Chasing Happiness & Sharing Pain (LTW5035)

Two documentaries about musicians prompted today’s show. The artists are very different. One, I’m a big, big fan. The other, not a fan at all. I couldn’t give you the title of a single album or song. But I’m happy I watched the documentary. And it was a far better-produced documentary than the one on the artist who I love.

I saw them on the same day, but I watched them in the order of today’s title. The first, a documentary about The Jonas Brothers entitled, Chasing Happiness. The second, a documentary about Adele entitled, Adele – The Only Way Is Up. Both are available on Amazon Prime.

If I gave them a star rating I’d give Chasing Happiness 4.5 stars and I’d give Adele – The Only Way Is Up no more than 3 stars. I’m favorably biased toward Adele and her music. I was unfavorably biased against The Jonas Brothers. This just proves how dangerous it can be to fill in the gaps of our ignorance with our own biases. I don’t mean biases that are the subjective nature of music. We like what we like. Both artists are labeled POP, but I’m not a big fan of POP. Certainly not the bubblegum pop that I associated with The Jonas Brothers.

Can an artist or group truly know why they experience a breakthrough? Both of these artists broke through with reasonable speed. Neither of them languished playing small out of the way venues for years before getting a break. Both of them found fast stardom.

The documentary provided evidence that The Jonas Brothers resonated with all the young girls (their dominate audience, especially early on) because they performed with such happiness. During the documentary, the brothers state that the audience wanted to see them having a good time. At some point during their heyday, they stopped having fun and the success suffered.

By contrast, Adele found an audience that could easily relate to her struggles and pain. Her songs were autobiographical, raw and honest. Anything but happy.

One artist – The Jonas Brothers – representing what we all most want. To be happy. To smile. To laugh. To have a good time.

The other artist – Adele – representing what we all fully understand. Struggle. Pain. Suffering. Heartbreak.

Both amassed tremendous audiences and found enormous success. Both went their own way. One, The Jonas Brothers, sorta lost their way and are now on the road back to doing what they love. They’re currently on a tour, Happiness Begins.

Adele is reportedly working on a 4th studio album due out December 2019.

Two gigantic musical acts who approached their music from completely different viewpoints. And found quick success because people could relate to them, their songs, their persona and their talent. It all matters. So did their timing.

Lately I’ve been focused on how to best make people feel safe. Well, actually it’s been a lifelong fascination with unsafe people. They puzzle me. Always have.

Emotional safety has been a lifelong pursuit. And I do mean pursuit. Both in trying to become increasingly more safe myself and in finding people with whom I can be safe.

No, I’ve not found it very often, but to be fair – I’m cautious and have always limited the number of people in my inner circle. I’m not overly guarded I don’t think, but I may be. It mostly stems from my introversion and the fact that my personality is seriously drained by being around too many people. Sometimes it’s more difficult than at other times.

You’ve heard me say it before – if given the option between two rooms to enter, where I could spend the next 3 hours – one filled with hundreds of interesting people and one filled with just six ordinary people – I’m dashing into the room with 6 people. I can’t fully explain it. It just is what it is. And I don’t judge anybody who would choose the other door. All I know is that I’d rather go narrow and deep than wide and shallow. That’s my best explanation.

Human behavior is among the most curious areas of study for me. I’ve spent my entire life studying it, observing it and predicting it. From the time I began to work in retail (when I was just a kid) to now, I’ve spent countless hours watching, observing, learning and trying to understand why people do what they do.

I’ve watched people in shopping malls, large department stores, small boutique stores and even scoured various retailing areas like Rush Street in Chicago watching how people shop. See what captures their attention. Watching the flow of where they walk and how long they linger looking at a display of products.

In a business context, the focus is clearly on understanding what makes people buy. Influence and persuasion have been major sources of study. Some incorrectly (and inaccurately) confuse manipulation with influence and persuasion. They’re not even 3rd cousins to one another.

Manipulation in the verb form, manipulate means…

to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one’s own advantage

Some suggest we think of manipulation as win-lose. The manipulator wins, the manipulated loses. Whereas persuasion and influence are more win-win. That could be true.

It speaks to safety. Safety is based on intent. Manipulation has poor intentions. It involves acts of persuasion and influence, but the distinction is in dishonest, insincere or ulterior motive intentions.

