February 12, 2016
5 Ideas, 3 Questions, and an Action
There is the story of an elderly queen who is trying to determine which of her five children will replace her when she passes on.
Like any normal person, she decides to blindfold them all and then put them in a room with an elephant. She tells them that whoever can identify what it is will be the heir to the throne.
The first child stands holding the tail and says, “This is a rope”. The second child presses a hand against its side and says, “No, this is a wall!” The third holds its leg saying, “No, it’s a tree!” The forth holds the trunk and says, “No, this is a hose!”
While the four children stood, firm in their stance, and argued about who was right and who was wrong, the fifth child walked around the entire animal feeling its body with both hands before declaring, “You’re all right and you’re all wrong: It’s an elephant!”
At times, this is life. We stand absolutely convinced that what we do, say, and believe is true—and, in one sense, yes, it is so. But, in the big picture and in the broad scheme of things, there may be more to the story. It can be easy to put our beliefs and perspective on autopilot, thinking that we “already know”. But are we sometimes holding an elephant’s tail and calling it a rope?
Do I have tunnel vision and do I need to give myself a break and look around a bit?
Am I holding on to something too tightly, what do I need to let go of?
If I was on a desert island and could have one person, one object, and one song—who and what would they be?
Desired Result: To Gain Clarity on Life’s Biggest Question: Why Am I Here?
Concrete Action: Write your one-line manifesto. Fill in the blank:
The purpose of my life is to ______________________________________ by __________________________________________________________________.
For example, The purpose of my life is to always seek and attain personal greatness and evolution by helping others achieve their own.
Or, The purpose of my life is to be the best activist, scholar, friend, sister, and mother that I can be by practicing determination, strength, kindness, patience, assertiveness, self-respect, tolerance, and love.
Stating your ultimate vision can be both empowering and liberating. Articulating your dream in one line can be a source of energy and provides a constant focal point to work toward. Other wise, it is all too easy to float through life with an attitude of “I’ll know when I see it.” In this case, “it” means happiness or meaning or life’s purpose. Once your statement is written, you can check in with yourself, asking, “Are my actions and thoughts in this moment contributing or detracting from the ultimate vision for myself? Remember that you can always revisit, revise, and re-explore your statement—adding to it as you go!
Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.
Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com
His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world. He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Strengths Consultant.
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Facebook: Zachary Carlsen