To sour with the eagles, you don’t flock with the chickens. The eagle is a special kind of bird, it flies at high altitudes where no other birds try to fly. If you do what you have always done, you would get the same results. To get a different result, you have to change your approach. As theoretical physicist Albert Einstein once quipped “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” Our natural state as a human is homeostasis (sameness/certainty). Homeostasis is from the Greek word “Homeo (similar/same) and Stasis (standing still). It is our tendency of staying the same. It is a process we use to maintain stability and survival.
Good fences make good neighbors. – Robert Frost
We stay in our comfort zone, hang on with toxic family and friends because they are all we’ve got, and fail to set healthy boundaries for ourselves and our associates. As American author and professor, John Augustus Shedd once noted “A ship in harbor is safe but that is not what ships are built for.” In the same vein, we have been given the gift of life to explore our potential but the sad reality for most of us is that we would not discover that purpose.
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things..” ― Henry David Thoreau
As Thoreau observed most of us would lead lives of quiet desperation, we have been programmed and conditioned to live in fear of the unknown. Hence we tiptoe towards our grave, in the process become bill-paying adults, chasing vanity, settling for less than we can become because we need to procreate and conform to societal and religious dictates. We all have deposited into our life accounts daily: 86,400 seconds, 1,440 minutes, and 24hours. What we do with that time through our priorities and commitment determines how far we go in life.
In his 1970 classic and one of my favorite books, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, American author Richard Bach writes about a seagull who is trying to figure out life and flight. Jonathan Livingston Seagull wanted more from life and suspected that there was more to life than squabbling for food. Jonathan yearned to fly and was not satisfied with the normal seagull life.
“Most gulls don’t bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight—how to get from shore to food and back again. For most gulls, it is not flying that matters, but eating.
Jonathan’s unwillingness to conform with the way of other seagulls get it ostracized and expelled from the group. Jonathan’s quest for perfection through flight eventually earns him the respect of other seagulls and he is welcomed back to the group. The major lesson from Jonathan Livingston Seagull: You are going to be doubted, and ostracized on your path to greatness. You would have to isolate yourself before you can elevate, you might need to leave your comfort zone, disregard societal norms, and pursue to dreams. Like Jonathan, you might need to leave your family and friends for a while to discover your purpose.
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. – Mahatma Gandhi.
I used to be a die-hard fan of Manchester United Football Club. I saw almost every MUFC game from Champions League, Premier League, Carling Cup, FA Cup, Pre-Season, almost everything. If it is Manchester United related, you had my attention. But something changed around 2017, I started to realize that I was spending too much time dedicated to a passion that was not giving me much joy anymore. When I like something, I go all out. When I watch MUFC games, I am engrossed and emotionally involved. Sometime around 2018, I made some changes to my priorities such as leaving social media, stopped watching 90 minutes of soccer, and started watching highlights. I had to isolate myself from activities that were not serving my purpose in the long run such as soccer games and social media.
The result of this extra time is that I have used the time for more rewarding activities such as reading books, goal setting, preparing and running marathons, learning to swim, finding myself, and working on personal development. I am not where I want to be but I am not where I used to be. To get a new set of results, I had to isolate myself from activities that were draining me. It was not an easy choice to give up these activities but to get to the next level, I had to make the decisions for my sanity and progress. The result: I read more books, run marathons, swim every day, always in the gym, and meditate for at least 30 minutes daily.
It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that things are difficult. – Seneca
To get what you have not gotten, you would have to do what you have not done. To get to the next level, you need to leave your comfort zone, separate yourself from groupthink and Be yourself. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once noted, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to change you is the greatest accomplishment.”.
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to change you is the greatest accomplishment.
You need to be ready to be misunderstood, it is one of the prices of greatness. You would be called nerdy for reading personal development books, you would be called a snub for staying on your lane, you would be ostracized for following your dreams or for setting boundaries, and you would be called proud because you elevated your game. Your elevation would cause people to change around you but you have to keep pushing to the next level by not resting on your laurels. It is often said that you are the sum total of the five people you speak the most to. Finding the right 5 people is tough and that requires isolating yourself from a myriad of other people. Life is a trade-off of options, choices, and decisions.
All the Best in your quest to get Better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.