Unlikely friendships

This week I got a movie recommendation. I haven´t had the chance to watch the movie yet, but from what I´ve heard, it´s a typical story of two people coming from different backgrounds who don´t seem to have anything in common, yet they end up developing a very special friendship.

The hands of two people bumping fists sideways

I have to say I always found this kind of stories really interesting; stories about unlikely yet meaningful friendships.

For example, I remember a teenage TV show from the nineties that I used to love, most of all for the seemingly random interactions between different characters, and for how they ended up becoming friends without even noticing (or sometimes reluctantly noticing). It was titled "My so-called life", and even though it only lasted one season, it left us a few scenes that I personally consider masterpieces.

This picture shows (in low resolution, apologies) a few of the characters:

Image from TV show "My so-called life" where a group of friends spending time together in a room

I especially remember a conversation between the two boys from the picture, Brian Krakow (the blond one) and Rickie Vasquez (the dark haired one), where they spend a good few minutes supposedly talking to each other, but with each of them obsessing over a different topic, just as if they were talking to themselves in turns (how often in our lives do we do that as well?); initially it seems like they´re each doing their own thing, but eventually you realize somehow they´ve been listening and supporting each other... Sometimes, simply getting someone to listen to you and keep you company is what makes all the difference.

And sometimes, it´s surprising how much you may get to have in common with someone apparently very different from you, and how much you can get to learn, precisely from your differences. In my particular case, a few of those first "unlikely friendships" came into my life just by chance, but they opened my mind so much and I got so much out of them that at a certain point I started looking for them myself, if unconsciously.

So, what´s the benefit of having diverse friendships, from different environments, with different lifestyles and even different ages? Well, taking into account that humans very often learn by contrast, getting to know other perspectives and other ways to understand life is a great help towards expanding our own little world, and realizing that the way we do things is not the only possible way by any means, but just another option among many other equally valid ones. This gives us more flexibility and resources to face everyday challenges, and ultimately helps us to live a fuller life.

In reality, it all comes back to the same: the more we learn about ourselves and those around us, the more we understand, the less we judge, and the freer we become.

All of this without forgetting just how wonderful it is to have friends with whom you can share (Thanks!) 🙂

As I already mentioned a couple of years ago in another post, "friendship comes in all shapes and sizes".

Career paths (II)

As I was telling you in my previous post, last week I had the opportunity to deliver a talk about my professional career to a class of secondary school kids.

I had a hard time preparing the presentation, partly because I generally find it difficult to talk about myself (and I don't like pointing at myself as an example of anything), and partly because I didn't have a clear idea of how to express what I wanted to convey. At this stage, I know for a fact that storytelling is not my thing, so I had to find another way.

Luckily, a couple of days before the talk I had a chat with a friend (thanks Quique!) who really helped me to put myself in those teenagers' shoes; we spoke about how at that age, typically only a few teens have a good idea of what they would like to study in college, or what they'd like to do for a living; most often, they don't have a clue. If on top of that we add the ever-growing amount of available options, and the rate at which the workplace landscape keeps changing, we end up with a level of uncertainty that's a lot higher than for previous generations. And that's overwhelming.

All this gave me an idea, a metaphor I could use to explain what I wanted to convey to them...

I remembered Dora the Explorer.

Dora the Explorer cartoon character, standing with her arms crossed and smiling

If you've ever watched an episode of Dora, you'll remember that she always has a mission to accomplish, a goal to achieve, and that she keeps finding challenges and difficulties along the way, but in the end she always gets to achieve the goal (and to celebrate!)

So, what does Dora have (apart from her friend Boots) that helps her to overcome those challenges and difficulties?

First of all, a map.

Map used to show Dora the way at the beginning of every episode, almost always with three places she had to get through before arriving at her destination:

But the thing is, Dora's map was always right, it knew exactly what she would find along the path... Obviously, in real life we know that "the map" (that is, our plan) is just for orientation purposes, and, following the reasoning from last week's post, something like this is most likely to happen:

So, you know, as I see it, it's great to have a map, a plan, especially at the beginning. It can help us, it can point us in the right direction, but it's not going to solve all our problems, so if we don't have a plan, it's not the end of the world either, the way will reveal itself in due course.

First message: it's OK if you don't have a plan, it's going to change anyway.

But then, what can we do to prepare?

This is where we get to the second object Dora always carried with her, which to me is a lot more important and a lot more interesting than the map. Do you remember what it was?

A backpack.

