Whether you say you can or you can’t you will always be right. You’ve heard this before, but can you accept it? Would you rather be happy or be right?
Will you kill to silence me?
This is the question my Constant Traveler invited me to contemplate this morning.
Not long ago I was having a conversation with a client. This person told me that she had the kind of personality that thrived in times of chaos and conflict. She said that no matter what came along, she could handle it.
From my position as an observer I could see that this was a point of pride for her. She was a self-defined activist, fighting for the many, many causes on her action list.
And true to her declaration, she also had a long list of chaotic scenarios in which she was embroiled, as she often found herself licking her wounds, surrounded by conflict.
As we talked, I realized something. A raging fire seemed to energize her. It provided the dry tinder…the ground on which she could make a stand, for or against…it didn’t seem to matter.
Those who believe in enemies will always find them. Why? Because it takes one to know one.
Consider the mercenary – they are definitely a Soldier of Fortune, because it doesn’t matter what war is raging as long as there is a war raging. Smell a fight? They will be there. As long there is fortune to be found.
I, too, have been a mercenary, on occasion. I know what the world of opposition and conflict can feel like. And I am aware of what it can look like…
It can look like you are fighting for peace. The obvious contradiction in this statement became clearly evident to me within the past decade. That is when I chose to lay down my sword.
With the guidance of my Constant Traveler, the most honorable, compassionate, and elegant part of me that I can possibly imagine at this point in time, I began to realize something deeper…something deeply primal.
When your purpose in life is defined by the fires you put out…you will always need a fire to put out so you can feel purposeful. This is how you define a life on purpose.
To take us a step further into the Gauntlet…if there are no fires…you have no purpose.
But that defies your purpose! In your world….the battle must continue.
When faced with this challenge, what do the marvelously creative beings that we are, do? We actively search for a purpose. If there is none worthy of our Kill Bill skills, we will create one.
What would be the purpose of a firefighter if there were no fires to fight? As I see it, the role of an actual firefighter is an aspect of heroism. Anyone who has ever had a fire threaten their home, livelihood, or life…knows what the assistance of a seasoned firefighter feels like.
As I recall, activists who are willing to fight for a cause feel compelled to action. They have identified what they believe to be an injustice, an unfairness, a wrong that must be made right. In a bizarre juxtaposition generated from personal experience in some regard, they choose to wade into the fight with extreme prejudice. Dealing with enemies in this way is what they know best.
However, in this situation, like a pyromaniac, the mercenary doesn’t just put out fires he or she sees; that doesn’t provide enough satisfaction. The mercenary deliberately sets fires in order to put them out.
The mercenary lets the fire consume them. They must feel the burn to appreciate their ability to activate the hose.
I have learned the benefits of becoming a moderate the easy way, through the School of Soft Knocks, the path of least resistance. I began my schooling at the age of 50, proving that It’s not just the younger dog lovers that can learn new tricks!
I have learned that peace is an action word. You must actively choose peace. Prepare by offering yourself the freedom to choose the peaceful option, no matter how the situation screams at you to wade into the fight.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”Henry Ford
The above quote reminded me of this saying, When all you have is a hammer, everything becomes a nail.
Having watched a documentary on the life of Henry Ford, even ole Henry could have benefited from this shift in perspective:
When all you choose is a feather, everything becomes a caress.
I believe that when you define yourself by the causes you fight for or against you become the fight. However, there is another way, an alternative meaning, a means that will benefit you as it benefits others. A call to action that does not oppose in order to defend.
Those who believe in enemies will always find them. Those who believe in peace will never meet an enemy.
This is always your choice.
You can always choose the peaceful course of action. Choose to give the mercenary some mercy. Perhaps you will benefit the cause you feel so strongly about, instead of adding fuel to the fire.
What purpose, or cause, are you serving?