“There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self Reliance
“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust: First Part
I am blessed to have had adults in my life who saw my dreams and creative impulses as something other than objects to be feared.
I am grateful for those mentors and teachers who taught me to own my eccentricities and curiosities rather than seek deliverance from them.
I often wonder how much of our glorification of the known, the familiar, and the so-called “safe” path, is a projection of the tension and unresolved anxiety we feel from our own ignored callings, our own stifled longings, our own youthful doubts never conquered or outgrown?
To those who are younger than me, I pass along to you my heartfelt advice:
You have the whole world before you. And there is much you can learn from those of us who have been around for more years than you. But none of us can know the secret of your being. None of us can know the path that wears your name. Delve deeply and daringly into the treasures of your soul. We can give you advice on how to navigate the terrain, but the capacity to descend into the heart and discover the meaning of your own existence is yours alone.
Whenever people ask me for advice, my second priority is to offer them a bit of perspective that may assist them with their particular issue.
My first priority is to use my position of influence as an opportunity to help them develop a deeper trust in their own internal compass, in their own capacity for sound judgment, in their own ability to glean insight from exploring, engaging, and experimenting with life for themselves.
Of all the pieces of advice I have ever received, there’s one that consistently remains at the top of my list:
You are more capable of figuring out what’s right for you than anyone else.