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Posts Tagged ‘Ralph Waldo Emerson’

I got the call one beautiful spring afternoon. Perhaps the most successful friend I know was in his back yard gardening. And that was a problem. One, it was the middle of the workday. Two, he doesn’t garden.

 

He called me because he was upset about a project he was working on. He felt as though he had made a mistake that put the project, and his team, at risk of failing. He called me to talk about what he should do and how to handle it. After years and years of tremendous success, he was finally facing his first failure. I was not sure whether to be flattered by his call, or upset that he thought of me when he thought of failure.

 

But the truth is, I had failed several times. Rather than take the normal course in life after leaving college, I took several measured risks. And yes, by my own standards, I failed at all of them. But in that failure, I was given a tremendous gift — I was now free. I was no longer afraid of making mistakes or failing.

 

One of the people I admire most is a woman who led an incredibly carefree life. She did what she wanted, she said what she wanted and she believed what she wanted. Talking with her, being in her presence, and hearing her stories of life was incredibly invigorating! Whenever I was with her, I always yearned for the life she had. Well, not all of it.

 

You see, the freedom she felt is not something you are born with. It is something you earn through your experiences. Prior to living the liberating, magnificent life she was living, she was a drug addict living in abandoned buildings and eating out of trash cans. It was not an easy or fun life. Yet, a life like that “holds a gift for you in its hands.” In her own words, “once you hit rock bottom and are looking for dinner in a trash can, you have nothing left to lose.” And that is when life opens up for you. In that moment, you are completely free of the fear of failing or worrying about what others may think of you.

 

In many ways I envied my friend and desired the freedom she felt. I wanted to live life as she was living it. Yet, every single time I felt that way, I also felt my fear and asked God to gift me the that kind of freedom, without having to experience rock bottom.

 

Unfortunately, I don’t think that is the way it works. True freedom is only gifted to those willing to risk it all . . . and who are not afraid to lose it.

 

“Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All of life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better.”
 

– Ralph Waldo Emerson
 

Spring is the season that reminds us that all is born again. Without fail, life is renewed and green shoots of grass, budding flowers and new leaves re-appear. Each year, the earth declares a do-over and gives us a new chance at life and growth. Every. Single. Year.

 

Why not take a hint from earth and try something new this Spring. It is the perfect time to take a risk, make a mistake and tempt failure.

 

I have always said that unless someone dies or get hurts, it is not a mistake. Too many of us are afraid to make a mistake and it paralyzes us. We stay stuck and our lives get stale. Let this spring be the opportunity when you take the risk you have always wanted and say yes to life!

 

READ HOW THIS APPLIES TO YOUR BUSINESS here.

 

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Not too far from where I live there is a small stretch of road – not more than 100 yards long – that I have always thought was incredibly beautiful. On one side of the road there were five or six grand old sycamore trees that stood proudly. They were easily over a hundred years old. Their thick, gnarly trunks reached up and spread their gorgeous limbs over the road, creating a beautiful canopy with their broad leaves.

 

On the other side of the road was a stately old white house, partially hidden behind the trees that lined that side of the street, and sprinkled between the bigger trees were these dainty little trees which in the spring bloomed with brilliant, neon pink flowers. It was truly stunning.

 

A few years ago, the utility companies decided that this beautiful stand of sycamore trees posed a threat to their utility lines and they ruthlessly cut them down. What was once a gorgeous stretch of shaded road was now nothing more than decimated stumps drying in the hot sun. The destruction of the beauty pained my heart.
 

But nature has a way of teaching us all about life and survival. A few weeks ago, I passed by this stretch of road and was amazed to see new shoots growing out of the stumps. I have passed by the trees many times, but this was the first time I noticed new growth. Somehow, after years of hibernation, the trees started to grow again. Even after what appeared to be the end of their life, and being cut down to nothing more than a stump, their determination to live now forced up amazing new growth. It was nothing short of miraculous.
 

As I thought about these trees, I asked myself, “Are my roots deep enough to endure such a devastating blow to my life? Is my foundation in life strong enough to survive the hardships that will surely come my way?”

 

I realized that the deeper our roots are, the better our ability to survive the challenges in life we will surely encounter. The question we must ask is, “Do we have that foundation and is it strong?” Whether that foundation is family, faith, love, hope, or something else, it is important to build a foundation that will help get us through times of uncertainty.

 

Send your roots deep. Take the time to nourish them and make them strong. It is an investment well worth making. Your life may well depend on it one day.

 
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

What great things lie within you that perhaps some setback in life stopped you from achieving? Have you lost touch with the depth of your roots and forgotten who you are at your core? Have you forgotten what you truly desire in your life?

 

Reconnect to your roots and find the passions that drive your life.
 

It is only too fitting that the video below captures one of my passions and a deep root in my life. When I was a young boy, one of my favorite books was “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss. I asked my Mom to read it to me over and over again. The book deeply affected me and captured my love for trees and nature. In many ways, I think I grew up much like the Lorax, protecting and caring for all that is in nature.
 

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