Up, Down, Or Nowhere?
If you could describe your life by using nothing more than a line moving through time on a graph, what would it look like?
Would the line be straight or would it look more like a wave, featuring a series of ups and downs, peaks and valleys?
Would it be ascending or descending … or essentially flat once any ripples were smoothed out?
I know the answer to the straight line / peaks and valleys question.
I don’t care who you are; everybody goes through ups and downs. That comes with being human. Those reversals of fortune can seem big and significant when they’re happening. Some definitely are. Most really aren’t. Into every life a little rain must fall. And every dog has his day. We’re all on a kind of roller coaster of sorts. But, so what?
For the most part, those ups and downs are what someone who studies trends would call “background noise.”
What’s far more important than the ups and downs on your graph is whether the trendline of your life is spiraling upward, downward, or is going nowhere in particular.
You can’t really control the particular ups and downs of life from day to day and year to year, but the overall direction of where your life is going is very much up to you.
Consider the fact that Beethoven was stone deaf by the time he was middle aged. And his life wasn’t exactly a picnic in other ways either. A deaf composer with serious personal problems. You might see that as a recipe for a downward spiral. But look at what he was able to give to the world. He composed … and conducted … his magnificent 9th symphony not being able to hear a blessed thing. Nothing. He could have spiraled into the abyss. Instead, he touched heaven and brought a little bit of it back to earth.
He did this remarkable thing because HE HAD TO. Music was his life … his inspiration … his gift to the world. The disappointments and tragedies in his life didn’t disable him, because his life had a purpose. He had something important to do.
Ups and downs are a part of living … a given, but they only define your life if you let them.
Your life can be just a series of days … an endless stream of ups and downs, going nowhere in particular. Or it can be a transcendent experience, spiraling ever higher, informed by a strong sense of purpose and guided by a powerful vision of what will be.
Here we are on the cusp of a new year. By next year at this time, when we’ll be about to start 2017, where will your line have moved on the graph? Higher … lower … or sideways?
It’s up to you. But that doesn’t mean it’s all on you. When you stretch and attempt to do big things, you’ll find a lot of people there to support you and cheer you on.
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