As part of a Seth Godin/Domino Project experiment, I joined a group that asks us to write to prompts for 30 days. While I got off to a rough start on this this week, I’m giving it a go now. Today’s prompt asks us to identify a strong belief that isn’t shared by family or friends, and what are we actively doing to live it?
It’s hard to identify a strong belief that I don’t think I share with close friends and family. I share plenty of disbeliefs from time to time, and we may disagree on many issues, but finding something I would identify as a positive belief that I don’t share with them is much more difficult.
The closest I can come is probably the following that I picked up long ago from Richard Bach:
“Live never to be ashamed if anything you do or say is published around the world — even if what is published is not true.”
followed closely by:
“Remember where you came from, where you’re going, and why you created the mess you got yourself into in the first place.”
Entering the online world, you have to be willing to be accountable, now and into the future, for everything you say, and be willing to defend it, even if you’ve changed your mind over time. Sitting with a good friend last night, we were discussing politics, and wondering why politicians haven’t learned how to better turn the tables on interviewers. For example, if someone brings up something silly from your high school days, a politician should just learn to say something like “You know, (insert reporter’s name here) I bet you’ve done some things in your past you’re not really proud of, or regret, or have changed your mind about over time. I actually think it’s healthy for people to change their minds and mature over time, and that’s what I’ve done. I look at that and being able to admit that as a strength, not a weakness, and I feel sorry for you if you disagree.” I think my belief in “hat you see is what you get”, in being as open, honest and transparent as possible, and admitting when you screw up and don’t get it right is something I believe in passionately. While I believe a lot of my friends and family would agree with me in theory, I’m not sure all of them are as comfortable about coming out in a public forum, whether it’s on my blog, in social spaces, or in front of an audience and saying the same aloud.
The second quote is actually the most important to me. I have a real knack of challenging myself and occasionally backing myself into corners-saying aloud I’m going to take on a challenge, for example, like doing a half-marathon. I get nervous and downright scared as the end, the goal or the event comes into view and have moments of real fear and panic. But what I’ve learned is I do this, over and over, because I need to challenge myself and move beyond my comfort zone, and I’m never going to have an opportunity to stretch unless I get myself into this intentional trouble from time to time.
I’m not sure everyone believes this is necessary, and jumping off of proverbial cliffs to test whether you can fly is not always wise. But making sure you’re really familiar with the edge of the cliff and can figure a way down without killing yourself can be a lot of fun in the end, even if the initial stages are scary as hell.
My strong beliefs are essentially about trying to live with very little, if any regret, and pushing my boundaries, intentionally and more often than I feel entirely comfortable with. What are your strong beliefs? Do you share them with your friends or family? Why or why not?