A backpack full of all kinds of tools. And every time a challenge appeared, Dora opened her backpack and took out the perfect tool for the occasion, the one that would allow her to solve the problem.

Cartoon - Backpack and Map from Dora the Explorer

Second message: we may not know the exact path we will need to walk, but in the meantime we can get our backpacks ready, filling them with tools that will be useful for work an well as for our personal life and relationships.

Those "tools" can be:

  • Natural talents and abilities that we already have, and that we can continue to work on and improve.
  • Things we learn in a formal environment (primary and secondary school, college, workplace, etc.), and I'm not referring only to what's in the books (though that's important as well), but also many other skills we learn while we go through these experiences.
  • Things we learn in less formal environments, and that we seek for ourselves: extra curricular activities, interests, hobbies...

In summary: everything we learn in the different environments we interact with gets incorporated into our backpack. And out of all those tools, the most useful ones are the ones called "transferrable skills", because they can be applied to any professional or personal environment. Here are a few examples of the most typical ones:

  • Communication and presentation skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Quality focus and attention to detail
  • Adaptability to change
  • Collaboration and teamwork

And my favourite, the best one in my opinion, because to helps to develop all the others: self-awareness and self-management.

What are your thoughts on this backpack idea? What tools do you have in yours? And which ones would you like to acquire?

Career paths (I)

One of the many things I love about the company I work for is the bunch of volunteering opportunities available to us. For a few years now I've been collaborating with Junior Achievement, an international institution who establishes links between students in primary and post-primary education and professionals from the corporate world.

The idea is for us volunteers to visit primary and secondary schools and deliver training sessions and other events to the kids, not only to bring them new knowledge (though that's part of it, especially in areas like economics, business, science, technology, engineering and maths), but mainly to be a role model for them; that way, they can see that staying in the education system pays off, as it gives them more chances to find a good job.

In previous years, I've done training sessions on science, technology and the like, but my task for this week was something very different: delivering a talk about my professional career to a secondary school class, in order to inspire them at this crucial moment when they're starting to decide what to do with their life.

My professional career.

Twenty years, more or less, since I started to work.

To be honest, at the beginning I didn't have a clear idea of what I could say that they would find inspiring, or at least somewhat helpful... How could I become a useful example for them? What did I learn in all these years that's worth telling? What would have helped me to hear when I was their age? I slowly started to dig deeper and deeper, and a common thread started emerging; an idea, a message that I would also like to share with you.

Diagram displaying a straight arrow from "start" to "end" with the label "How life is supposed to go", followed by another arrow full of twists, turns and loops between "start" and "end", and the label "How life actually goes"

This diagram is a great illustration of "how life is supposed to go" (a perfect straight line from the starting point to the end) versus "how life actually goes" (an extremely whacky and bendy line, full of twists, turns and even loops, from the starting point to the end).

This is as true for professional careers as it is for anything else in life: I realized this first hand as I was preparing my presentation, and I noticed I had drawn my trajectory as a perfect arrow from left to right, with significant milestones at regular intervals, when in reality there were a good few twists and turns, many of them unexpected, coming from outside, but also a few that I decided to initiate myself, from the inside.

Luckily, my presentation also had to include a section on "successes and failures", so that's where I took the opportunity to explain a few of those twists and turns along the years, which, depending on how you look at them, can be considered failures, in the sense that things didn't turn out how I expected them to.

And I said "depending on how you look at them" because this black and white thinking that states that things are either a success or a failure doesn't seem accurate to me; I prefer looking at it this way:

Two drawings: on the left hand side, over the label "What people think", a road forks into "Success" as the wide shiny road straight ahead and "Failure" as a narrow winding road to the side, blocked by an orange cone and a FAIL sign. On the right hand side, the "road to success" combines a few different road branches that twist, loop and end in FAIL with one that continues ahead, with another couple of FAILs along the way, and the shiny success at the end

This other diagram shows us "what most people think", which is that success and failure are mutually exclusive, and that failure derails you from the path of success, versus "what successful people know", which is that what we call failure is nothing more than feedback indicating which way not to go, so that we can try different routes and end up finding the right way, the way of success.

And this is something I would have greatly benefited from if I had heard it twenty years ago: that it's OK to make mistakes (at work and in life), that getting it wrong every now and then is completely normal, and it's even necessary, because it allows us to learn and make progress in life, figuring out our own path.

How about you? What do you think about these two diagrams?