Influence and persuasion aren’t necessarily ill-intended. As a father, I hoped to influence my teenage children to hang with the right kind of people, avoid making foolish decisions and commit to godly behavior. The intention was to help them develop and lead productive lives. I wasn’t intending to accomplish anything selfish, other than to be proud of my work as their father. Their lives were never my own. They’re my children and like all children, their conduct reflects on me, but the training and instruction were all aimed at helping them live their best life.

Contrast that with an imposing father bent on designing their child’s life. Urging the child to pursue what best serves dad rather than being focused on what may best serve the child. That’s manipulation.

The difference is the intent. The intent drives the behavior.

This is important because it impacts safety. Look at your life and the people who surround you. Now single out the people you absolutely do not trust. The people with whom you feel unsafe.

Not caring what others think of you is touted as a great way to go. I’ve even given such advice and worked harder to live it myself. Not by thinking less of others, but by leveraging my own personal responsibility. By being accountable for myself.

I do care what some people think. I care deeply about how some people feel. It adds to the burden greatly, but it is what it is. I also know how crippling it can be. And often still is. Because the bottom line is – THIS is judgment. Judgment – this kind of judgment – stymies us perhaps more than anything else.

Salespeople fear rejection. #Judgment

Boys fear rejection by the girls. #Judgment

Business owners fear to lose a customer. #Judgment

A startup fears rejection by the big prospective customer. #Judgment

Judgment too often drives us. It’s not even real. It doesn’t matter. So why do we give it so much power?

Because we play it out in our mind. We “scenario plan” it to the Nth degree. The trash in our head says, “Yeah, but what if…?” and we go on to fill in that blank with some of the worst outcomes we can imagine. Never mind that years of such thinking have proven – given us evidence – that the worst outcomes aren’t even likely probable. Some aren’t even possible. Not practically speaking.

All the more reason why the topic of safety is so critical. We need to surround ourselves with safe people who can help us achieve a state where we’re no longer suffering because of our fear of judgment. There may be no remedy more powerful than a select few safe people who can help us figure this out.

Safe people versus Unsafe people. So let’s pick up that thought of the people with whom we feel unsafe. Are you thinking of somebody?

Let me take a guess or two. I’m guessing you trusted them once, but something bad happened. They violated that trust.

Most, if not all, of the people who make us feel unsafe, are people who have betrayed us in some way. Maybe they were abusive. Maybe they lied about us. Maybe they lied to us. Maybe they broke our confidence. I’m guessing they served themselves at our expense because THAT is the common denominator.

Unsafe people are always self-serving. Their ego and pride make them the number one person in their life. They hate it whenever their power or quest to manipulate is threatened. They may fight back with tyranny or something far more subtle. Like lots of passive-aggressive behaviors. But they will fight back.

The people who make us feel unsafe are ill-intended. They do not have our best interest at heart. They care primarily about themselves.

So if you’d like to be a person capable of making others feel safe, first you have to be more concerned with their welfare than your own. It doesn’t mean you don’t care about yourself. It means that in the context of your interaction with them, you want what’s best for them. At that moment, it’s not about you. It’s about them.

Let me illustrate with a fictionalized account of a true story. This one deals with spiritual things, but if you’re not spiritual you’ll be able to make an application.

As a religious person, I don’t want anybody to suffer living a poor quality of life that may result in losing their soul. I know there may be many people who don’t believe in such things. I understand. But I do. So my world-view includes a belief based on the Bible that there is life after this one. Eternal life. And that in eternity God has established two distinctly different outcomes. Salvation or damnation.

My intent is to live a godly life so I can go to Heaven My other intent is to serve others so they can go there, too. I wouldn’t be much of a Christian if I didn’t care where others spent eternity. But I’m empathetic that not everybody sees or understands spiritual things as I see and understand them. We can all make up our own minds and determine how we’ll live. No matter what others may say or do.

First, people must know where I’m coming from – a place of concern for them and their soul. Nothing more. That includes no judgment. God didn’t appoint me judge. He’s got that job. I simply know what His Word says and how He hates the sin but loves the sinner. I’ve got some qualifications to discuss the Bible because I’ve studied it my entire life (so far).

A young man reaches out to me. He’s a teenager. Sexual temptations are very real. He’s surrendered to them and committed fornication. A first for him. He’s forsaken his virtue, something he never thought or planned.

I know, I know. How old fashioned am I? I’m not old fashioned, I just happen to believe the Bible = that sex outside of a man and woman being married is sinful in God’s sight.

