‘Learn by Doing, but Question Everything’
This past week I found myself scrolling through old photos on my iPad. Among the photos were snapshots of my wedding day, glimpses of a honeymoon in Thailand, scenic photos of hikes in Colorado, triathlon finisher’s photo, family vacations, concert venues, my home back in Cincinnati, and plenty of other adventures across the globe.
It goes without saying that I am blessed, and I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to experience these escapades.
Then, while reminiscing from one memory to the next, there was a photo that caught my attention. As soon as I saw it, I remember having taken a screenshot of it some time ago. There it was staring me in the face, as if it was trying to tell me something. Better yet, perhaps this photo was attempting to remind of me something.
What was the photo, you ask? Well, in all honesty, it wasn’t the view from the peak of mountain, nor was it from a beautiful place that I’ve traveled in the last couple of years. It was just a bunch of words – 138 to be exact.
Words of encouragement. Words that chase something more than the status quo. Words that have meaning, that embody purpose, and that breathe passion.
Some of the phrases include:
“Learn by doing, but question everything… Measure against your own standards, not others… Learn to model excellence…”
When I saved this image some time ago, I knew there was more significance than just taking it for face value. At its core it says, “You have a purpose – pursue that purpose, don’t look back, and do something worth making an impact.” Whether big or small, all that matters is it’s something that you believe deeply in (and about).
What’s the Significance of the Words in the Image?
I must have read through the words in this image four or five times when I stumbled upon it last week. It gave me the chills – it made the hairs on my arm stand up.
When the words are pieced together, they remind me that ‘Today is Possible’. And for you, my readers, it conveys the same message.
Do you have a short phrase that you say to remind yourself to live life to the fullest? You know, quotes such as, ‘seize the day’ and ‘make the most of every opportunity’? At some point in time, we’ve all scribbled an expression like this on a notepad to serve as a daily reminder. Then, as life happens and circumstances arise, we identify a new phrase for that season of life. And, at some point in time, the new slogan becomes a temporary reminder, only to fade in time.
In addition to these short-term reminders, it’s important to have more permanent fixtures, if you will. By a permanent fixture I mean a life motto, or manifesto – a deeper expression of words that, no matter the season, that reminds you that today you are infinitely capable of doing something meaningful.
Manifesto: of or relating to conscious feelings, ideas, and impulses
I first stumbled across this image while reading through one of my favorite personal development blogs – Live Your Legend. This website is more of a movement. Scott Dinsmore, whom I have mentioned in the past, created this revolution of people across the globe who see the value in pursuing something in which they find purpose. Encouraging people to take a leap of faith is great, but without a foundation from which to provide support, the leap of faith becomes a leap of hope.
So, your foundation can be found in a manifesto that you believe in. The words in a manifesto are something to reflect on. And, the words in a life manifesto are what remind you to pursue something more – not yesterday and not tomorrow – rather today.
Unfortunately, Scott was killed in a tragic accident in his early 30’s. However, the creed he left behind is something that millions of people refer to each day. It’s now something that I have saved on my desktop, reminding me that we all have value, and we all have purpose.
The question is, what are you doing today to pursue that purpose? Are you having trouble figuring out what that looks like? If so, listen to this speech by Scott, and ask yourself the question, “What is the work you can’t not do?”
Your life passion might only require an hour of time each day, or in some cases it might consume your entire day. Either way, it’s possible and within reach. If you want to define your own success in life, try to define it by whether or not you pursued what you were passionate about, and whether or not you’re doing the best you can.
In the meantime, develop your own life manifesto. Put some words on paper that bring forth significance in your life. Place them where you can see them. Follow them, but more importantly, live by them.