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He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe.

Marcus Aurelius

What is Marcus Aurelius talking about? If you’ve ever read his book Meditations, it is easy to figure out. He is referring to aligning ourselves with our deepest values.

I read a few books each year in December. One of these books is called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In this book, the focus is on a principle-centered approach to life. This principle is about character.

To be integrated or in harmony with our true self is nothing more than keeping the promises we make with ourselves. If we commit to doing something, we do it. If we commit to doing something and we don’t do that thing we are no longer in harmony with ourselves. This is the primary cause of trouble in our lives.

I have a saying. It is: “The moment you cannot make yourself do something you have committed to doing, is the moment you lose faith in yourself.” No one can live with a liar. This includes living with yourself.

Each time you lie to yourself, you lose faith in your ability to accomplish things. You begin to distrust yourself and begin believing that you cannot do anything, because you cannot keep commitments you make to yourself and others. Keep doing this and you will end up in a place no one wants to be.

Is it hard to keep commitments? Of course. It is not impossible, however. Set a goal or make an agreement with yourself and keep the promise. The more you do this the more confidence you will build in yourself. The more confidence you have, the more you will agree to do. On one side of this equation we grow; on the other we recede or decrease. I think most of us are on a continuum of sorts. We keep a promise here; we lie to ourself there.

So what do we do? We can set small goals initially. Goals that we know we can accomplish. Then, as our confidence builds, we add to them. They get bigger and bigger as we build up a foundation of keeping promises.

What happens when we miss a goal? If we made a real effort, our center knows. We get into trouble when we don’t put an effort into something we committed to. So set a goal, give it your best shot, and do the very best you can. If you fail, learn from your failure, adjust, and continue. If you win, set another goal and repeat. Trying and failing is not a lie. A lie is when you commit to do something and you either don’t do it at all or give it less than you know you can. Get it?

As always, I wish all of you a terrific Wednesday!

Until next time…

Dave