“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” – E. B. White
Does it have to be a choice? Can we improve the world by enjoying the world? Can we enjoy the world by improving the world? Let’s say, for the sake of the conversation, that the “world” we’re talking about is us.
Can we improve ourselves by enjoying ourselves? That would mean we would recognize in the present moment all of the value that it actually holds rather than the value we are willing to see. It might also mean that we would love learning, change, discomfort and vulnerability. Not that we would tolerate it but that we would love it so much we would actively seek it out.
Can we enjoy ourselves by improving ourselves? That would mean we would employ our expanded capacity to be more effective in the face of challenges that once might have daunted us. That would mean reaping the fruits of our learning and bathing in the swell of satisfaction that comes with new levels of awareness and impact. It would likely also mean that we would be teachers for others, responsible to stay present in the expanding conversation of our influence.
What could it mean to start each day with a trifold intention?
1. The world is me. I am the world. There is only connection.
2. I will be present to all that is, giving it my earnest attention and opening to what it has to teach me.
3. I will relish the vulnerability of learning, seeing it as a promise of what I may become rather than a statement of what I am not.
Since it is all bound together there is no need to choose. Go ahead and plan your day.
You are the world.
DAVID BERRY is the founder of RULE13 Learning. He writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world, especially the parts where he doesn’t handle it very well. If you enjoyed this post someone else might, too. Please pass it along.