This boy is crushed by the guilt of his sin. We meet. We talk it through. He says, “I know it was wrong and I want to make it right with God.”

I can now decide my own intentions. Do I want him to do what I want him to do? Or do I want him to do what we both know (he and I) God wants him to do?

Remember, God is the judge. Not me. So we want him to do what God wants. Period. And we chat about that and set about to help him correct this sin.

Some may call that manipulation. Especially people who feel like religion or spiritual considerations are nothing more than that anyway. But is the Bible manipulation or evidence? You get to decide. I’ve already decided and the more I study it the more decided I am that God is truly God, the Creator and worthy of our obedience. Given the high stakes (eternity) I want to make sure I’m correct. At this moment with this young man, I want that for him, too. He wants that.

This conversation happened for two reasons. One, this young man felt safe with me. Two, this young man knew I’d help him accomplish what was best for him. It was a moment of chasing happiness (his seeking forgiveness) by sharing pain (in this case, his sin).

A spiritual context isn’t necessary to understand these principles.

An employee approaches me requesting a few moments. She asks to speak privately with me. “Of course,” I say. She proceeds to tell me of behavior she’s observed in her boss, my direct report. She has evidence in hand of financial improprieties. She’s guarded to not jump to conclusions, but says she’s brought these to the attention of her boss and been told, “Don’t worry about it.” But she’s clearly worried about it.

I investigate. She’s right. Corrective actions are taken to remedy this situation.

She came to me for two reasons. One, she felt safe with me. She trusted me. Two, she knew I’d take action to help fix the problem. It was a moment of chasing happiness (in this case, eliminating improper behavior) by sharing pain (telling me what she had unearthed).

Remove safety and none of it happens.

People shut down. We all do whenever we’re around unsafe people. We seek every opportunity to steer clear of them. Why? Because they’re not safe for us to be around.

This isn’t some petty fear or preference. It’s a very real, honest feeling that we’d be foolish to leave ourselves open to such people. Besides, we understand they provide us no value whatsoever!

Chasing and sharing, no matter what order you put them in, are major components of all of our lives.

Chasing happiness may be worthwhile, but it’s a terrible full-time pursuit. Mostly because people define it poorly and inaccurately. If you accepted the actual dictionary definition it’d be very worthwhile.

a state of well-being and contentment

Our culture defines it more as a pleasing sensation or a pleasing experience. Euphoria. A constant smile on your face type of thing.

Some define happiness as being able to do what you want when you want. How is that not the most selfish thing possible? How is that not all about you without consideration to others? Besides, it’s so not practical. Nobody has that level of freedom. The most powerful and financially successful people have the least amount of it if that’s how we’re going to define it. Go watch that Jonas Brother’s documentary if you don’t believe me. Schedules are orchestrated almost to the minute with little room for variance or flexibility. Meetings, interviews and other obligations are managed by others. They’re shuttled from place to place often not quite sure where they’re headed. So much for freedom to do what you want when you want.

I’m all in favor of each of us chasing happiness if we’re defining it as well-being and contentment. But that’s hardly the level of excited happiness most are pursuing.

Think about your life. Think about those moments of happiness defined in the current culturally correct way – smile on your face euphoria! They’re moments. Fleeting moments. Yes, they’re great and we love them. But we know our life will return to something more normal. More routine. Happiness like that isn’t routine. That’s why it’s happiness. And why we’re often busy chasing it…

Like a drug addict searching for another high.

The problem is normal time isn’t healthy or helpful. The quest for that happy moment robs us of ordinary, routine contentment. The normal time for the addict is that time in between the highs searching frantically for ways to get high. For the happiness addict, it’s time spent looking for the never-ending accomplishment. Some sense of euphoria or freedom. Life is spent in big chunks of routine and ordinary. How can you find happiness there?

By altering how you define it. By thinking about it differently. More realistically. More thoughtfully. And with greater practicality.

The chasing I propose is practical and accurate.

a state of well-being and contentment

As we apply ourselves with feverish vigor to create Instagram moments worthy of admiration by others, we’re fooling some, but mostly ourselves. It’s not real. It’s fake. An illusion (or worst yet, a delusion) to make us feel somewhat better. Does it work?

Scroll through your daily news feed and you know it’s not. Horror stories abound. Poor souls searching for affirmation and validation but finding only the most shallow approval. No sooner do they get it (assuming they get enough likes or whatever other social currency matters most to them), then they’ve got to go get a new fix. Searching for happiness and finding deeper misery. More guilt. More shame. More knowing it’s not real. Maybe followed by self-loathing.

