By William Brown
Six years ago, I jumped at the chance to see Dr. Wayne Dyer speak in person at a conference. None of us knew it at the time, but that was one of the last talks he would give right before he passed away a few months later.
I’d been a lifelong fan of Dyer, so I was hanging on his every word, but I remember one concept in particular that he discussed that stuck with me that afternoon that I want to share with you now.
Dyer was talking about how most people, deep down, want to know the answer to the question, “How do I know I’m making the right choices with my life?”
He talked about being inspired. He said if you want to know if you’re on the right track, ask yourself if your direction inspires you. Feel how your answer makes you feel. Take note of it. If the feeling brings you joy, if it lights you up, it’s probably the right answer. If it brings you dread, if it pulls you down, you probably ought not focus on it.
This concept is interesting to me because it implies we all know the right answer all the time. We just have to check in with how we’re feeling. Thumbs up? Go. Thumbs down? No.
Trusting your gut is something that can’t really be explained. We just know when we know. Then we either act accordingly or we don’t. We either live in the joy of following our passions or the melancholy of shirking from the gifts we’ve been given.
Well, how do we find our gifts? What if we don’t know what our gifts are? What if our purpose is unclear? What if we don’t know what we want to do in life?
Mary Oliver, an American poet, asked this question more eloquently than I can when she said, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?”
It’s a fair question to ask anybody at any age. As our lives change, so does our purpose. My answer to this question is very different than my grandson’s answer.
Maybe the answer to Oliver’s question reveals itself when we ask it. When we ask ourselves what are we to do with our one wild and precious life, what continues to inspire us is most likely the answer.
William W. Brown is founder and board chair of Legacy Early College. He can be reached at email@example.com.