CREATE YOUR UNIQUE PATH Empower Your Life Story and Legacy
by Flora Morris Brown, Ph.D.
or years I frequently shared with my friends my plans to travel the world, visiting every continent (except Antarctica) at least once. I browsed through travel magazines, read travel books, and watched travel shows. I even considered signing up for retreats held in exotic locations as a way to travel.
Too often we fantasize about what we’d like to do in our lives without realizing that we haven’t even taken the first step.
My friends listened patiently to my daydreams. Then, when my youngest daughter was in her junior year at UCLA, she announced her plan to enroll in an Education Abroad program in Spain that spring. Part of me loved the idea and thought it was a wonderful opportunity for her. Another part of me rebelled. How could I agree to her making an international trip before I did, when it was my lifelong dream?
There is no one right way to create your unique path, but here are three ways to help you find it.
When I lodged my objection, my quick-thinking daughter fired back with a solution. Since I was still teaching full-time, she proposed that I plan to meet her in Europe when school was out for both of us. That way we could explore Europe together, and I would finally have begun my international travel. Great! I was happy with that solution. We began deciding where we’d meet and what places we would visit. With excitement, I shared our plans with friends. Again, they patiently listened, but one of them asked, “Do you have a passport?” I let out an embarrassed gasp. After all those years of talking about traveling abroad, I hadn’t even taken the very first and doable step of applying for a passport. That was when I fully understood the Chinese proverb originated by Laozi: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” That realization led me to get my passport and finally begin my lifelong plan to travel the world. Although I continued to teach a few more years and enjoy other activities, I traveled often. Now I’m almost finished; just one continent left to visit.
22 LEGACY ARTS Issue 12 www.paragonroad.com
Other times we envy those who seem to be happily enjoying their lives, as if by magic, when in fact they are taking thousands of little steps.
1. Take full responsibility for your life.
If there is something you want to achieve, don’t wait for what you think is the right time or expect someone else to take the lead. Begin the smallest step you can take toward it, like I had to do by applying for my passport. As you begin this process, if you become disenchanted with the goal, modify or change it. When things go wrong, don’t go with them. Seek a positive change that will move you away from what you don’t want and toward what you do want for your life. Avoid rubbernecking at events and activities that don’t enhance your life or bring you joy. You slow your own progress and risk your success. There are many circumstances outside of your control, such as birthplace, genetics, and others’ behavior. Seek a positive way to manage the part of your life over which you do have control. This includes not only your reaction to circumstances but your choice of thoughts, words, and attitudes that fill your mind.