In Admiral William McKraven’s book, “Make Your Bed”, the second life lesson he writes about is entitled “You can’t do it alone”. In it, he stresses the importance of leaning on others at certain times. Certainly as we go through our journey of life, it is a journey we ultimately make alone. However, as we make that journey, there are people who enter our lives for good and for ill. It is also certainly the case that no matter how we expect things will go in life, we can be hit with the unexpected.
In his book, Admiral McKraven writes about Navy Seal recruits having to paddle together, helping each other, in order to successfully get to their destination. His message was that you can’t change the world alone. You will need some help along the way. He went on to write that to truly get from your starting point to your destination in life takes the help of friends, colleagues, the good will of strangers or a therapist who you think may be able to help and guide you at pivotal points in your life. These people may be introduced briefly as the result of a chance meeting or someone we have known for a while.
The world as mentioned by Admiral McRaven can also be defined as the world within yourself. It is important to first take care of the world within yourself before you care of others in the world around you. This does not mean that you are selfishly putting yourself first. Rather taking care of yourselves first puts you in a better position of being helpful of others.
Change agents that can help in reaching your destination can come at the most unexpected places and times. The potential help is all around you but you need to be open to the opportunities. Recognizing those persons can be difficult if you are so use to seeing the negative around you that you tune out the possibility of the positive. We tend to gravitate to like thinkers because that is what we are use to. Even positive experiences during the course of your day can become unrecognizable or taken for granted. We tend to miss something only when we lose it.
Make a concerted effort to think about what you want your destination to be. Resist the temptation to tell yourself that you will never make it or that you don’t have what it takes due to the fact you failed so many times in the past. Write down or impress in your mind daily, what you want your destination to be. Next be open to those people you meet in person and /or through inspirational books or articles who reinforce what you want t be. Some may be gentle or forceful in the ways of moving you along down a more fruitful path. Remember that life is a journey when you make many stops along the way. Make sure you get the most out of the stops you make. The ones that bear little or no fruit, distant yourself as quickly as possible and move on to the next stop.