I recently had a Facebook conversation with someone who had responded to a post about an amazing new invention, called Gravitylight, a light which is emission free and comes with a freely available power source, ie gravity.
This story isn’t about the light but about my musings on a conversation that was sparked by the light.
The post received a response from someone who expressed the wish that they could send such a light to their family in Nigeria as they often have days without electricity. This means they end up using Kerosine lamps which unfortunately are bad for their health.
The conversation went something like this (and please note that I have used poetic licence here for your reading pleasure):
Her: “I would love to be able to send this Gravitylight to my family in Nigeria!”
Me: “Perhaps if you googled it you could purchase one and send it to them.”
Her: “It would never arrive as the postal system isn’t great there and it is a really corrupt place!”
Me: “You could take it there in person. ;-)”
Her: “I would love to do that one day.”
Me: “Maybe someone would be happy to go there and take it on your behalf?”
Her: “Where they live is in the middle of nowhere and no-one visits there but one day I hope to go back and see them.”
Me: “You might find that someone out there could find it a perfect travel challenge!”
What is the relevance of me sharing this with you? This story isn’t about her but about what the conversation triggered in me.
“It’s about understanding that we all have a choice in what we commit to.”
First, I responded to someone’s wish in a way that they weren’t ready for. In fact, in hindsight I am aware that my responses might even have been slightly annoying for her and for that I am sorry. Why? Because inadvertently I was calling her out on her commitment prior to her making one and therefore my input was given somewhat prematurely and, perhaps you could even argue, uninvited. After all, she had only expressed her thought, which was a really nice idea.
Second, when we have a nice idea, it’s just that. Nice. We have nice ideas about all sorts of things all of the time. Or about things we feel we should, could or ought to do. Do we always do them? No, of course not because if we would act on all of our ideas we would go absolutely bananas! It would be totally unsustainable.
Does this mean I think she should get off her backside and do something about this nice idea? No, not unless she wants to. This isn’t about judgement. It’s about understanding that we all have a choice in what we commit to.
She has the choice to either look at how to make it happen now, later or not at all. It’s all good. The choice is hers and hers alone and never for anyone else to decide or even judge.
If anything, what this story proves in a very unscientific way is that when we are not committed to a cause, we will see all sorts of reasons as to why something may not be possible. Our subconscious will help us to believe these reasons in an effort to keep us safe. That’s really what our brain is programmed to do – to keep us safe, and a good thing it is too!
It isn’t until we commit to an idea that we start taking action to make something happen and then we can find the courage and resourcefulness to leverage this safety valve. To allow us to open up to possibilities beyond safety, however, we first need to be clear on what is truly important to us personally.
“To know what is truly our path to follow, we need to give our safety wired ‘do’ brain some much needed down time and create the space to start listening to the whispers of our soul so we can begin expressing the truth that is buried deep in our hearts.”
I have noticed both from my own experiences and from working with my clients, that committing to something that is important to us personally is particularly challenging when our heart is wide open to the plights of others. Through the noise of a thousand pleas we can’t hear our own soul’s knocking and our own heart’s desires. And whilst we are busy fighting the fires outside of ourselves, we are also dousing the fire of our own pilot light.
To know what is truly our path to follow, we need to give our safety wired ‘do’ brain some much needed down time and create the space to start listening to the whispers of our soul so we can begin expressing the truth that is buried deep within our hearts. For some that may be committing to sending Gravitylights to loved ones in Nigeria but for others this may be spending more quality time with family and friends or creating and sharing our unique ‘heartwork’.
For us to make a difference in this world, it helps to know what will make a difference in our own lives. To recognise what is truly important to us, it is often helpful to find a guiding light as we learn to re-light and listen to our inner one.
Ann Skinner is a work/life coach and the founder of The Contribution Evolution, a catalyst for sustainable lives through authentic living and leadership. Ann is the author of the best-selling book, The Art of Contribution – a Companion to Living a Meaningful Life. In her book, Ann shares the five elements that contribute to our ability to be the difference. More about the book HERE.