  • If you've been in the workforce for a few years already, are these hypotheses true in your case as well? What would be the shape of your professional career, if you were to draw it? What twists, turns or blockers have you found along the way?
  • And if you've only recently joined the workforce, or haven't joined yet, how does it feel when you hear your professional career will probably be this chaotic? What do you think could help you to prepare a little better?

Next week I'll tell you something else that came to my mind when preparing for the talk: a way to think about your professional career that I hope will provide you with some fresh ideas and practical tools.

Stoic wisdom

According to the experts, one of the most effective things we can do to stay mentally and emotionally healthy is to keep learning for life learning new things that we enjoy and find interesting not only provides us with new knowledge, but also gives us motivation and flexibility, as well as opening our minds.

I wouldn´t be able to tell you when I first got interested in topics related to personal growth. I think part of it started when I moved from Spain to Ireland, as I was beginning a new life in many ways. Fast forward to the last few years, especially since the pandemic hit, and my interest in this field, together with the variety of specific topics and the time and attention I dedicate to them, have exponentially grown. But deep down, I believe this itch started way, way back.

For example, I remember really enjoying the subject of philosophy when we had it in school (3rd year of BUP, for whoever knows what that means); I even read a novel about the history of philosophy that our teacher recommended: Sophie´s world, and I also loved it.

Ruins of an ancient Greek temple against a blue sky with clouds

Many years later, I´ve bumped into the world of philosophy again, this time through a course on stoicism and enneagram (which I totally recommend, as every other course from Autognosis) that I´ve just finished this week.

To be honest, I´ve really enjoyed it, and the best part is that it´s a very practical kind of philosophy: a series of principles that we can apply to our day-to-day life, to be happier and suffer less. Nowadays we may think of philosophy as this complicated theoretical thing you can talk about (philosophize!) for ever, but so far removed from real day-to-day life that it doesn´t help at all, so nothing changes. But the ancient Greeks and Romans saw it differently: for them, philosophy was much more tangible, it was their way to get guidance in life. Back then, philosophers were the equivalent to today´s therapists and coaches.

There´s a lot we can learn from stoicism´s teachings and reflections, I´ll tell you some of them in blog articles as we go along. For the moment, today I´d like to leave you with a text you may already be familiar with; it´s relatively recent, but it has a lot to do with one of stoicism´s principles, one that resonates especially with me: the dichotomy of control.

The dichotomy of control warns us about the uselessness of spending energy trying to dominate what´s outside of our control, and encourages us to focus on what we can control instead, so that we get less frustrated and also achieve better results. And in that context, the prayer of serenity just fits perfectly:

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Reinhold Niebuhr

By the way, I just remembered that it was in that same philosophy class from school where I first heard about Socrates and his maieutic, one of the foundations of modern coaching 🙂


About two years ago, shortly after starting this re-incarnation of BinaryWords, my friend María gave me a piece of advice: putting together a calendar to plan when to write the blog articles. I thought it was a really good idea, and simplifying it to make it a bit easier for myself, I decided to write a new blog post every week.

Old typewriter keyboard

Two years later, I have to say I´m proud of being able to keep this cadence. Though I do have to confess that, given my tendency to leave certain things until the last moment, my "weekly post" strategy quickly became "Sunday night´s post", reaching the point when there are literally no more hours in the week 🙂

But the strategy served me well, and still does. Not breaking my promise is what motivates me to sit down in front of the keyboard every Sunday, no matter where I am, or whether I feel like writing or not. I´ve written posts from airports, trains, country homes, and even from an inflatable mattress in my friend´s living room. Very often I´ve run into the early hours of the morning, technically getting the publication done on the Monday. But that´s not the point; the point is that the posts have continued to publish.

And I´ve continued to write.

Even when I didn´t feel like it.

Like today, for example.

And this is something that happens in every field: do you think athletes feel like going to their training sessions every day? Even when the weather is bad, when they feel physically unwell, or when they´re demotivated? No way. But they do it regardless, because they know it´s important to be consistent; it´s what allows them to make progress towards their goals.

