"First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do." Epictetus
We generally are where we are and who we are in life as the result of circumstance. It's usually not the circumstance themselves that are the cause of our condition—it's the choices we've made and the actions we've taken or not taken within the context of those circumstances that have created the "reality in which we live."
I'm not casting blame, nor am I ignoring the fact there are incredible challenges, disadvantages, hardships, and even cruelty in the world. Some of the conditions and situations people of the world have had to endure exceed my capacity to imagine or perhaps even cope. But for most of us, living in relative safety, freedom, and within the confines of civilized societies, there's more than simply "hope", there's the opportunity to create the life we can imagine.
Every extremely "successful" person I have ever met, asked, or interviewed about their lives and success shares a common event or characteristic. Notice I didn't say "most", I said "every"—without a doubt, with no exception. Some people carried it around consciously; others uncovered it in our conversation but the event or characteristic was there.
What was it?
Every person had "their" story, their moment. There was an instant of recognition or reckoning where they simply realized or declared who they would be, what they would accept, or what they would no longer live with that put them on their path to personal or financial success. How each person I spoke with defined "success" varied pretty widely—they kept score uniquely and many played a "different game" altogether regarding their measure of achievement, accomplishment, or even happiness. Still there was a clearly conscious and articulated decision and distinction that made "all the difference" to them and their lives. Some had hit rock bottom. Some simply raised their eyes to look to the proverbial sky of what was possible but not yet a reality in their lives. Some said, "never again", others proclaimed, "from now own I always will". But there was that moment of recognition, reckoning, realization, or declaration.
Some referred to it as a moment of truth; others described it as an awakening or a simple recognition of possibility. Still others referred to it as a vow or a solemn commitment. I describe it simply as…
"The Grand Assertion"
It's greater than a goal…
It is a defining moment where we consciously, purposefully, and resolutely choose who we truly are, what we will do, what we will have, give, and become.
There's a great distance between a want, a wish, a goal, and a commitment. The "grand assertion" is different than a desire or a dream; it's an affirmation of and to ourselves and the world. It's unwavering and absolutely authentic to each individual. Certainly the grand assertions of others can serves as guideposts, inspiration, and even models for others. But as stated in one of my favorite quotes…
"Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought." Basho
Seek what they have sought but find or create your own defining moment to declare who you are, what you do, what you will have, give, and become. Most of the people I spoke with or interviewed had the moment thrust upon them in that "something happened" that caused the shift. You don't have to wait for the blinding bolt of realization to strike you; you can simple decide in this moment—right now, who and what you vow to be or become, what you will accept, change, do, or create in your life.
But there's more…
The Grand Assertion is a formula of more than the just realization or the declaration. In every example of the people I asked or interviewed their life-altering moment was followed by an instantaneous action. Each had taken a step toward making transforming their thought into reality, transcending the present moment and beginning their new future of their conscious creation. Some wrote a proclamation and shared it with their friends and family. A few created a set of daily activities that soon became rituals of action and behaviors. Others made sweeping life and career changes on the spot. But all acted swiftly and decisively to action on, engage, and truly embrace their Grand Assertion.
I invite, encourage, implore you to…
Declare your Grand Assertion to the world and begin taking action in earnest.
I just have!