It’s all a mental health destroyer. Sometimes even a killer. Literally.

The R.E.M. song is accurate. Everybody hurts…sometimes. We just hope to fool others by exuding confidence that we’re not like the others. We’re real. Genuine. Authentic.

What if we (that’d be YOU and me because somebody has to start this thing) decided to chase real happiness. That is, what if we devoted ourselves to a state of well-being and contentment?

What if we sought out people with whom we feel safest? What if we relied on them to help us?

Everything would change. For the better.

What if we decided to rid ourselves, as much as possible, of the people with we feel most unsafe? What if we did our very best to limit our exposure to them?

Everything would change. For the better.

And in that safety – being in the company of those with whom we’re safest – what if we confessed our pain and our goals for greater contentment?

Everything would change. For the better.

Then why don’t we do that?

Why haven’t you done that? Why haven’t I?

Let me take a sidebar here. In the past year, I’ve devoted myself more fully to the effort. It’s a work in progress, but I’m committed.

I’ll share my journey because finding safe people is hard. Really hard.

I began with unsafe people. They’re easy for me to identify. Unsafe people aren’t just those who are opposite of the safe ones.

I created 3 categories.

  1. There are those with whom I feel safe.
  2. There are those with whom I feel neither safe nor unsafe.
  3. And lastly, there are those with whom I feel unsafe.

Unsafe people are people who I refuse to be around any more than necessary. They’ve proven unreliable, dishonest, self-centered and tyrannical. There aren’t many of them, but there are a few. I avoid them because they serve no positive purpose in my life. They don’t make me better. They don’t allow me to help make them better. They’re unsafe in every way so I want nothing to do with them.

People with whom I don’t feel safe aren’t necessarily unsafe. They may be people with whom I don’t have a deep enough relationship to know one way or the other. I’m not judging them as unsafe, I’m only discerning that I lack information or the relationship to properly know, one way or the other. They may one day veer into the realm of safe or unsafe. Time may tell. Or not. They may forever remain among the majority of people in my life. This category easily comprises 90% plus of all the people I know or interact with. They’re neither safe nor unsafe. They’re neutral.

The most valuable and important group of people are those with whom I feel safe. This group is the second largest group for me, but it’s still very limited. Unsafe people are the smallest group, but they’re not problematic because I avoid interaction with them at all costs.

These safe people are the select few with whom I have a deep relationship. I know, through experience and tests of life, that they care about me. They want what’s best for me. It’s reciprocal. I want what’s best for them. We both have a common understanding, trust, and concern for one another.

Truth is, I want what’s best for each of the three categories, but that comes pretty easily for me. Are you familiar with character strengths? Character strengths drive our behavior. It’s not personality. It’s not talent or skills. It’s character.

I’ve taken a character assessment a few times because it can change over time as we grow and develop. My number one character strength at the moment is forgiveness. So when people harbor bitterness, resentment and a failure to forgive — I can struggle to relate or understand. My empathy forces me to give consideration to how they’re feeling, but I am unable to fully relate because forgiveness isn’t very challenging for me.

Before you go pinning a medal on my chest tap the brakes. Forgiveness is also problematic. I struggle mightily with forgiving myself. It requires a Herculian effort and even then I often fail. My strength, like most strengths, can become a weakness in a certain context.

I can forgive others easily. I find it almost impossible to forgive myself.

So it shouldn’t surprise anybody who knows me that I don’t even want the people with whom I feel unsafe to suffer or enjoy misery. I’m pretty consistently wishing they’d alter their viewpoint and behavior because I know it’s not going to turn out well for them. But I want it to turn out best for them. Even if they’re unsafe for me. I figure it’s the best outcome for the world if we’ll all behave ourselves and achieve the best outcome for ourselves.

I’m an INFJ based on the Myers-Briggs Assessment. It stands for Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Judging. I won’t bog down in the details because I’m no expert, but that judging part (like the others) is critical.

INFJ indicates a person who is energized by time alone (Introverted), who focuses on ideas and concepts rather than facts and details (iNtuitive), who makes decisions based on feelings and values (Feeling) and who prefers to be planned and organized rather than spontaneous and flexible (Judging). INFJs are sometimes referred to as Counselor personalities.