And when I say athletes, I could say anything really; any activity that we take seriously and want to make progress on requires consistency: painting, writing, exercising, playing an instrument... All of this, of course, requires discipline, but there are also a few tricks that may help us:

  • Make it easy for yourself: set a realistic goal for your activity, book specific time in your calendar for it, and aim to reduce as much as you can the effort required to get started. For example, if you´re planning to go for a run in the morning, the previous evening you can prepare your clothes, place your runners by the door, etc.
  • Don´t think about it: us human beings are specialists at making emotional decisions and then justifying them rationally. If you start overthinking it and bargaining with yourself, you´re almost certain to find reasons not to do the activity. It´s time to do it, and that´s what it is, go for it!
  • Do it, even if it´s just a little bit: the hardest part of all is getting started, so if you find that you´re not motivated enough to complete the full activity, at least commit to doing part of it, like for example, running for five minutes. When time is up, give yourself permission to stop (if you still need it), or to continue, which will probably be a lot easier now that the initial resistance barrier has been broken.

What about you? How good are you at consistency? In which areas of your life do you find it easier to stay consistent, and in which ones it´s more difficult? What motivates you to get started even on days when you don´t feel like it?

Let´s remember the words of Pablo Picasso, referencing the arts in this case, but applicable to any goal or objective in life:

Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.

Pablo Picasso

Fishes and trees

Today, I´m bringing you a nice little phrase for reflection; it´s the quote I told you about last week:

Everybody is a genius.
But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree,
it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

Close up of a clown fish over a blurry water background

What comes to mind when you read this phrase? Do you agree? Does it resonate with you?

We all have certain things we´re naturally very good at, and then other things at which we´re not that good. But how much do we value those natural talents and abilities? Do we appreciate them? Do we work on making the most of them, or do we underestimate them, thinking they don´t have any merit, or they´re not useful?

As we already know, education has traditionally focused almost exclusively on one type of intelligence, the one that could be measured through IQ (Intelligence Quotient). But thankfully, the fact that intelligence is not one but many is getting more and more recognized, and different classifications have come up, for example the theory of multiple intelligences by Howard Gardner:

  • Linguistic intelligence: the ability to master language (oral, written, non verbal) and communicate with others.
  • Logical-mathematical intelligence: the ability to reason logically and resolve mathematical problems
  • Visual-spatial intelligence: the ability to observe the world and its objects from different perspectives.
  • Musical intelligence: the ability to distinguish sounds, rhythms and musical tones, as well as compose and interpret music.
  • Bodily-kinaesthetic: the ability to coordinate our body movements, and also to use tools.
  • Intrapersonal intelligence: the ability to understand and manage our internal states, emotions and focus of attention.
  • Interpersonal intelligence: the ability to grasp and interpret what other people convey to us and empathize with them.
  • Naturalistic intelligence: the ability to relate to our natural environment – animal and vegetal species, weather events, geographical events and nature phenomena

This list is an example of the many talents and skills humans have, each of us in our unique and irreplaceable combination, from which we can contribute to the world in different ways. The problem arises when we stubbornly apply the same measurement to everybody, especially if we only go by what society decides as the talents that "count".

What about you? What are you really good at, and what are you not that good at? Have you ever judged somebody (or yourself) according to the wrong criteria? Which talent, skill or intelligence was there and you didn´t get to see it or value at the time? And what could you do to give it its value and develop it?

True or false?

Something interesting happened to me a few days ago: I was in a training course and saw a slide with a quote by Einstein that I thought was really cool, so I decided to publish it on Instagram. I wrote a post with the quote in English, and another one with the Spanish translation. Everything OK up to this point.

Two minutes later, I got a message from Instagram saying that I had published false information (according to their "independent fact checkers"), that they had added a notice to my post warning viewers about the content not being true, and that my account was at risk of being disabled for monetization.

All of this because apparently, Einstein was not the author of that quote...

Paper card pinned to a cork board, with two handwritten checkboxes: TRUE and FALSE

I was a bit shocked, to be honest. I quickly rewrote the post, including the quote without mentioning the author. Once again, Instagram notified me that they had added a notice to my post because it was very similar to another one they´d already labelled as false. At least this time I could see an option to request a manual review, so I requested it; I´m curious to see their reply.

The thing is, I have mixed feelings about this topic; on the one hand, I´m glad that there´s some level of fact-checking being done, though on the other hand, I wonder how effective it may be beyond checking authorship for specific texts (by the way, all this happened with the post I wrote in English; the Spanish version got published without any issues). But mainly, I was really upset that they accused me of lying! Me, lying? It was all a misunderstanding!

Well, when I got to reflect on it a bit more afterwards, I remembered something else they told me at the same training course: regarding moral issues, like lying for example, when someone does something that´s wrong we tend to think it´s because they´re a bad person, while when we are the ones doing something wrong, we believe it´s justified given the circumstances.

In short, we believe we are in possession of the truth, and everyone else is mistaken.

