Sunday, June 19, 2011

Ralph Waldo Emerson: Self reliance in 4 steps!

A little while ago, I asked if you guys would be interested to read something about my thoughts in the Ralph Waldo Emerson Pledge. You said yes. ;o) So here we go!
I have been receiving emails with little thought exercises for the past week and I thought I would give you a little rundown of what I've done so far.

If you are just joining, here's what you'll want to know:

The exercises in the past seven emails I've received all came tied to a little quote from RWE and can be split into four main categories:
  1. Feelings about your personal development
  2. Making you realise how important self reliance is
  3. Helping you develop a vision
  4. Helping you to overcome your fears to achieve that vision
My favourite exercise from the first category:

a) What would you say to the person you were five years ago?
b) What will you say to the person you will be in five years?

This is what I wrote:
a) Don't change a thing. Savour it with all your heart. Let go. Don't be afraid. Grow up. And then, don't. It will be alright
b) Don't change a thing. Savour it with all your heart. Let go. Don't be afraid. It is alright. 
Now that really was a tough one! I realised I feel a little bit dissappointed with myself when I look back because I always wanted to do a lot of stuff and never got around doing half of all the things because of excuses, fears, whatever... Therefore, I'm afraid of what I'll think of myself in five years. Will I have done better? Will it still feel the same?
At the same time, I realise I've done quite a lot of cool things that I like remembering, met great people and learned a lot from all different kinds of experiences that I'd never want to miss. So in the end, I wouldn't really change anything and I trust that life will hold the right things for me in the future, too.

 Category number two is my pet peeve. One of the texts said:

Take a moment, step back from your concerns, and focus on one thing: You have one life to achieve everything you’ve ever wanted. Sounds simple, but when you really focus on it, let it seep into your consciousness, you realize you only have about 100 years to get every single thing you’ve ever wanted to do. No second chances. This is your only shot. Suddenly, this means you should have started yesterday. No more waiting for permission or resources to start. Today is the day you make the rest of your life happen. 

This freaks me out. I was born with these letters imprinted on the inside of my head, with these words circling through my veins. Even as a child I had a really bitter and alerting awareness of this truth and it is the reason I have never felt like I truly achieved anything in my life so far.
So apparently what I do is not get motivated and busy seeing the impending deadline, on the contrary: I panick and try to play dead like the rabbit in the flashlight.
Man, how I hate that!

The third category was the most attractive to me at the moment. You see, since a few weeks I am pretty certain of the direction I want my life to take. But it's all still outlines and it's hard to decide which things are truly important and worth focusing on and which ones are just a fad or mood thing and should be faded out a bit in the picture of my life. I think I'll try and concentrate on building a vision this weekend (I decided to take Sunday off screen and really do something else; dreaming and meditating sounds like a great idea to me!)

This is the exercise I most identify with:

Write down in which areas of your life you have to overcome these suicidal tendencies of imitation, and how you can transform them into a newborn you – one that doesn’t hide its uniqueness, but thrives on it. There is a “divine idea which each of us represents” – which is yours?

Finally, there were some ideas on how to overcome your fears. When it comes to realising a vision, most of us face great difficulties. It's only natural: There's so much to be lost! Most of the time, our fears aren't even conscious and play mean tricks on us. They let us make up excuses on why we can't realise our dreams just now. Time, money, social responsibility, incapability... we can always find a reason.
Isn't it sad that our fears have such power over us?
But here's one thing I wanna try: 

Think of a time when you didn’t think you were capable of doing something, but then surprised yourself.  How will you surprise yourself this week?

I will check back on this topic sometime on Sunday or early Monday to tell you what came out of my indulging in these questions. 

Do you have a vision for your life? Have you always known a purpose in life? Or are you, like me, struggling to find one? Do you just live in the moment and not bother so much about the future or a possible sense behind it all?
I would love to hear your thoughts!


Sarina said...

wow... this is great! So much to think about :)
To your question, actally I have known since I am fourteen that I want to get a marine scientist and I always worked hard to achieve this goal... now I am 25 and I AM a marine scientist (It was quite a shock to me when I first realised this!) but without a job so far... in some short moments I ask myself if it was the right decision to hold on to that dream? and than I think a bit about it and everytime I say to myself: YES! Even if I am unemlployed at the moment I am convinced that there is a job waiting for me somewhere in the world! I just have to find it :)
There are some moments in my life when I didn't done the things a have liked to do because I found some excuses such as you discribe it... one of it was that I always want to have some experience abroad. First in school, later in university. All I have achieved in this point was to do some research crusies to other countries and that was some kind of unsatifying to me... So now I start to search for a job somewhere in UK or Ireland and I have the feeling that this would be best for me at this moment even if there are some fears that I could use as excuses again. But I am sure this time I will not use them! :D
So this is a quite long comment but I hope you will enjoy it :)
So long

yaga said...

Sarina, this comment made my day! I'm so happy somebody actually read that long post and then it made you think, too!
Isn't it riddiculous that you've actually achieved something a lot of young girls dream about - and then you still feel like you haven't gotten it right just because you can't find a job atm? I totally recognise myself in that though. And also that you say you 'just' did research cruises... I'm sure you're playing down a bit there. hey, not everybody gets to do such a cool thing - and more than once!!
Good luck with the job, I'm sure you'll find exactly what's right for you!
I think I'll be working on my fears a bit this week... oO

Jill said...

I saw this post when it came out and wanted to come back to it when I had time to read it properly! Phew! Should have read it straight away then come back after a few days of thinking! Now it will be going round in my head for days! Which is a good thing - I like being made to think!

It's easy to get sucked into regrets about the past - but we wouldn't be where we are today and who we are if anything had been different. Much better to focus on the future.

I try to live life to the full and push myself to do things, but I know I fall short quite often. All I can do is constantly battle to improve myself and my actions. I'm always reassessing goals and what I'm doing and why.

Ok -now I feel like I'm rambling, but I'm off to think some more!

What an interesting pledge you have found! Look forward to reading more of the writing challenges!

Jill @ Creating my way to Success

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