
“Leave a little sparkle wherever you go.”
Security is a Fallacy
So much of our time is committed to trying to create security—in health, relationships, mental states and financial wellbeing. However much we think that security is a given, it’s not. Empires fall. Businesses go bankrupt. Relationships stumble. Although on a higher level, it can be liberating to embrace life’s impermanence. Still… always buckle up!
“There is no such thing as perfect security, only varying levels of insecurity.”
There’s No Replacement for Hard Work
Talent can outweigh hard work in the short term but over the long run, to be successful you must simply put in the effort. Your dreams won’t work unless you do.
“Be humble. Be hungry. And always be the hardest worker in the room.”
—Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Insight Cannot Come in the Heat of Battle
Reflection on action is the pathway to wisdom. It’s hard to do, though. Unless we intentionally push back the boundaries of time, obligation and technology in our task-oriented, short-term, turbocharged lives, we won’t ever be able to gain insight or wisdom. Making space in your life is critical for learning.
“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
There are Heroes All Around Us
During my research on successful leaders I was struck by the overwhelming number of executives who, when asked to name their heroes, picked role models and mentors from their personal—not professional—lives. Your heroes are not necessarily the people you read about in books or see on television. Often, the people all around you provide the real inspiration.
“There are angels and heroes all around us. Their super powers are not revealed to all… just those whose paths they cross and whose lives they touch every day.”
You’ll Use This Later
Even when things don’t go as planned, an opportunity exists to gain insights and learnings to use in the future. And if you don’t win, at least you’ll get a good story out of the experience!
“When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.”
What advice would you give yourself twenty years ago?