As I sit down at one of my favorite cafes with a hot cup of green tea and open up my new book of the week, Killing Sacred Cows, I stumbled across a great quote by Henry David Thoreau that really got me thinking: “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” I sit here and watch hundreds of people walk by. Tall people and small people, young people and old people, rich people and poor people, mothers and fathers and single people, people in a rush and people walking slow, happy people and sad people, and I think to myself, “How many of them know the song that is inside of themselves just asking to be sung to the world?” I believe that our song, or stated a bit differently, our life’s purpose, is a bit of nature and nurture; a bit of intrinsic talent combined with TLC; a bit of innate gifts combined with profuse sweat and an unwavering work ethic. I do believe that everyone in us has a song to sing. Here are the keys to finding out your song: #1: Spend some time alone every day to reflect and listen to the voice within. It’s during times of peace and quiet that the noise within becomes louder than the noise from outside. You may be met with intense discomfort during these times, but it important to still yourself and listen with your mind and your heart. It is precisely this internal confusion and internal dialogue that will lead to clarity and certainty. When I began to meditate, it was intensely challenging for me to sit still for even 10 minutes in perfect silence and internal contemplation. Minutes felt like hours. But the more I practiced, the easier it became and the more I looked forward to it. I got out of it for a while and let other things take precedent over my meditation practice, but this is my declaration to recommit myself to sitting in silence everyday because I know how valuable it will be to me. As Rumi says, “Silence is the language of G-d. Everything else is only a translation.” #2: Read. Read voraciously. Read every book on personal development, spirituality, finance, autobiographies, relationships, purpose, leadership, etc that you can get your hands on. Fall in love with reading. You can literally have conversations with the greatest minds that ever lived in the history of mankind without ever leaving your house. You can read about the songs of the greatest minds that ever lived and find out what made them tick and what brought meaning and purpose to their lives. I’ve invested thousands of dollars in books on all of the subjects I have mentioned, and it is the best investment I have ever made. The return on my investment in books is incalculable. It has fed me spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Books have fed my mind, body, and soul. Reading has changed my life. As Confucious says, “You cannot open a book without learning something.” #3: Surround yourself with people who love you enough to call you out on your BS. Our ego loves to be surrounded with people who constantly feed it and give it praise, but what is good for the ego, is not always what’s best for the soul. What the soul needs is to be around people who are going to lovingly challenge the ego and force you to confront your feelings of doubt, insecurity, and insensitivity as well as your feelings of overconfidence, carelessness, and laziness. It is not during periods of comfort and praise that we grow. It is during times of emotional, mental, and physical challenge that we grow. What we need most are people that are going to provide us with a healthy dose of praise and challenge. This allows us the certainty that we are safe while still providing us the avenues to challenge our minds, souls, and hearts to higher levels of consciousness. As Sai Baba says, “Life is a song – sing it. Life is a game – play it. Life is a challenge – meet it. Life is a dream – realize it. Life is a sacrifice – offer it. Life is love – enjoy it.” #4 Write. And write. And write. You should write as much as you read. Writing gives you the opportunity to take all your wonderful, and not so wonderful thoughts and work on creating cohesive ideas out of all of the concepts and ideas jumbled up in your mind. Writing well is a skill. Like any other skill, it takes practice. Lots of practice. It is through the practice of writing, however, that you create clarity out of the thoughts in your head. It is where you take all of the wonderful information you have read and absorbed from your day to day activities and make it real for yourself and your life. You see, when I write these blogs, it is as much for myself as it is for the people I write for. For example, when I sat down just a few minutes ago to write this blog, I had no idea what I was going to write about. I saw a quote in a book and it inspired me to write. It is through the action of writing that I created much more clarity around the ideas I had circulating in my mind. This has reminded me of the importance of meditating, reading, surrounding myself with the right people, and of course, writing! It doesn’t matter whether you think you are a good writer or not. As Nike says, “Just do it!” You don’t have to show anyone what you write. There is no one to judge you or your writing. You don’t need to write for anyone else except for you. Grab a pen and a notebook and just start to write. Your heart will thank you for it. So what are you waiting for? Don’t wait for life to come to you. You may be waiting forever. If you want a better life, go out and take control. Meet confrontation and challenge with an open heart and a loving mind. And most of all… “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman.
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