INFJ and all the other personality types aren’t one-size-fits-all. We all vary amongst ourselves. My INFJ may look a bit different than somebody else’s.

Judging, as it’s used in the INFJ, is discerning. It’s been described by some as being a noticer. INFJ’s notice. We see patterns emerge. We make judgments based on our observations.

Remember what I said about watching people and noticing what made people buy? There you go. I’m a noticer and I’ve always been a noticer.

But there’s another judgment that isn’t based on noticing. It’s purely based on self-centeredness. It’s harsh, critical judgment. It’s commonplace with unsafe people. In fact, it’s largely why they’re unsafe.

We know unsafe people are going to be critical, not based on us hurting ourselves, but based on not doing what they think we should do. These people SHOULD everybody in their life. They second guess every decision made by everybody around them. They’re opinionated about everything and they must express it. They refuse to keep it to themselves. It’s important to them that others know their opinions and judgments. How else will they be able to feel or know they’re superior? I mean, what good is superior judgment if you can’t call people out? Sorta defeats the whole point.

I don’t know how to help people care about other people. Some do. Some don’t. I’m attracted to those who do. Those who don’t populate my unsafe list.

It’s possible to only care about people because you benefit in some way. Unsafe people will help you so they can shine. They’ll help you so they can tell you why you’re doing it all wrong. It’s really not about helping you as much as it’s about looking good themselves. Or feeling better about themselves. At your expense.

And there it is. A big component of the unsafe. They do what they do at your expense. Remember what I said about the difference between manipulation and persuasion? There it is again. It’s why intent matters.

Chasing happiness and sharing pain is befitting of the word I’ve recently coupled to encouragement. CRAVING. We all crave encouragement.

What is encouragement? Here’s how I define it…

Expressing belief in somebody

Today’s show is about some components of that. We encourage people when we provide a safe place where they can share their pain and talk about their pursuit of happiness.

It demands tremendous humility, vulnerability, and courage. If you’re the person doing the encouraging, those qualities must be present. If you’re the person being encouraged, those qualities make the encouragement stick.

Remove humility, vulnerability, and courage and you negate safety. Or any chance for it. You destroy encouragement. Instead, you do harm. You damage yourself and those around you.

At best, I observe mere tolerance of unsafe people. And for good reason.

Those people who must put up with it (most often family members) do. The rest, steer clear. Relationships are superficial and shallow because the people exposed to unsafe people have learned to protect themselves. Meanwhile, the unsafe person MAY be oblivious. Highly likely. But they NEVER care because they’re too busy judging and being right. 😉

If social media has proven anything it’s our strong need to share. We’re social creatures. Some more than others, but we all need to share. The scale slides across a very, very broad spectrum from the narcissist who cares only about himself (or herself), sharing their greatness because they’re the focal point of the universe. Or the shyest of us, reticent to share anything with anybody. If the law of averages is in place, and I suspect it is, then most of us fall somewhere in between.

This much is true. We all want to look as good as possible. Putting our best foot forward and all that. Social media has certainly fueled that because at no time in human history have we been able to fake it ’til we make it (or until we don’t) on such a grand scale.

Our digital life isn’t a long term play. It’s not even a journey. It’s a moment. A picture. A 20-second video. It’s a carefully orchestrated high-light reel that we want others to judge us by because we know judgment is happening. It’s our effort to dictate the narrative by crafting the ideal story.

When I was much younger I learned a valuable lesson about human behavior and judgment. An early boss was fixated on internal theft. Being a kid working in retail, I got it. But his obsession seemed over the top, even for my suspicious nature. Then I figured out why he focused so intently on it. He was stealing from his own company. Sneaking inventory out without paperwork. It was the first real example I saw of somebody focused on the very thing he was guilty of. That lesson has repeated itself many, many times.

The point?

Our sharing is exposing us for who and what we really are. Our fixations are revealing things about ourselves. Mine certainly are. I confess I’m being very intentional about it, too.

I’m positively, unapologetically fixated on the ideals I’m pursuing. We’re often displaying things about ourselves that we may not even consciously realize. Some of us do it quite intentionally and consciously. Fact is, that’s the whole point of this podcast. Not to share how I’ve mastered leaning toward wisdom, but to share my journey of figuring out to lean toward wisdom more and more.

We want to share. We need to share.

We also want others to share with us. We need them to trust us enough to do so.

