Will You Recognize Your Special Moment When it Comes?
To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour.
This quote is often attributed to Winston Churchill (tangent alert: it probably wasn’t written or said by Churchill. The tip-off is the use of the singular “they,” “them” and “their,” which an Englishman of his education would have never used.) Well, whoever wrote it, it’s a beautiful sentiment and one worth pondering: will you be ready for your special moment? Or will you sleep through that spiritual tap on the shoulder? Below are some tips on how to prepare yourself for your life’s purpose.
1. Put your brain on a strict training regimen. Do brain teaser puzzles. Teach a class. Take up a new sport or physical activity. Learn something new on a continual basis — a new musical instrument, for instance. Learn a new language, skill or hobby.
2. Be intentional about feeding your mind. Read, watch and listen to inspirational, invigorating, challenging material. Make it a point to learn something new every day, even if it’s just a word in another language. Visit art galleries, museums and theaters. Plan to go somewhere you’ve never gone before on a regular basis.
3. Be curious. Really look at and see the world around you. Every once in a while, just stop, look around and ask “why?” “How?” or best of all, “What if?” Ask searching questions of people and then really listen to their answers.
4. Turn problems and challenges on their head. View them as opportunities to be creative. Many of the world’s most innovative creations came about accidentally. Velcro’s inventor came up with the idea after going for a walk with his dog and studying the burs that coated the dog’s legs. Microwave ovens were the result of a scientist’s candy bar melting in his pocket.
5. Plan take time just to think. Leave your cell phone, your laptop and your iPad home (yes, your iPod too, or whatever mp3 player you use). Take a pen and a notebook and jot down thoughts, ideas and questions as they come. Schedule your thinking time just as you would an important meeting or a dentist appointment. Make note of questions and ideas that come to mind, as well as problems and challenges you face, to ruminate on during your thinking time. If you have scheduled think time, you’re less likely to be distracted from things that need your full attention.
6. Remember that notebook and pen I just mentioned? Carry it around with you all the time so you’ll be ready to capture creative ideas when they appear. You never know when you might have a brilliant idea or hear something you’d like to further explore. Leonardo da Vinci kept a journal of his ideas, which still inspire artists and inventors today and are priceless. Jimi Hendrix used to carry his guitar with him wherever he went, so that when a song came to mind, he wouldn’t lose the idea.
If you keep your mind agile, practice creativity and remain open to spiritual nudges, you’ll be ready when your moment comes — instead of not recognizing it when it comes.