It’s about what give you the quality of your life… Really. What…
This may be one of the most missing distinctions of our century… so please read it. And please know, I am at odds with this Roy Williams article… So don’t fall in love with it, until you read my entire post.
In 1738, Alexander Pope gave a dog to Frederick, Prince of Wales.
Engraved on the dog’s collar were these words:
“I am his Highness’ dog at Kew;
Pray tell me, sir, whose dog are you?”
Alexander Pope hitched his wagon to Prince Frederick, a rising star.
If you’ve seen the Masterpiece Theater television series, Wolf Hall, you’ll remember a similar conversation between Thomas Cromwell and his wife, Liz, as he explains why he has chosen to work for Cardinal Wolsey:
You know what they say in Italy? ‘Il principe bisogna sceglierlo… You have to pick your prince.'”
Later, Cromwell says to Rafe, his right-hand man,
The question is, have you picked your prince? Because that is what you do, you choose him and you know what he is. And then, when you have chosen, you say yes to him” ‘yes, that is possible, yes, that can be done.'”
Anyone that has ever risen through the ranks knows these things.
But this is America, where each of us wants to be his own dog, so we contrive new and different names for the princes we serve during every phase of our lives:
A child’s prince is called a role model.
An athlete’s prince is called a coach.
An employee’s prince is called a manager.
A businessperson’s prince is called a mentor.
An actor’s prince is called a director.
A director’s prince is called a producer.
A producer’s prince is called an investor.
An ad writer’s prince is called a client.
There is no end to the chain of princes.
Make no mistake, you have chosen a prince. In fact, you have chosen more than one.
What? You still believe that you are free and independent, without alliances and the obligations that come with them? I hope for your own sake this is not true.
The dog that is its own
is a stray
and has no home.
Each of us is stronger when we are bound to others.
Dogs are known for their ability to bind themselves to others. This instinctive loyalty allows them to form powerful alliances against animals that are much faster and stronger than they.
Solomon spoke of the power of such alliances in Ecclesiastes, chapter 4.
Two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble. And on a cold night, two under the same blanket can gain warmth from each other. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
My friend Roy Laughlin is known for his miraculous ability to do things in business that can’t be done. Years ago, I asked him his secret.
When I was a boy in elementary school, my grandfather pulled me aside one day and said, ‘Roy, the outcome of the game is determined the moment the captains pick sides. Pay attention to your playmates and you’ll always know, ‘If I can get him and him and her, we can win this thing.’ Know who you need on your team and figure out how to get them on your side. This is the secret of success. Never listen to anyone who says differently.'”
In other words, you must pick your princes, the rising stars to which you will hitch your wagon.
And they, in turn, will hitch their wagons to you.
Roy H. Williams
I read this article and sat here, very uncomfortable. Something about the article didn’t jive with me. Something about the article made me feel bad about myself. Something about the article felt like societal manipulation.
When you feel this way… you run for the hills… don’t you? Who the heck wants to feel uncomfortable, after all.
But I live and teach the principle in life: you can only grow through friction, and through friction I’ll grow! So let me see what growth opportunity is in this controversial article for me.
Discomfort is another name for friction… and you must notice that you avoid it. At all cost. Like only my three Eastern European students play the game in yesterday’s article… no Western reader or student was willing to be uncomfortable. That particular game is uncomfortable. Through a series of yeses and nos you find what you are looking for.
The more nos you get the closer you get… but nos are uncomfortable… aren’t they? They carry with them a condemnation… So you avoid them.
So, back to the specific discomfort: alone or winning… that is the setup of this article…
Alone or winning.
It sounds like the “other” has to be a person. Could it be Source? Whatever Source is… After all I am alone in the World, but never alone. My Witness is with me… my partner in crime is with me… Source.
But what if the article is a narrow cone of vision of what allegiance, what “prince” can be? What if prince is not necessarily a person?
What if a prince can be an idea or ideal or principle, it can be a person, yeah, definitely, or can be a goal. A goal to attain something you want or like?
Let’s start with the last one. What kind of life does it give you to hitch your wagon to a goal or something to attain? Chasing the blue bird of happiness. Or riches. Or fame. Or even the abolition of slavery… for example?
When you keep your eyes on the prize, then you are never at home. You are a wondering beggar, always lacking what you are seeking… A life of wretchedness.
This is where most people live…
Become a partner, a support, a helper in someone else’s agenda and hope that you get a great life in return. But is it likely?
You need to suppress your own agenda, and become selfless… not my kind of fun. But, of course, if there is no one there… if you are not a person yet, this may be a good idea… especially if you pick someone who is a person already. Then, vicariously, you can experience personhood, a life that makes a difference.
This is the type of stuff Roy Williams is talking about… One person who is an individual, and many “hitchers” who don’t.
The third option is to hitch your life to an idea or principle.
Now, watch the urge to ask the important question: isn’t it like a goal?
It can be, if you pursue it. If you try to reach it… But that is not what this option is really about.
It’s a unique ability of people, I hope all people, to generate the wind that they walk into…
Unconsciously you are already doing that: when you pursue a goal, you are leaning into the wind called Lack. Or Lonely. Or poor. What gives you being in the present moment is the future you live into. Yeah, but…
If the future is disconnected from your present moment, as in the case of goals, what really gives you being in the present moment is the lack of that goal… lack of money, lack of happiness, lack of health. And the lack of anything is the definition of wretchedness.
In my day to day work, I have to spend time, every day, to make sure that the wind I live into is NOT some goal or the lack of it.
In my work, if you miraculously transformed and became a human being, that would be a goal. And having that goal giving me my live, hitching my wagon to that goal is a sure way to be miserable… believe me, I have tried it.
And whether anyone knows it or not doesn’t matter. I am happy, fulfilled, moment by moment, by living who I say I am, a researcher, an explorer, a penetrator of mysteries.
I need no one to cheer me on. I need no one to acknowledge me. In fact, I hear the occasional acknowledgment as attempts to pull me back into the fold… the fold of pleasing others.
When I am able to live from that place I do good work. I free people from their attachments, cords, curses, spells, the burden that prevents them to be living fully, to perform fully, to enjoy life fully.
And although it could be celebrated, the moment I celebrate THAT, I am off again to goal-oriented living.
So it’s a tightrope walking type of life: when you feel yourself leaning too much in one direction, lean into the other…
Neither one nor the other. A goal driven life is wretched. A principle driven life, without a goal, a purpose, is empty, hollow, rudderless ship.
You see, hitching your wagon to something or someone gives MEANING to life. A life without meaning is a life not worth living.
PS: I am using vision boards in this article, as pictures. Contemplate if vision boards will help you or not in living a meaningful life? Please comment below. The more comments, the more clarity.
That is how clarity, that is how distinguishing works.
And if you don’t know what a vision board is, or you don’t know how to make a vision board… here is a video… I hope it’s good. On this computer I cannot watch videos… I would never get any work done… lol