There’s this — I’m not sure what to call it, but it seems quite phenomenal to me, so I’ll call it a phenomenon. Some share their chase (or having caught) happiness. High-light reel stuff for many. Quite real for others because there are plenty of people who have more money than they’ll ever spend. Sir Richard Branson can share pictures of him and his family or friends frolicking on Necker Island. He ain’t fakin’ it.

Some share their pain. The spectrum is broad on both counts.

Here in America happiness is mostly equated with money and financial wealth. We can’t imagine Sir Richard Branson, Bill Gates or Warren Buffet ever being unhappy, but they are. Perhaps more than we’ll ever know. I don’t have any way to know. I only know they’re human. They suffer. They experience sorrow, disappointment and all the other things that we do. I also know they face challenges most of us will never understand. All the fretfulness and worry that goes with protecting such enormous assets. All the angst that must accompany the insane expectations of those close to you, including children and family. If you’re worth billions how to do you refuse to buy a $100,000 BWM for your 16-year-old who knows it’s such a small thing for you? I’m happy I didn’t have that problem. 😉

Let’s think for a moment about another behavior. Mercy.

Here’s the definition…

compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm

People are unsafe because they have the ability to hurt us. The hurt might be minimal, but it’s hurt nonetheless. They may be able to cause us great injury. They lack mercy.

We all have the opportunity and power to hurt each other. At least in the context that I’m using the term, “mercy.” Which means we all have the opportunity and power to offer mercy. Sadly, unsafe people are bent on refusing it. And mostly because they can. It may make them feel powerful and superior, which is largely the point of it all.

Feeling better about themselves at the expense of others! It’s what being unsafe is all about.

Let’s drill down a bit more on the unsafe people, the people with whom we absolutely know we should refrain from sharing anything. They’re unable to empathize. Or unwilling. They simply will not put in the effort to understand others.

I’m happy to give due consideration to the possibility that some may not know how. I’m also happy to consider they may not desire to learn. Those who want to, likely can. And do. It’s a magnificent achievement if an unsafe person puts in the work to become safe. The entire world benefits. I’m only supposing this is true though because I’ve never seen it. I imagine somebody somewhere has pulled it off though.

Unsafe people believe they are the arbiters of right, wisdom, and brilliance. If they don’t judge the world, who will? Somebody must do it and they’re glad they’ve been given a special measure of full-knowledge enabling them to render justice and truth to the rest of us.

Nevermind context. It doesn’t matter. Nevermind your situation or circumstances. Those don’t count. As for mercy, it’s not even in their vocabulary because nobody is deserving (which is kind of the point of mercy, you know?).

You need to chase happiness. Well-being and contentment.

You need to share your pain.

You need safe people with whom to do so.

So we’ve come full circle and now it’s time to look in the mirror more intently.

Are YOU safe? And I mean in both the receiving and giving context.

Do people lean on you? Do they confide in you?

If so, great. Keep doing the great work you’re able to do. You’re filling a need that is desperate.

If you’re not safe, the big question is, “Do you care? Do you want to do something to correct it?” If so, then that’s great news for all of us. We need many more safe people.

The bad news is I’m not the person to tell you how to go about it because I don’t know how to teach it. I just know how to do it. Somebody smarter than me will have to help, but I’m sure Google can point you in a helpful direction.

Are you safe in your own sharing of your pursuits and your pains?

My goal is to shine a bit of light on the reality of why people lean on certain people and not others. And to encourage you to get busy finding safe people with whom you can share your pursuits and pain. It’s about finding safe people. It’s also about you feeling safe. So that question, “Are you safe?” rubs both ways. Give and take.

Don’t confuse safety with comfort. Growth most often happens during times of discomfort. Sometimes enormous discomfort. But the discomfort grows into a new level of comfort. Growth involves the unknown. It’s the movement from the unknown to the known and back toward new unknowns. Rinse and repeat.

Don’t be complacent. Don’t stop chasing. Don’t stop sharing. You need people willing and able to help you. People willing to be safe for you. You need to be that safe person for somebody, too. It’s a reciprocal cycle that makes the world brighter.

Safety is as simple as ABC – Always Be Careful.

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”       ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Richelle E. Goodrich wrote this in her book, Smile Anyway: Quotes, Verse, & Grumblings for Every Day of the Year…

“I’m starting to think this world is just a place for us to learn that we need each other more than we want to admit.”

I think she’s right. We do need each other more than we sometimes want to admit. We just need to be safe for each other so we can grow and lean more toward wisdom. Together.


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