For thousands of years, storytelling has been a way to pass down wisdom from one generation to the next. There is a reason for this.
Stories make accessible the wisdom of our elders and our peers. Through a tale well told, we find answers. Insight. Even hope.
And so our search for boldness, for authenticity in this life, begins with three stories. Each daring us to form a new habit. Each daring to go to another level.
The Architect & Habit #1 – Take Ownership
He briefly looks over his client list. Frank Sinatra. Lucille Ball. Lon Chaney. His mind wanders. What a journey it has been. Beyond words.
That spaceship looking building at LAX. Other notable buildings. Will anyone know that he had a hand in those designs? He doubts it but that’s ok.
It has been one hell of a ride. A ride that started in the 1920’s and continued for forty years. It was a good run. A really good run.
And his talent for rendering architectural drawings upside down, that always caught their eye. But it was more than a trick.
It put his clients at ease because back then, many of his clients were uncomfortable sitting next to a black man. And that’s what he was. A black man.
The true story of Los Angeles architect Paul Williams.
Don’t make excuses and don’t blame others. Take personal responsibility for your life.
The Politician & Habit #2 – Be Mindful
His mastery with the pen would make even the most savage of warriors think twice. And so it was in the late 1800s. An adversary had appeared.
And he would strike that adversary down from the shadows, through an alias, no less. Anonymous articles submitted to a local newspaper.
All the key ingredients for sabotage were there. An anti-immigrant subplot. Charges of incompetence. Other nuances. But he overplayed his hand and got caught.
He would have to face his adversary in a duel to the death.
The 6’4” Abraham Lincoln wisely choose a broadsword as his weapon of choice. A wise decision because back then, men with Lincoln’s reach were very rare.
Upon seeing this, James Shields, Lincoln’s adversary, decided to work things out. The duel was over before it ever began. But for Lincoln, it was a wake-up call.
His emotions had gotten the best of him. It was a mistake he would not make again. Letters penned in anger, he decided, deserved a good night’s rest.
Learn to calmly sit with your emotions, no matter what. Let go of the need to control people, places, and things. Learn to mindfully react to all things.
The Imagineer & Habit #3 – Speak Your Truth
Would people ever truly get him? His inner world. The fantastical things going on inside his head. Did people get the importance of such things?
It didn’t matter. He would do them anyway.
Animation as high art. People had their doubts until he started winning Oscars. But what about the blending of technology and art? Not enough was being done there.
He would fix that.
And then he had the crazy idea of bringing his animated worlds to life. It would cost a fortune to build but it had to be done. He would build an amusement park without equal.
On July 17th, 1955– The Magic Kingdom opened its doors.
Walt Disney continually faced impossible odds and criticism. And yet his visionary convictions remained. His truth was non-negotiable.
You have but one life, make the most of it! Honor the voice within.
Everyday Humans Welcome
All that is well and good, but most of us will never become the next Walt Disney. What then? These habits offer as much value to you and me, as they do anyone else.
Taking ownership is getting fed up with your own excuses. It’s saying, enough is enough and grabbing the bull by the horns. It’s choosing to rise rather than fall.
Being mindful is simply not reacting. That’s it. Just don’t react. It’s grabbing your breath to get some perspective. It’s calmly working through a problem versus intensely reacting to a problem.
And honestly, for most people, speaking your truth can be as simple as saying “no” more often. Or it’s chasing a dream. Leaving a job. Or changing a circumstance.
Perhaps it’s time to tell all of your story, not just good stuff.
Absent these three fundamentals, little will change. Absent these three fundamentals, chaos and reaction will reign supreme.
But master these three fundamentals and everything changes. Your focus. Your sense of self. The results you get in all areas of life.
The pinball is no longer stuck between the bumpers.
Bob’s Zen like approach to business coaching has proven to be a game changer for creatives, entrepreneurs, and non-profits. His eclectic background includes running ad agencies, top-tier management consulting, directing and producing in film and theater. If you’re looking to become a rule breaking owner or creative, he offers a free coaching session