Just this past Friday I was allowed the opportunity to speak at a college orientation. I spoke in a gymnasium with an audience of about 300 people; new students and parents. Before I go on about the lessons I hoped to convey in that message, let me just say that I never feel so alive as I do when I am fully engaged in speaking to a group of people. I should say, I never feel so alive as I do when I am fully engaged in the moment.
A Zen term known as satori is when you are fully engaged in a specific moment. It is at these times that you find complete release from any stress or anxieties that you feel on a daily basis. You feel peace. And you do not need an auditorium filled with people to reach this state. Most of us experience satori and never realize it. Typically, in the following examples we are focused on the present moment with complete detachment from distraction of the moment. Examples such as: sports, exercise, playing musical instruments, etc. All of these practices can lead to satori.
As I was preparing to speak to this crowd I remembered a story in my own life that I often share. When I was returning to college after being out of school for several years I worked in a gym as a trainer. I was speaking with an older gentleman that I had been training for a while and told him that I was more than confident in every area of study and confident in my decision to return to school. I was confident in every area, with the exception of math. In fact my words to him were, “I hate math.” He looked at me and said, “You’re definitely going to fail the course.” Somewhat stunned by his lack of reciprocating the motivation I would instill in him as his trainer, I stared at him in confusion by his remark. He went on to say, “You’ve already defeated yourself, so you will fail. If you change your thought from, ‘I hate this, to, ‘I’m challenged by this’, you will see a drastically different result.”
Of course he was right, as I began tutoring fellow students in the class that same semester and I now own a company dedicated to tutoring. The thought that came to me as I remembered this story and reflected on my current reality was this, if you change your perspective you change your path. Simply by changing how you see something in your life at this present moment, can and will have a drastic effect on where and what you will be in the future. Had I not decided to alter my view of something I thought that I hated, I would have never found this passion in myself, I may have never even seen a university, and worst of all I would have never had the opportunity to help and guide the students that I have. Seeing my students not only succeed on exams or in certain classes, but go on to accomplish career goals and seeing them helping other students succeed.
Stepping out of our comfort zones is not only necessary but exhilarating. Walking into what we don’t know and having only the control of our legs to keep journeying forward, are requisite for stories of greatness.