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Dissecting A Quote
Exploring the power of the words.
I love quotes and the power they have to wake us up, jolt us into seeing things in a new light, and guide us toward our potential.
Today I am starting a new series to harness the energy quotes hold. I will reflect deeper on a quote that has my attention, hoping it will move you as it has moved me. Let’s uncover the insights in a quote so we can use it to shine a light on our path forward toward our potential.
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Ok, enough explanation, now on to the post!
Dissecting A Quote
Words are powerful.
They can make us feel loved and feel sad. They can heal us and can also take us from being stuck in life to opening up the world for us.
Where once we felt small, through words, we feel expansive.
Where once our future looked bleak, through words, our potential feels limitless.
Where once our path seemed dark, through words, each step we take lights up our way forward. This is why I love a good quote because of the power it has to uplift us.
I love collecting quotes that move me, give me hope, or make me stop and think. But I especially love those mind-altering quotes that break through my limiting beliefs and help me see myself and the world in a new light. It's like a door that was locked for a long time, and I assumed it never went anywhere, so I never bothered even to open it.
I recently came across a quote with the power to open one of those closed doors that, once opened, will remove the layers of doubt, fear, anxiety, and uncertainty that we may have taken on and help us live a life that is real and aligned with our core values.
The quote that has grabbed my attention is by Charles F. Glassman, MD, a retired doctor known as Coach MD, who now helps people tap into their innate abilities to live extraordinary lives.
I will break down each part below and provide my thoughts on what it means.
The way I see it, our natural human instinct is to fight or flee that which we perceive to be dangerous. Although this mechanism evolved to protect us, it serves as the single greatest limiting process to our growth. To put this process in perspective and not let it rule my life, I expect the unexpected; make the unfamiliar familiar; make the unknown known; make the uncomfortable comfortable; believe the unbelievable.
— Charles F. Glassman
Let's break down this quote:
“The way I see it, our natural human instinct is to fight or flee that which we perceive to be dangerous. Although this mechanism evolved to protect us, it serves as the single greatest limiting process to our growth.”
Our natural instinct to run away from danger is powerful enough to keep us in our comfort zone forever. Left unchecked, it keeps us playing small and afraid to take risks for fear of failure and not wanting to hurt our ego.
As I think back to my own journey, I see this fear brought a lot of inner struggle. I wanted to be a good designer, communicator, leader, and teammate, but the stories I was telling myself were keeping me down and far away from my goals in work and life.
I would fall into the same mental traps and stories over and over again because I believed them to be true. I would keep telling myself I was not a good designer because I didn't get a degree or because I didn't have enough training or wasn't worthy enough to be a designer; the stories and excuses went on and on. Ultimately, I would run away from any opportunity to get out of my comfort zone. Once I stopped believing those stories and decided to move towards my goals no matter what, their grip on me slowly loosened, and work and life became much more enjoyable.
“To put this process in perspective and not let it rule my life, I expect the unexpected; make the unfamiliar familiar; make the unknown known; make the uncomfortable comfortable; believe the unbelievable.”
As I read the words, "To put this process in perspective and not let it rule my life," I realized we have the agency to live the life we want instead of letting our stray thoughts and limiting beliefs dictate our lives. We don't need to flee from challenging situations; we can choose to show up and be brave. We don't need to fall into stories that keep us down. We don't need to do things just because that's how we have always done it. Sure, there are things that are out of our control, but we own our actions. We don't need to believe the thoughts that don't align with our values.
We have a choice in the matter and choose to fight instead of flee.
We have a choice!
The next sentence of the quote is powerful, so let's dissect the parts one by one.
“I expect the unexpected;”
This means that I am open to change and flexible in each moment that presents itself, trying not to let the situation get the better of me. Some days are better than others, but the goal is as Bruce Lee once said,
“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.
Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”*
Just as water is free from expectation and flows howerver it needs to in each moment, we can also expect the unexpected and go with the flow to bend, twist, and turn, and remove any rigidity of our egos that can keep us enclosed in our unhelpful ways.”
- Bruce Lee
“make the unfamiliar familiar;”
When we come across a new idea or a concept we don't know, we may push it away and close ourselves off from it. We may choose the comfort of the familiar at the expense of the unfamiliar.
How are we to learn and grow if we push away new ideas?
How are we to become better at what we do if we stick to the same old ways?
How can we enjoy life's wonders and beauty if we only want what is familiar to us right now?
Unfortunately, we see this play out every day. Our minds make the unfamiliar scary, no matter if it's a person, group of people, culture, idea, country, identity, or way of life, because it is unfamiliar to us. But it doesn't have to be this way. Once we become familiar with something, we know it becomes less intimidating, scary, and less fearful. By learning about unfamiliar things, we open up a new avenue for us to grow and become more human and connect with our universal humanity.
“make the unknown known;”
We limit our growth when we decide something is beyond our abilities because it is new and unknown. Something that is unknown to us will always stay unknown if we don't put in the effort and try to learn about it. By pushing the unknown away, it will always be a mystery, and we will lose the potential it brings for our growth.
There could be many reasons we don't want to learn about something that is new to us. We may be scared to fail. We may be scared to look foolish trying. We may have been influenced by others. We may have an image of perfection we want to portray, so being new at something could shatter that projection, but what if we looked at the unknown as a stepping stone to increasing our knowledge, our craft, and our abilities? The satisfaction of making the unknown known is a reward, and the more we practice it, the less scary life becomes; instead, we seek out the unknowns to live a more enriched and fulfilling life.
“make the uncomfortable comfortable;”
I used to cringe at the thought of speaking in front of people. I would do anything not to go through the embarrassment of fumbling my words and sweating profusely in front of others. This was terrifyingly uncomfortable for me, but I knew if I wanted to become a better designer, I had to get over my fears and become comfortable with speaking in front of strangers, so I made it my quest to get better at speaking in front of people and taking every opportunity to improve, instead of turning away from the uncomfortable feelings what if we move towards them to find the opportunity they bring.
It's about taking a step forward instead of freezing out of fear or taking a step back.
It's about taking a step forward to face the challenges head-on that will come your way.
It's about taking a step forward toward your goals and dreams so you can live life on your terms, unencumbered by your limiting beliefs.
“believe the unbelievable.”
By letting go of our assumptions, presumptions, and expertise, we can approach life with a beginner's mind so we can see everything from a fresh perspective. When we open up to new ideas, we are also able to find creative solutions to the challenges we face. This means putting our ego, pride, education, and past experiences aside so we can take in ideas and enable new connections to be made and live a life full of curiosity and creativity.
I hope you also see the power in the words of this quote as I do and take a moment to think deeply about the empowering message it brings.
Why not reflect on your own life journey and identify an area where you can apply the lessons learned from this quote and see how it feels to break free from the limiting beliefs that hold us back and open up to a world full of wonder, delight, and infinite possibilities?
👉🏽 Your turn: Share a quote that moves you and makes you see things in a new light.
Big shout out and thank you towho writes for recommending the Low Fidelity newsletter. You rock! 💜