We forget that there are very few absolute truths in this world, if any. We believe we objectively know the facts, but what we´re really doing is interpreting them in our own way, filtering the perceptions we receive from our senses according to our own beliefs and assumptions.

And here´s where it´s good to remember the words of Ramón de Campoamor; words that I was lucky to double-check in Google before making another mistake, as I was convinced they were by Calderón de la Barca 🙂

In this traitorous world
nothing is true or false:
everything is according to the colour
of the glass with which one looks.

Ramón de Campoamor

This whole thing about there not being anything true or false may be a bit frustrating, because our brain prefers categorical answers: good or bad, right or wrong, black or white. But in reality, it gives us a great deal of freedom; it gives us a whole colour palette to choose from. Both the great wise men of old times and our modern psychologists explain to us that in the majority of cases, our problems are not caused by the things that happen to us, but by the way we interpret them; the main cause of our suffering are the stories we tell ourselves about the things that happen to us. ¿What if we told ourselves a different story?

That´s the good news: once we realize that truth is very often a matter of points of view, and that it´s not THE truth but MY truth that I get to see, then our map of possibilities increases exponentially, and we can allow ourselves to reinterpret those situations in ways that help us, instead of making us suffer.

So, next time you´re faced with a situation that makes you feel angry, frustrated or sad, I encourage you to ask yourself what other versions of "the truth" can exist that are different from yours. What are you assuming? What other perspectives are you not seeing? What meaning are you attaching to that situation that it doesn´t really have, or doesn´t need to have? What other meaning could you find for it?

By the way, the quote in question deserves a post of its own; it´s on Instagram, and it´s true that I published it without double-checking whether it was by Einstein or not (lesson learned).

Rearview mirror

Today I got a question about the differences between going through a coaching process and visiting a psychologist, and I thought this would be an interesting topic to comment on here. When talking about professions dedicated to help and support, some terms are often confused or blurred, so I would like to explain the main difference as I see it, based on my own experience and what I´ve read and heard from experts, without getting into too much detail or pretending to be in possession of the truth (as I´m not a psychologist).

My understanding is that clinical psychology (or psychotherapy) is mostly focused on analyzing events that happened in the past, especially when involving traumas or disorders, so that the wounds created at that time can heal. In contrast, in coaching we work with the healthy side of the person (and the vast majority of us are healthy, just a bit confused as we walk through life).

Coaching focuses mostly on the present and future: where the person currently is, where they want to go, and how they can make progress to get closer to their goal. We only look back occasionally, and when we do, it´s with the purpose of recovering resources that the person already has and have worked well for them in the past, to see how they can be applied to this new challenge they´re now facing.

This was explained to me using the metaphor of a car, where the windshield is big and wide and lets us see everything that´s in front of us, while the rearview mirrors are much smaller. We can briefly look back when we need to, but the most important thing is to look ahead, and move forward..

Close up of a car rearview mirror with an empty street in the background, during the day. The mirror reflects the side of the car, and a person inside taking a picture with a camera

But that doesn´t mean that coaching can only happen at a superficial level; quite the opposite. Along the way, provided that the person takes ownership of their process and stays open to digging deep, they will come to realize many things about themselves, and about whatever is really preventing them from making progress in their desired direction, or at the pace they would like. This is not something that happens overnight, it requires a process: first, becoming aware of what's happening to them, and then doing the necessary work to change that situation, knowing that there will be ups and downs as they follow the path, and that the greatest value is not in achieving your goal fast, but in learning and evolving along the way.

Having said all this, I'd like to share a coaching exercise that I often use that looks back at the past in the way I've just explained. It's based on the fact that, when facing a new challenge, we often lack confidence that we´ll be able to achieve it, forgetting we've already achieved a considerable amount of other things in life. We get achievement amnesia. So, the exercise is precisely about remembering them, writing down an achievements list:

  • Get pen and paper, and dedicate three minutes to writing down everything you can think of that you have achieved in life. The more things the better, it doesn't matter if they're big or small: from learning to walk or drive to giving birth to a baby, getting a job, moving houses or cooking a nice Spanish omelette (which is somthing I truly admire, because I'm not good at it at all 🙂).
  • Once time is up, dedicate another three minutes to writing the skills, abilities and talents that you have and that have enabled to you achieve all these accomplishments.
  • Then read out loud your achievements list, together with the list of skills, abilities and talents, and realize how much you can achieve when you set your mind to it.

