Just occasionally, the universe speaks to you. Not every day. But occasionally, you have the chance to change everything.
Last Saturday (30 November 2019), I felt as if the universe were speaking to me, if quietly. A minor moment of serendipity. Within a few hours I came across four succinctly stated perspectives on life that interlocked perfectly.
One: To fail in an epic manner
First, my friend Ruchi from India tweeted some beautifully honest words about failure and learning:
“I am failing in Epic manner but learning everyday.”
Two: What do you learn from being right?
Second, listening to the RuPaul What’s the Tee podcast with Adam Shankman on an early morning walk, marvelling at the words I was hearing as the sun broke over frozen, frosty streets. Shankman shared his life code, which resonates perfectly with Ruchi’s tweet.
“I have a very strong motto: ‘I’ve never learned anything from being right.'”
Our failures, our incorrect words and actions, our ill-advised decisions. We can’t avoid them. Perhaps we should cherish these failures. Each failure helps us in its own way. This is where we can truly learn.
Three: The most effective action you will ever take?
Third, back home, catching up on recent writings from Neil Morrison, I read his post on the power of inaction. Neil notes that choosing to do nothing is not only a powerful choice, but also often the wisest one:
“Doing nothing is a choice, it’s an activity in itself. Sometimes it takes greater bravery and confidence to do nothing, than it does to burst into action. There’s a value to doing less that we underestimate. Sometimes things will settle and sort themselves without our interventions. Choosing to do nothing can be the most effective action you will ever take.”
Four: Five big decisions to make
Fourth, a little later, watching a 2018 Joey Diaz/Eddie Bravo Church of What’s Happening Now conversation*. They discuss what they might change if they had their lives over. Bravo wouldn’t change a thing, as any alteration to his path might mean that his son would not have been born. Therefore, he chooses to have no regrets. Diaz responds with some powerful words about choice:
“Listen, in this life, all we have to do is a couple of things right. If you really think about it, you got like five big decisions to make. Everything else, they can be fucking slippery decisions. But those five main ones you gotta be on point for. That’s it. It’s five decisions.”
Of course, it is universally true that the decisions you took and your every action lead you to exactly where you are at this moment. But it is also true that there are only five or so big decisions that truly shape your life. You may not even realise that you are facing those decisions when they present themselves to you, nor how momentous their potential consequences.
The question then is this: Are you happy with where your decisions and actions have taken you?
If yes, then you are where you should be.
If not, good news: You can choose to change your situation.
Your life and your future are always in your hands.
Each day offers an infinity of choices. You might choose to do nothing. You might make a choice that means that you win big. Or your decision might gift you failure’s lesson.
Every day, you have the chance to learn.
Just occasionally, you have the chance to change everything.
UPDATE (Sunday 8 December 2019)
I have received some beautifully worded responses to this post via social media, two of which I would like to share with you. First, @KarinEvolve shares her response to Adam Shankman’s motto:
“I believe we can learn from being right. About ourselves, about our sense of knowing our capabilities and our level of confidence. We learn something quite different from being wrong. The key is in the balance. Both matter.”
Second, Sylvia Dahlby offered her response to the themes raised in this post, over on Instagram:
“Everything changes all the time whether you have a hand in it or not. Most of the time it’s Better to put your hand in and shape the changes. And the universe always has a message whether or not you pay attention. Always better to pay attention.”
Thank you, Karin, and thank you, Sylvia. If their wonderful words have inspired you, please do post your own comment, below. May today be nothing but kind to you and yours.
* You can download the MP3 of this Joey Diaz/Eddie Bravo episode of The Church of What’s Happening Now or watch it on YouTube.
All via Wikimedia Commons:
Thank you, as always, for a lovely post.
Not to be too contrary but you say:
“The question then is this: Are you happy with where your decisions and actions have taken you?”
If we go to the source of our direct experience, what we might ask (in a gentle and loving way) is do we really create our wants? I think it was Schopenhauer who said: we all have wants but we can’t will our wants.
I think if we were to operate more from that place of ‘not knowing’ we might be more relaxed and a little happier about life. This isn’t being fatalistic but simply accepting this moment (and all of life) for what it is, namely a formless expression of something beyond the ken of our (limited) understanding.
Blessings and deep bows.