I am currently reading the book “The Path of Least Resistance” by Robert Fritz. In the book, Fritz makes the distinction between those who respond or react to their circumstances (an un-ending cycle of attempting, but never fully succeeding, to resolve our problems, he claims) versus creating that which they want to see. He asserts that anyone can create the life that they want if one replaces his/her structure from that of reacting/responding to that of creating.
In his book, Fritz states that: “Our educational system does not focus on the results you as a student want in your life. Instead it promotes the notion that what you should learn is process…The assumption is that as you become fluent in processes, the results you want in your life will take care of themselves. Consequently, few educators ask students this question, ‘What do you want for your life?’” – (The Path of Least Resistance by Robert Fritz, pages 70-71.)
I find this question, and questions like this, in general, enlightening. In my years of schooling, then college, and then graduate school, rarely was I ever asked what I thought, felt, or wanted for myself. The assumption was: if I learn this or that, then I will know what to do. I was drawn to the rare professors who asked us (the students in his/her class) what we thought. I remember sitting in one of my religion classes in university, and our professor turned to us with a question about what we thought about a particular theory he was teaching. It was one of the first times I remember as a student being asked to think! I remember feeling respected and honored by his encouragement for us to really think for ourselves and added that taking the time to really think about something and then come to the conclusion that we did not yet know, was also valid! This validation gave us permission to mull things over in our mind in an honest way. This, to me, was education: teaching us how to move beyond the boundaries of what already exists (i.e. spitting back information) to coming up with our own opinions, thoughts, ideas and approaches, and unique contribution (or creation).
The next time I had this experience was when I embarked on my journey to becoming a professional life and relationship coach. I had already been a licensed social worker for a number of years, and aiming to be the ‘good student’ in my course, I went up to my instructor following the first day’s training. I was having trouble fusing all of the new skills and tools I was now learning about helping others and understanding relationships with the tools I had already learned. In my desire to ‘do it right’ I asked my instructor advice on how to incorporate the tools I had been learning with what I already knew. She looked me straight in the eyes (which also felt like she was looking straight into my heart) and instead of telling me what to do, she asked me this question: “What is your approach?” Her question jolted me. It was as if I had woken up from a long slumber. For many years before my instructor asked me this question, I was mainly focused on following instruction. I believed that if I did what I was supposed to do; if I followed the process, I would certainly get it right. Maybe I would get it right, but I certainly was not confident in myself, for I was relying more on what I felt I should do, rather than listening to my own voice. That changed from the very moment my instructor had asked me her question.
My approach? I asked myself. “Thank you. I am going to go home and think about that?”, I responded.
And with that I had learned one of the most important skills and tools I had to being the creator and being successful in my own life and in all that I do: to start with…Me.
How about you?
Are you relying on the process of what you think you should be doing?
Are you being a responder; or you being the creator of your life (your career…your relationships…your health…)?
Please be in touch with any questions or comments anytime. You can reach me here.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Have a great weekend!
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