As I was Reading through Anatomy of A Breakthrough, by Adam Alter, I came across on exercise that stirred my imagination. The chapter was on how, “simplifying, removing, and streamlining are unsticking agents.” The idea is that limitations and constraints can lead to clarity. The exercise was simply writing your memoirs in six words which according to Alter, “forces you to focus on the essential components of what it means to be you.”
That night Charlotte and I attended a concert with some friends and afterwards we stopped at a small somewhat upscale looking bar with a Peak Blinders theme. The bar plays music from the 80´s- not sure the connection there, but it´s a cool place none-the-less. The conversation went deep fast. In between naming the group whose song was playing and discussing the possibility of a multiverse (ala Dr. Strange), I took the opportunity to present this exercise to my friends.
I asked them to present their memoirs in six words. It was fun to watch the expression on their faces as they delve deep to put together what turned out to be some very insightful responses.
The first one to respond was my friend. Miguel. Here´s what he said, “Me faltan muchos años para conocerme” … which loosely translated means, “I need many years to know myself.”
I immediately looked at him and said, “That´s my next blog entry.”
Like the discussion about the possibility of a multiverse, there is so much we can unpack here. So, I´ll just share some of the things that came up for me from his response.
Humanity is complex. Humans exist primarily in dualities. From a biological perspective, this duality holds that we are resilient yet fragile. From a physics perspective, we are made of energy—finite and yet infinite, solid and then not so much. From a spiritual standpoint, we are made from dust and divinity, earthly and heavenly at the same time. Our existence, on a grander, eternal and cosmic scale, is pretty insignificant. Yet we believe our lives should be full of meaning and purpose. We believe we are matter that actually matters.
We are moving from who we are to who we are becoming. A compendium of past and present experiences with a curiosity towards the future that both scares us and excites us.
What we are not is simple or static. We are constantly experiencing change at some level and often at many levels simultaneously. The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.” All of nature is in flux, in transition, in change. Heraclitus’ point is that the river changes, and so do we. Everything around us and within us is in flux and as such there are moments and places of tension as we experience transformation. We are moving from who we are to who we are becoming. A compendium of past and present experiences with a curiosity towards the future that both scares us and excites us.
Like the joining of any three rivers, the place in which past, present, and the unknown future intersect, can be tumultuous and powerful, creating a force propelling us wherever the current takes us. We rarely end up where we thought we would.
Yet in all of this complexity and struggle, there is awe and wonder. We are amazed at the resilience of the human spirit. We are in awe of our capacity for adaptability. But more so than any other achievement or characteristic, our ability to love is what captures our imagination the most.
Yet in all of this complexity and struggle, there is awe and wonder.
As such, my friend could not be more right. We all need many more years to get to know and understand who we were, who we presently are, and who we are becoming.
I leave you with one final thought. It comes from Cristina´s (Miguels partners). Her response, “Siempre buscando los pequeños grandes momentos … which literally means, “Always looking for the small great moments.”
As we experience life in all it´s fullness. As we discover more and more about ourselves and our place in this life, Cristina reminded me to not miss the little things. The things that together create the great moments in our lives – Peaky Blinders, 80´s hits and conversations that turn one´s focus inward and invite transformation.
Wishing you a happier, healthier life …