Sun was high and water blue like in those Instagram stories, just this time no filter was needed. Life was good at the beach.
Aaaah – deep sigh.
I spend my days in the workplace where rapid changes and new type education for humanity is being created on x1.9 speed like someone would have installed an extension to fast-forward. The pace of growth and learning is so swift that, without winter around the corner when things naturally slow down, life feels like on steroids.
Yet the beach with it’s rewarding tropic life is accessible within the arm’s reach to slow down and reflect. Create the pattern interrupt.
And I couldn’t stop counting my blessings. On a tiny Malaysian island, surrounded by tourists and digital nomads, I smiled to myself – this is not an escape. Not a holiday. This is my life. The duality of a highway to massive impact and a slow luring life under the palm tree, with a coconut at hand and a book at my sandy lap. Both of these were the life I CHOSE.
2 years ago back in Lithuania I had been running a massive project for 4 k people – an educational festival for schoolchildren. And while this was already insane, we managed to grow then audience to 6 k the following year. While all was good, my curve of professional growth was approaching a plateau. Yet I wanted to be on a treadmill of personal and professional growth and for that I needed to surround myself with people smarter than myself. Who read. Who invent. Who act. On top of that I needed flexibility to travel and space to explore. Mindvalley sounded like the best place for that. Malaysia came in a package. As well as the coconut trees and easily accessible most beautiful diving spaces in the world.
So this is how I found my way to the Kapas beach. And while I was reflecting about the life I had been pursuing with my head pointed at the clouds, a broken bridge at the corner of a beach attracted my attention.
You see, Kapas, the small 22 square km island, has it’s beaches separated by rocks and antique bridges over the top of it as a mean of connection. And this particular one was broken. So one has to get off the stairs and go under it, around the rocks to reach the next beach. This is how I got there.
While I was floating in the depth of blueness, there were around 30 muslim women approaching the bridge, covered in scarfs, full-body swimming suits and diving vests they were aiming to get to the other side. While I was waiting for them to realise it is a dead end and go around the cliff, something extraordinary happened – they started climbing down the broken bridge and the cliff that had been holding it!
Boy it was dangerous!
The edge was high and steep and one had to risk its’ body to be severely bruised if not worse. Yet they were climbing. A few of them later found the way through the sea and excelled but – shockingly enough – even then the absolute majority did not follow. It took them a good 40 minutes to get to the other beach, that I or the other tourists did in three.
You could call them stupid. And this is what I was tempted to do. Label. Yet, the women teach us a great lesson.
First, you have to know where you want to go. Or the direction of it.
Then, you need to know HOW you want to get there. What’s important to you. Based on what are you choosing your road.
If these women sought thrilling adventure and a challenge then they have chosen the perfect way to accomplish this criteria. Yet, it seemed like they just wanted to snorkel and get there as soon as possible, given how hot they must have been in their clothing. So going around the cliff would have served the purpose way better, nevertheless they ended up risking to get hurt and spending 10 x more time on the way.
All of them were following the leader. Or maybe the crowd was the leader itself.
Isn’t how must people live their lives? Following someone they trust. Usually, the societal norms and traditions. Blindly.
Still, all it takes is to sit down and talk to the smartest person you know. YOU.
It does not come easy, though, I know I know. Used to constant noise as we are, sitting in a full intimacy, listening to the palette of own feelings might be a challenging thing to do, especially given the inner voice, which yells:
“YOU ARE NOT ENOUGH”
“WHO ARE YOU to create/lead/achieve/accomplish/…?
Imagine a little naked child on a street. When you saw him, would you spit him to the eye or offer a shelter?
Right, so why do we spit and yell at your inner child that’s hurt? All (s)he needs is acceptance be befriended.
So sit down with that inner child of yours and have a conversation:
“So where is that you want to get?
What do you want to see on the way?
Do you want an easy and slow road or fast but dangerous yet rewarding?
Whom do you need to befriend on the way to get there easier/faster?”
Without ever addressing these questions, you’re risking a misalignment. Like the snorkelling women over the bridge. Their goal and means of getting there were not aligned.
When I chose to move to Malaysia, I did not know my destination either. I was ok to be on a constant journey led by curiosity to my goals. Yet, the HOWs were more important to me. I wanted the smart people around me. I wanted to be challenged to create impact every single day. I wanted to be rewarded by adventure and experiences such as the chance to chill in the bluest tropical beaches all year long.
Believe me, if I did not sit to reflect and talk to myself, evaluate that Mindvalley x1.9 speed of operation was needed for me to rapidly learn about the organisational culture and team dynamics, about happiness at work, it would be equal to climbing the broken bridge without the purpose. Yet I assessed that in this period of life, getting bruised is worth the experience created on the way.
I had not been a back vocal in the chorus of the crowd. I was the voice.
So when you sit down to defy the odds, set some HEART goals (offered by the mastermind Jim Kwik:
Healthy – your goals should contribute to your overall wellbeing – physical and emotional.
Enduring – your goals should be sustainable and change you over time, as you build a future version of yourself and your life.
Alluring – you shouldn’t have to push yourself to work on your goals. They should be so exciting, enticing and engaging that you’re pulled toward them.
Relevant – your goals should relate to a challenge you’re having or your core values (yup, another thing to define first)
True – Don’t set a goal just because your high school sweetheart is doing it, or because you think you should do it. Make sure your goal is something you want, something that remains true to you, so there is no space for procrastination or self -sabotage.
The bridge story is about the “T” in HEART goals. Take some time to re-evaluate which direction you want to head and whether you’re taking the smartest way available to you. There are no bad goals and no wrong ways to get there, remember. Just going through an uncomfortable conversation with yourself can save you some time and get you there faster. Have a great journey and enjoy the ride!