Recently I did a MagicMethod presentation to a professional HR organization here in Cincinnati and one of the participants remarked, “The world makes a path for you if you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing. If you have a lot of time on your hands you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing. If you’re busy, the world makes a path!”

His words struck me and reverberated for me immediately. Driving home I thought about the implicit sense in them and decided to write about the concept. You see, the world was making a path for me.

Researching the subject at Google this morning a few refrains came back at me when I entered the words "world makes a path" (note the quotes for those of you who want to understand a little more about Boolean). Listed among some Epigram Favorites, others were:

Help the man who is down, you may slip yourself someday.
They’ll talk anyway.
Why give advice, wise men have their own and fools avoid it.
Knowledge is only a fact; wisdom is knowing what to do with that fact.
Who can anchor to an unanchored mind?
Only the mints can make money without advertising.
The world makes a path for the man who knows where he is going.
Common sense is very uncommon.
Recipe for having friends … be one.
A hen is the only living critter that can sit still and produce dividends.
Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
Don’t take yourself too damn seriously.
Be a live wire and you won’t be stepped on.
If you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right.

I find humor in several of them and logic in all of them. Zeroing in on the subject of this piece, though, the words “the world makes a path” for me means something slightly different. I don’t always know where I am going, evidenced by this recent confession I made, but I do strive to always keep myself busy. Keeping always busy isn’t nearly as hard as you might imagine. “You don’t know how to relax,” my husband Bob often challenges. To him, my affairs seem maddeningly complex and long-winded – he is content to read science fiction/suspense/detective novels and watch the same on television in his down-time. What he doesn’t seem to get about me is that what I do does help me to relax – my proclivities are different from his. A proclivity is described as: a natural or habitual inclination or tendency; propensity; predisposition

Understanding what your proclivities are and allowing yourself to move along those directions is the first step in uncovering the path that the world has made for you. There’s that old Star Trek mantra that says “Space – the Final Frontier.” I have never responded to this message – always thinking to myself, “They’re wrong – our minds are the final frontier.” Our minds can adjust to unusual and unexpected stimuli and it is this very unusual and unexpected stimuli that prompts growth in our self awareness. Self awareness is a very different concept from self assurance. To be self aware one understands what makes oneself tick. To be “self assured” – well, that can come with a whole bag of tricks! The natural progression of events is that self awareness leads to self assuredness.

If you encounter something you have an aversion to, listen to what your inner self is telling you. It’s probably not such a good idea to pursue those paths - there is nothing there to draw you along and fuel your journey. I hear all the time, “I don’t like to source – it’s too time-consuming/tedious/boring/isolating/difficult…” The list goes on…

I tell those people, “Then don’t!” Do what you like to do. Life’s too short to spend any time at all doing what you don’t like/want to do. Far too many of us are in career paths that are going nowhere because we followed someone else’s desires/didn’t know how to uncover our own. I spent twenty-two years of my life doing just that until I reached a point where I just couldn’t do it any longer; I couldn’t take even one more step on that path. Looking back, I see I had a lot of time on my hands I was always looking to fill with trivial pursuits. Chasing trivial pursuits will get you into trouble if you make a commitment to doing just that, thinking you have nothing else to do. If you find yourself thinking, “I’m bored,” - Houston, you have a problem. Once I was given the opportunity to grapple with the real problem, myself, the skies cleared. I turned from an “Overcast/Chance of Thunderstorms” personality into a (mostly) “Sunny All Day” being. I found the path the world was making for me all because I discovered, and allowed myself, to follow the direction of my natural proclivities.

I’m not saying it’s going to be easy to uncover your natural proclivities. You’re going to meet up with some “unusual and unexpected stimuli” but that’s okay. Don’t be afraid. Once you do uncover your “path” you’re going to wonder why in the world you ever thought it was going to be so hard!

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in a common hour.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

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