"Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer." Niccolo Machiavelli
Today's quotation reveals an interesting dynamic: it takes strength to hold ourselves back as well as to move ourselves forward.
Think about it. We want that dream job and interesting career. We long for it. We wish for it. All that wishing and longing take energy. We have a powerful urge to move forward.
But what many of us do is hold ourselves back from following those urges to move forward. And guess what? It takes even more energy to keep ourselves from moving forward than it does to allow ourselves to move forward!
Let's use the example of a dog on a leash. He spots a squirrel ahead. What happens? He strains at the leash, trying mightily to go after that squirrel. How much energy do you have to expend holding him back? Your sore arm later complains it was too much!
Have you ever tried paddling up-river? How far can you get? How fast?
It's the same thing when we have strong urges toward something. Instead of allowing ourselves to move in the direction we want to go anyway (the path of least resistance), we too frequently hold ourselves back with inertia, reasons why it's not possible or why we can't achieve the goal we'd like to have.
The point is it takes strength and energy to hold down what wants to be freed.
Either way, we're spending energy. One use of our strong energy can create our dreams; another kills our dreams.
We are spending our life energy in either case.
What makes the difference in how we spend our energy? The difference is in the decision we make on how to spend it. That's it.
We can decide to do bold things, as Macchiavelli suggests, or we can decide to hold ourselves back. The choice is ours. And then we get to live the results of our choice.
How many people live their lives to nearly the end and then spend their remaining time regretting what they didn't do? That is such poignant suffering!
But it doesn't have to be that way!
We can make a different choice, right now! We can choose to move in the direction of our dreams, even if we don't know how we'll get there.
And here's a secret. The only way to get to where you want to go is to make a different choice, now, right now, in this moment.
And there is ALWAYS a choice to be made now. It might be as small as deciding to reread this ezine for inspiration. It might be to take a deep breath. It might be to pause for a moment to really take in this information and let it settle deep inside.
Once you make that choice, then another choice is possible that wasn't possible a few moments ago. Maybe you feel just the slightest bit more peaceful. From that place, make another choice, and so on.
It may seem simplistic that so easy a practice could help you achieve your career dreams, but it works.
Don't look at all the choices you think you'll have to make along the way. That's too far out and you'll likely be feeling differently at that point. Look only at what's in front of you and make THAT choice. That's how you take your journey step-by-step. And that's how you begin to release your strength to pursue your dream career or any dream you may have.
So move forward boldly. If you make mistakes along the way (and you will), let them be (as Machiavelli says) mistakes of ambition and boldness, not sloth or suffering. That way, no matter what happens, you'll live happily. Chances are, you'll even succeed at what you want to do.
Here's to gathering your strength and moving strongly in the direction of your dreams.