Commit to Something Meaningful and See What Happens

THE FIRE DANCED BEFORE ME as I wrote without restraint. I stopped and looked up at the black night sky.

It took me out of the moment and allowed me to see the bigger picture of my actions. I considered what I was doing — it could have been anything, but I was writing.

There is a force within each of us that can’t be clearly defined. It doesn’t fit into a tidy description, nor does it compare to the energy which stirs in any other soul. It’s ever-changing, adaptive, and unique.

Like a mountain feeds a river or a heart does veins, that force may channel into the path we take in life; it’s that force — positive or negative emotions which emerge as we experience the world — that makes up our passions, our capabilities, our attention, our desire.

Writing is a part of that force which helps me perceive life more profoundly. Of course I want to make a splash; I want to share my voice and inspire. But ultimately I do this to better understand who I am.

I write because, for some unknown reason, fate has instilled in me a love to tell stories.

I have no intention of slapping fate in the face. Instead, I’ll give it a big ol’ hug and nurture this calling however I can.

The Force Within

“Some 2,600 years ago,” writes Robert Greene in his epic book, Mastery, “the ancient Greek poet Pindar wrote, ‘Become who you are by learning who you are.’ What he meant is the following: You are born with a particular makeup and tendencies that mark you as a piece of fate. It is who you are to the core.”

“If you allow yourself to learn who you really are by paying attention to that voice and force within you, then you can become what you were fated to become — an individual, a Master.”

I wake up in the morning with the primary intention of writing something, anything. If I don’t, my day feels incomplete.

Like a tree needs oxygen to grow, I feel I need to write to become all I’m meant to be. Writing is that thing which illuminates my soul, and what’s conveyed in my writing is my nature, my tendencies, my interests, my world.

Over time, as I’ve matured and become more attuned to my skills and interests: writing, reading, storytelling, travel, history, people and culture, I’ve dedicated myself increasingly more to them.

I trust this is the best way forward; right now it’s the only one I know.

Commit to Something — Anything

What are you feeling?

I type the words at the top of a document nearly every morning, needing to get something out before the rest of life takes over. This might be a worthwhile practice for anybody seeking answers.

I seldom come to the table with a clear idea of what to write. Inspiration comes from sitting down and putting the words on the page; it’s not always the other way around.

I’m committed to the process of sitting down and doing the thing; I’m committed to being a writer.

In an unexpected, yet in hindsight, a natural sequence of events, I’ve become who I am today by writing.

Not only because I’m learning to articulate who I am, but because every day I know this is what I have to do.

“Do whatever is the closest approximation of what right now feels like something that could be good for you to commit to, and just do that,” says the education-based podcaster Chris Williamson on his podcast Modern Wisdom.

“Almost all of the gains come from the committing to the thing, not to the thing itself.”

I believe what he means is that when you commit to something, regardless of what it is, your life will change in unimaginable ways. You’ll trust yourself more after you see you can stay consistent, which may lead to breakthroughs.

You’ll be more confident in your skills and your decisions.

If the thing you commit to aligns with your inherent nature, you’ll discover new facets of your being as the commitment shapes your actions.

The commitment is a friend to assist you on life’s journey. Use it as a tool, not a chore, and cherish the responsibility.

Trust Yourself

So how do we know what to commit to? How do we know what step to take, where to look, or what to ask?

The only way I know how to answer that is we just know.

The answers are seldom black and white; however, we feel something as we go about our lives, a contribution to our energy, or a stealing of it.

What might improve your life when committed to? A passion? Job? Or physical and mental health routine?

What— if society, friends, family had no say— would make you truly happy to do every day?

The brilliant Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky said:

“Never, never lie to yourself. Don’t lie to others, but least of all to yourself. What do you really care about and love? Who are you? And one of the very worst, self-murdering lies that people tell themselves is that they are no good and have no gifts and have nothing important to say.”

If I’m writing something truthful and genuine, I feel the physical sensation of passion surging through my being.

That’s how I know — no matter what the world says, how it responds, or if it does at all — that this is what I’m here to do at this point in my life.

Allow for Twists and Turns

This doesn’t mean life can’t change.

Often, it feels like we can’t make a change because we’ve already put so much time into something.

This is the sunk-cost fallacy, the notion that if we decide to chart an alternative path, we’d be throwing away years of work and experience.

So we stick with the thing to our own detriment, even when we might be happier switching it up.

But why are we here if not to whittle away at our experiences, chart fresh courses, test, adventure, fail, and try again?

Why are we here if not to continue taking steps towards our dreams until one day the floodgates open, the ember catches, the lightbulb flickers?

Maybe it doesn’t. 

At least we’d know we tried; that is a reward in itself — peace of mind.

Every step we take is part of our path. Everything we do in life is part of our journey that can be used as material, fuel, light in the future — if not for you, then for somebody else.

The Path You Make, or the Path You Take?

If I don’t write for a day or two or three, I feel the blade of my soul begin to dull; the sharpness of my mind and imagination diminishes; dust settles.

Writing, ultimately, sharpens the vision of what I love and what I long to be. Often, I don’t know who that is. There isn’t a clearly defined path that my story will take, where I know if I do this and this and this, I’ll see the success I desire.

It’s really just step after step. I’m committed to seeing where they lead.

The legendary writer Joseph Campbell says:

“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take.”

I see an ember of destiny waiting to ignite in the fire before me. I don’t know when, or if, it ever will. But it glows with possibility.

I won’t let that ember relinquish. That ember’s all I need to carry on.

You Can’t Foresee What Might Happen When You Go

Fear holds us back — the fear of things not working out, of embarrassment, of failure. So we stay where we are.

We do what’s expected, easy, and often soul-sucking.

But we can’t know who we truly are without endeavoring to become. We can’t know how good it feels to fight for something until we get in the ring.

We can’t know unless we go.

When we do, when we commit to something and say I’m going to give this everything I have, the universe takes notice.

It might not be the right thing; yet we are further along now than where we were, and that’s not nothing.

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams,” writes Henry David Thoreau in Walden, “and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.”

Commit to something and see what happens.

You’ll be amazed by how it changes you.

  • Stuart Danker
    Posted at 18:33h, 11 August Reply

    Great post! I’m a firm believer that we DO know what’s best for us at any given moment. It’s just the doing that’s hard, for some reason. What we need to do is trust that our conscience will guide us, and to follow its call, no matter what our mind may say about it. Anyway, thanks for this post!

    • Vincent Van Patten
      Posted at 18:43h, 11 August Reply

      For sure! The action is always the hardest thing, yet it nearly always brings peace of mind. But we know, even if it’s not an answer, we know through feeling I believe. I appreciate you man!

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