We are all connected. Nothing exists in isolation. Yet so many revolutionaries end up on a lonely path, jaded from the knock-backs, let-downs and battle-scars, convinced that this thing that is ready to burst out of their soul must stand alone. But the problem with that lonely path is that it skews your reality.
I’ve walked that lonely path and experienced that skewed reality. I’d reached a point where I was so focused, so single-minded and blinkered in my approach, that it no longer bothered me that we couldn’t get the backing for our revolution, or build the team we needed, because I was going to change the world, by myself, if it killed me. I truly believed that my life was a self-contained book – a story written in its own right.
But that belief – that my life was a self-contained book – was arrogant.
The day I realised just how arrogant that belief was, I found myself deeply, deeply humbled. That day, I realised that, while taken in isolation my life is a self contained story, life cannot, and does not, exist in isolation. I realised that, taken in a cosmic context, not only is my life not a book in its own right, it isn’t even a chapter in a book. In fact, it isn’t even a page in a chapter – not even a paragraph on a page, or a sentence in a paragraph, or even a word in a sentence.
My life is merely a syllable.
Now, here’s the thing with syllables – taken in isolation, they are meaningless and, in the context of the whole – a word, or a sentence – they are often imperceptible. Yet, as seemingly insignificant or imperceptible as a syllable may appear, they are vital to the meaning of the word, the sentence, and the story.
Syllables give, and receive, meaning from what lies either side of them.
Try this: imagine that you are a syllable – the syllable ‘tho’. On its own, ‘tho’ seems pretty insignificant, right, and pretty meaningless, too.
Now imagine the sentence ‘he was thorough in all he did’.
You see yourself in there? Look hard. In the context of the whole – the sentence – ‘tho’ is hard to spot – just three letters among 23, one syllable among eight, virtually imperceptible.
But what if you – ‘tho’ – decided not to take your place in the story, to walk away from the sentence and take the lonely path?
If you decided not to take your place in the story, the sentence would read quite differently. Instead of ‘he was thorough in all he did’, it would read ‘he was rough in all he did’. Wow. By not taking your place in the story you just took the sentence you could have been a part of and turned it on its head.
So, you see, ‘tho’ (that’s you) may only be three small letters, one tiny syllable, but it has the potential to have one huge effect.
You know, we are all just syllables, and we all have a choice – to take our place in a story that is way bigger than we are, or to blaze a trail alone. But here’s the thing: inside the story, you can be many things – you can be thorough, or thoughtful, or even thoroughbred; but, outside the story, you will only ever be ‘tho’.
Inside the story you bring meaning to what lies either side of you, and take meaning from that which bumps against you. Outside the story you have no meaning at all. Inside the story, you are part of a bigger whole. Outside the story, you are simply three letters that sit next to each other.
You were meant to blaze your own trail, to create your own life, to be the person you were meant to be. But you were never meant to do that alone. No, you were meant to take your place in, bring meaning to, and take meaning from, the greatest story ever written – the unfolding story of life.
But, whether you choose to take your place, or to walk alone, rest assured that, with or without you, the story – this adventure that is life – will be written.
So what do you choose? Will you take your place in an amazing, unfolding adventure that is eager to welcome you, or will you walk alone?