We are not built to live in a spirit of fear and timidity, but of courage, love, and discipline.
That is the subject of today’s 10-minute episode.
This concept has been expressed in many places, including the Christian Bible. Regardless of the source, I posit this to be a fundamental truth. Given the effect that COVID is having on all of us, even those not infected with the virus, this is a timely subject. Fear is everywhere. For some, it is the fear of the ravages of the virus, for ourselves and for those around us. For others, it’s fear of the government. For many, it is just a general malaise disguising itself as fear. I confess to being more than a bit concerned myself. I find that thinking through and sharing this episode is providing me with relief. I trust that reading or listening will offer you ease and comfort as well.
And it takes all three; love, courage and discipline. Any one or two is good, but for life to work as it should, we need the three of them working together. For example, the three types of food are proteins, fats and carbohydrates. At any given time, one or two may be more important than the others, but we all need all three working together.
And it all starts with love. What are our motives, our intent, when entertaining thoughts, taking actions or responding to another person’s thoughts and opinions? At one end of that spectrum is the drive to be right. “I am going to fix that person by showing them how wrong they are.” That can happen on the road when you believe you have been cut off, or at home when you think your spouse is wrong. At the other end of the same spectrum is loving and wanting the best for the other person. Here is what that sounds like, “What can I do that will work out best for that other person, as well as for me.” This is an example of win-win or no deal thinking. On the road it may be something as simple as a quick prayer or a good thought. At home, it starts with focusing on loving, which translates, at least initially, into first seeking to understand. The law recognizes the importance of intent as being central in many cases. Intent is a crucial element in determining if certain acts were criminal. Occasionally a judge or jury may find that “there was no criminal intent.” Example: lack of intent may reduce a charge of manslaughter to a finding of reckless homicide or other lesser crimes. Let’s focus on making love our focus, our intent. And I get it that focusing on being loving is a lot harder than focusing on being right.
Pro tip: Starting with gratitude, an attitude of gratitude, makes the love challenge dramatically easier. It is like there is a set of railroad tracks leading from gratitude to love.
Now to the courage part. We are clearly not talking about battlefield courage here. This is the courage to:
- Challenge our own beliefs, no matter how deeply held.
- Go public with them, our beliefs, despite criticism, ridicule and the ever more powerful cancel culture.
It takes courage to be open to seeking out challenges to long held positions and convictions. It takes no courage, nothing but obstinacy, to cling to them. Even more courage and determination is required to be open to challenging who we are, in addition to questioning our opinions. If we want a better kitchen, then we make the decision to remodel. It is always a messy operation, and starts with “demo”, demolition, a tearing down of the existing structures and appliances. And it always takes longer and costs more than we expected. But there is no other way. The same is true if we want to remodel our thinking, and remodel ourselves. And like loving, having courage is hard.
Let’s close this part with a lesson in courage. Years ago I was in McGuckin Hardware in Boulder, Colorado. I was in a checkout lane, when a man in his late 20s, clearly with cerebral palsy, came in and asked out loud for the manager. When the manager appeared asking how he could help, many people were observing the interaction. “Do you have any job openings?” the young man asked, working hard to speak clearly with his impediment. He continued with, “There are many things that people with cerebral palsy can do.” I was rooted to the spot. I would not have had the courage to ask for a job for myself out loud and in public like that, much less ask for others who shared my speech impediments and awkward movements. A true lesson in courage.
And, of course, by definition, discipline is hard. And necessary. Without discipline, nothing gets done. With some discipline, some things get done. With lots of discipline, a lot can get done. No shortcuts here.
Revolution 2.0™ is not primarily about politics, or even society and culture, both of which are upstream from politics. At its core, it–and I–are about learning how we should think and live. Then living that way. Of all the falsehoods about life that are being pushed at us, the most pernicious is that if life is hard, then we are victims deserving a remedy and compensation.
Life is indeed hard, and it is correctly designed to be that way. As soon as we get that, life becomes dramatically more manageable. And then we have a chance to lead our best lives, to be our best selves.
Those who cry foul, teaching all who will listen that if life is hard that means that something must be unfair, are doing all of us and our society a huge disservice.
We all learn more from the hard times than we do from the easy times. I don’t know anyone for whom that is not true. And with hard times comes learning; we can grow and strengthen ourselves to lead stronger, happier and better lives. Yes, I did say “happier.” There is no conflict between hard and happiness. In fact, there is a necessary connection.
We all know that to make a muscle stronger, we must work it, and the harder we work it, the stronger it becomes. Our minds are like muscles; we must work them to make them stronger, and the harder we work them, the stronger they become.
It is only when we push ourselves, mentally and/or physically, that we improve, get stronger, and further prepare ourselves for leading our best lives. The corollary is also true: When we don’t challenge ourselves, nothing gets better. In fact, things get worse. These physical and mental muscles will atrophy. And we get more than a touch lazy in the process.
Let’s step away from fear and live with love, courage and discipline. Remodel, change, get after it. “Change has become a constant and how we embrace it defines our future.” -Queen Elizabeth II
Tell me what you believe. I and many others want to know.
As always, whatever you do, do it in love. Without love, anything we do is empty.
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, @willluden, Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, and LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and wherever you listen to podcasts.
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Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.
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