This exercise also works very well in pairs, where one person writes down what the other person is listing out loud. Limiting the time helps to come up with lots of ideas very quickly, instead of looking for big achievements and overthinking the whole thing. We're not looking for perfection or excellence: we're looking for quantity, a variety of situations that we were able to overcome, goals that we were able to achieve, and of which we can feel proud 🙂

What about you? What do you feel proud of when you look in your life's rearview mirror?


What thoughts appear in your head when you hear the word "success"?

In my case, up until relatively recently, I always had the feeling that success was something out of my league, and that it was for other people, not for me. The things I did were ordinary, not extraordinary, and therefore, there was nothing I could think of that I had achieved and could be considered a success.

Photo taken at dawn - dark silhouette of a person standing on top of a rock, with their arms extended in victory, against the blue and pink sky

I remember how I used to hate it when I heard that cliché question: "what does success look like?", because I was never able to answer it. I didn´t have a clue.

These days, after years of learning about personal growth, at least I get to understand the question. It´s all about visualizing the result.

This concept is widely used in coaching: the first step is always to define a goal, and objective, something you want to achieve. But, how will you know that you have achieved it? What is that new situation that you´re so looking forward to? What will you see, what will you hear, what will you feel when that moment arrives? The more details, the better.

This is important for two reasons: first, because the better defined our desired state is, the easier it will be to achieve it (or at least, to get closer to it), as we will be giving clear instructions to our brain about what we´re looking for. And second, because each person has their own values, their own priorities and their own way of understanding life, and all those factors have (or should have) a massive impact on the kind of results we want to achieve, and also in how we value those results.

So, for each specific situation we get to work on, it´s good to think through what it is that we´re really aiming to achieve, keeping in mind that we may need to dig a little deeper to get to the truth: how will I benefit from achieving this goal? How far do I need to get to consider myself successful at it? And where does that measurement come from? Who sets the standard? Am I doing something that´s truly important to me, or am I trying to fulfil expectations?

Which brings me to today´s quote, and once again, it sounds to me much better in English than in Spanish; hopefully my loose translation will be understood by Spanish speaking folks:

Success isn’t about how your life looks to others. It’s about how it feels to you.

Michelle Obama

What about you? What does success mean to you, at this particular point in your life?

Taking the initiative

How good are you at taking the initiative, especially regarding big life decisions? Are you one of those who "make things happen", or do you tend to let things happen to you?

Wooden scrabble-like pieces forming the phrase "MAKE STUFF HAPPEN"

I´m bringing this up because I´ve had a few conversations about big life decisions in the last few weeks, specifically around moving to another country. On the one hand, two good friends I met shortly after moving to Ireland are now getting ready to move back to Spain, and talking to them made me think about my own future, and consider where I´d like to live in the short, medium and long term. And on the other hand, this week I welcomed a family friend who just made the opposite move, from Spain to Ireland. His excitement and openness to living new experiences made me remember my first few years here, the tremendous impact moving had on me, and how I got to progressively forge a new life as years went by.

To answer my own question: I always considered myself a person with little initiative, relatively speaking: many of my big life changes have been either a shared decision with a little push from other people (like coming to live and work in Ireland) or decisions made by others (like my separation and divorce). But now, looking back, I realize that I´ve also made big decisions by myself. The determination to carry on with my life in Ireland when my world came crashing down around me was probably my first big decision on my own, the first time I truly took the initiative.

The first of many.

Sometimes, life gives us a little push so that we know it´s time to take ownership. The trick is to stay alert, learn to welcome what life brings to us, and trust that that´s what we need to continue to grow.

So, in line with that idea, here are a couple of quotes plus an extra bonus quote. The first one comes to us from the wisdom of stoicism:

The willing, Destiny guides them. The unwilling, Destiny drags them.


This phrase was explained to me at the time using the metaphor of a dog tied to a moving cart. The dog has two options: he can keep up with the pace, trotting happily along with the cart, or struggle to resist, trying to slow down or change direction, and ultimately getting hurt, as he gets dragged by the cart anyway.

The second one is a beautiful wordplay:

There is a time to let things happen, and a time to make things happen.

Hugh Prather

As I read this, what comes to my mind is: how can I know when it´s time for one thing or the other? I would say it´s a question of figuring out our usual strategy, and whether it works for us in certain specific situations. What do we find most difficult, the doing or the not doing? Would it make sense to adjust?

And the third one, from the same author, closes the cycle:

Just when I think I have learned the way to live, life changes.

Hugh Prather