Think about a relationship of yours.
One that is not working as you wish.
It may be with your lover, or with a member of your family.
Or maybe it’s a friendship or a professional relationship.
It doesn’t matter. Just pick one and reflect on the following question.
In percentage, how much the status of this relationship is your responsibility?
I believe the only possible answer is 100%.
Yes, you are fully responsible.
I know, you can’t change the other person.
And often you can’t improve the situation in which you are.
But as Viktor Frankl wrote, “when we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves”.
It’s only when you take full responsibility for something that you can become the spark that ignites the change.
And this is when the magic happens.
When you become the spark, something beautiful and surprising manifests.
New possibilities to which you were totally blind.
So, go all in, take full responsibility and be the spark in your relationships.
How much attention do you put on the words you use?
A few days ago, while I was checking the news online, a headline captured my attention. It was about UN chief António Guterres who, during an of the year press event, called all countries in the world for a renewed commitment to a “rules-based global order“.
Words create worlds.
They have this power.
This is why it is so important to choose wisely the words that you use.
In your own life but it’s even more critical when you are a leader. As leaders, the language we use helps shape the cultures we lead.
So, what does a “rules-based global order” says about the world the leader of UN envision? To me, it talks about a world based on fear and lack of trust. It talks about protecting the status-quo instead of moving towards the future.
Is this the world that you want?
I know for sure it’s not the world that I want.
I’m ready to commit to a “values-inspired global vision“. One driven by trust, love, compassion, forward thinking.
What about your words?
Are they reflecting the world that you want to create in your life?
Yesterday, during a lovely conversation about wisdom with two fabulous ladies, I was gifted with this insights; knowledge is about collecting dots, wisdom is about connecting them.
We live in an era of big data, sensors and deep learning.
We can measure almost everything.
We can know a lot.
But does all this knowledge make us wise?
I believe that real wisdom doesn’t come from having more dots but from finding ways to connect them.
With this idea in mind, I was reflecting about the way we talk with each other. Most of the time we enter a conversation to collect dots. Collecting is a one-way process from others to us. Yes, we may have to give something in exchange to obtain what we want, but all our focus is on what we get and not on what we offer.
Connecting, on the other side, is a two-way process. It’s not about the “what”, it’s all about the “how” and the “why”. When we enter a conversation to connect with others we must open up, we have to listen to a deeper level so we can open a new channel where things flow in both direction.
So, I have an invitation for you.
Next time you join a conversation, ask yourself this simple question: “Am I here to collect or to connect?”
I don’t know how long I’ve been staring at this empty page.
My process to write these short posts is very simple.
I start a 15 minutes timer, and I open an empty document.
Whatever comes out of my head ends up here.
There are morning when it’s easy.
The words were already there, waiting for this moment.
Other mornings, like this one, my mind is empty: no ideas, no thoughts, no words.
It’s funny because most of the time I can’t stop my mind from thinking no matter how hard I try. I usually struggle to slow down my thoughts, to take a pause and be present in the moment.
And now that I need my mind to work, I got only silence.
Though, there is incredible power in not thinking. We may discover that we have other sources of intelligence; some within us like the physical one and the emotional one. Others are unlocked when we connect to something bigger.
When we pause our inner voice, we can source the words from the universe.
I can see it coming.
It’s like watching myself from the outside.
I can observe the whole scene as it was a movie.
The external trigger and my internal reaction.
I can clearly see the inner pain surging and opening its way to the surface.
I can see it, but I can’t stop it.
All the work I’ve done on myself gave me the ability to see my reactions when they are happening. I learned what triggers me and I can spot all the signs.
Yet, I can’t stop all of this from happening.
Some reactions, some beliefs are wired so profoundly that it’s hard to change them.
I may, one day. Or I may not.
At some point in my self-development journey, I thought I would be able to change everything. So, it was frustrating to see some patterns surfacing without me being able to do anything to fix them.
Until I realised that I don’t have to.
There are things we can not change. Not now at least.
I’m learning to be present with what it is.
Through self-compassion, I’m finding peace.
There is something no one can give me or teach me.
Yes, there a lot of beautiful visions out there I could embrace.
There are charismatic people I could follow.
But my purpose is something unique.
Something I need to feel before I know it.
It’s not easy, not for me at least.
My rational mind wants to find a logic in my purpose, a connection to reality so I can transform it into actions.
And my emotional mind seeks gratification and a sense of belonging in that same purpose. So, I keep exploring connections with other people purposes.
All this effort can get in the way.
It can clog my life with doing.
Seeking connections with reality and others, I weaken the relationship with myself.
So, I have to pause and take a deep breath.
Only when I am in connection with myself, I can feel my purpose.
Have you ever heard of a product called VantaBlack?
It’s a paint developed in the United Kingdom, and it is one of the darkest substances known. It can absorb up to 99.6% of the light.
If you search for it on youtube, you’ll find a video in which the creators show a mask painted with this material.
If you look at the object from the front, you just see a flat black surface, like a hole in the space. The mask has no shape, no depth, no form. Only when the camera moves to the side, you can see that the object is not flat.
This is because our eyes use lights and shadows to understand the shape of things.
That video reminds me of the importance of having different perspectives. Sometimes, we get stuck into one view, and we become blind to the richness of what we are looking at.
People, situations, problems.
To be able to perceive their depth and their substance, we need to embrace different perspectives.
We can shift the lights or move to a new point of view.
Only seeking multiple perspectives, we can see the wholeness in everything and everyone.
This is fascinating.
I picked a BeTheChange card this morning.
One that says “Being Creative by BEING who you are”.
This card is an invitation to explore my bigger me.
It challenges me to think about when I’m most of who I am.
I started writing about the quest for who we are.
But words weren’t flowing.
I wrote and rewrote each sentence.
Until I realised that I wasn’t me.
Sometimes, the search for something can take us away for that same thing that we are looking for.
Like in this case.
In my desire to find the real me I was walking away from it.
My bigger who is not in the answer.
It lives and expresses itself in the question.