Remember Tevye’s lament in Fiddler on the Roof?
If I were a rich man, so goes his hypothesis, I’d be the happiest, most contented man alive.
Don’t tell me you’ve never had similar thoughts. You may not have belted out your thoughts in song while you danced a little jig, but we’ve all had those thoughts.
If only money weren’t so tight…
If only we could travel a little more…
If only we could buy a bigger house…
If only, then…
Funny thing is, research has answered the question for us all unequivocally.
Harriet was born the sixth of eleven children in a small Connecticut town twenty-two years after the U.S. Constitution was ratified.
Her father was a prominent and outspoken minister, her mother the highly-educated and intelligent granddaughter of a Revolutionary War general.
A storm was brewing over deep flaws and uneasy compromises in the Constitution.
Little did Harriet know the role she would play in that storm…
I’ve never been into comic book heroes, even as a kid.
I’ll tell you why: I’ve always rejected the model of “ordinary” citizens sitting around waiting for one hero to come and save the day. I’m of the “every common man a hero” school of thought.
But when you stop overthinking it (as I’m clearly prone to do) and view superheroes as archetypes from which we can apply lessons for ourselves, there’s much to learn from them.
If you’ve ever been to London and ridden the Underground, you’re familiar with the famous phrase, “Mind the Gap” — a caution to rail passengers to be careful while crossing the gap between the train and the station platform.
There’s a lesson there: Potentially dangerous gaps are much more safely and easily navigated when we’re consciously aware of them.
But it’s the subconscious gaps that get us into trouble.
Viktor Frankl is known for another famous phrase related to different gap:
You can know with certainty that you have discovered a profound truth when you smack into a paradox.
Consider two quotes, the first from Robert Louis Stevenson:
“Extreme busyness…is a symptom of deficient vitality. It is no good speaking to such folk: they can not be idle, their nature is not generous enough.”
…and the second from George Bernard Shaw:
“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”
So which one is correct? Are we to be generously idle, or serviceably worn out?
My wife and I have been reading The Conscious Creator,” my friend says, “and it’s got her really worried.”
“Oh? Why?” I ask.
“Because she sees that it’s got me thinking big again.”
“Why is that a problem?”
“Because the last time we tried to go big we lost everything. We thought we were going to get rich with some investments and we ended up failing big time instead.”
I didn’t get killed by terrorists today.
In fact, I didn’t even awaken with the fear that I would, and I enjoyed the entire day without so much as a thought about the ravages of terrorism.
It seems like a strange thing to point out, doesn’t it?
I mean, no one in America spends their days in constant fear that a bomb could explode in their neighborhood, that this day could be their last.
And that is exactly my point.
This isn’t political.
I want to assure you of that from the outset because our journey today starts with a man in a concentration camp yearning for freedom.
Actually, let me start with where I was first introduced to that man, one of my greatest heroes.
When I was just a teenager — to my best recollection it would have been in 1992 — I read a book that completely altered the trajectory of my life. I consider it to be among the top five books ever written in the history of the world.
I know, I know. You’re frustrated. You feel lost, alone, confused.
You’ve been wandering through life trying to find your purpose.
You know Father has a purpose for you. You know you were born for something great.
But you just don’t know what that is.
No joke, no exaggeration, it happened just like this. You can’t make this up.
I’m standing in the hallway at church having a conversation with my good friend and neighbor Lee.
Lee has no degree or credentials. He’s a regular guy who lives on a regular hometown American cul-de-sac in a modest home. He also happens to be one of the smartest and finest people I know.
Lee is the inventor of Elastocrete™, the most innovative concrete product the world has ever seen, which will completely revolutionize the industry.