Selfless sacrifice

Our lives stem from the hard work of prior generations. In part, a reward for their grit.

Countless people made sacrifices — directly and indirectly — sacrifices that have given us life, freedom, and opportunity.

How do we live our lives in such a way that honors those selfless acts?

And now that we’re part of this long lineage, what will be our gift to the generations that follow?

stephen
Assumptions

When we don’t know the full story, it’s natural for us to fill in the blanks. This tends to happen a lot with casual acquaintances. We know a few things about a person and then we make a whole bunch of assumptions.

Over time, if we’re not careful, we might begin to conflate the two. That is, we’ll treat “what we know about a person” and “what we think we know about a person” as the same thing.

Two things we can do:

One, be conscious. Know the difference between things we’ve learned about someone … and narratives we’ve invented.

And two, be curious. Ask questions. Have a conversation. Actually get to know the person. Turns out, first-hand knowledge is a great way to keep assumptions in check.

stephen
Cheating

Once you allow yourself to cheat (perhaps because the circumstances are so challenging, and after all ... it’s just this once and you’re a good person and it’s not the biggest deal in the world and other people do it) the more likely it is that you’ll cheat again.

When you bring cheating into the equation — even just once — you’ve told yourself that it’s now an option. That in special situations, it’s something you can do.

But once you break that seal … the next time, the threshold will be lower. And then lower after that. Until it’s more of a regular thing than “just this once”.

Best to not start cheating.

Ever.

stephen
The passing lane

Recently, I was in the outside lane of a highway when the tractor trailer in front of me began to slow unexpectedly. As soon as this happened, cars behind me began moving into the inside lane to pass. As they did, I had no ability to move over. For a while, I was stuck behind the truck as other cars — from much farther back — were able to easily maneuver and pass.

This made me think. Sometimes, when you’re close to the front of the pack, you might be in situations where there’s limited mobility.

And during those times, it’s the people in the back who have flexibility and line of sight … and the ability to choose a more efficient path.

Being near the front can be good, but coming from behind can have its advantages too.

stephen
Getting ready

Before we go out — to an event, for instance — we spend time getting ready. Showering. Dressing. Grooming. We check the mirror. Maybe even ask someone, “How do I look?”

But for all the time we take to prepare our physical appearance, how much attention do we give to what’s happening on the inside? Preparing our attitude? Preparing our intention?

We consider, “Here’s how I want to look.”

Do we also consider, “Here’s how I want to engage,” or “Here’s how I want to be kind,” or “Here’s how I want to be fully present.”?

Getting ready isn’t just about how we plan to look. It’s also about how we plan to be.

stephen
Pick me up

You don’t need a cup of coffee; you need a conversation with a friend who believes in you.

When someone supports you ... when they have faith in your dreams ... when they want you to succeed ... it helps to light a fire. It adds to your internal flame. It reignites what has died down.

Feeling tired or unmotivated? Talk to someone who wants you to achieve your goals.

But watch out: you might just do something great afterwards.

stephen
Leaving notes

If you’re irritated, and about to leave a note in an attempt to change someone’s behavior ... it’s worth considering: is the person whose behavior I’m trying to change likely to be changed by a note?

If not, you might consider having a conversation instead.

Or … reconsidering whether it’s something you can just let go.

stephen