You are the master of your life. By master, I refer to the idea of a martial arts master. A martial arts master is a person who has practiced an art form to the point of reverence by others. They are teachers who do not stop learning. Masters are those individuals who have such a range of experience, they are able to help those learning the arts no matter what level of experience they have. It is not that they know everything. On the contrary, they have learned how much they do not know despite knowing a great deal and thus focus on continual learning for the rest of their lives.
Relative to the biz of you, you are the are the master of what you do. This does not mean you need not acquire new skills or have nothing to learn from others. There is always something to learn. As Master Moy Lin-Shin once shared, “you should be able to learn tai chi even from someone who doesn’t know tai chi.” It took me decades to allow that wisdom to sink in. Within that statement there is humility, openness, and intent. Humility comes from setting our ego and self aggrandizing thoughts aside. In doing so, we open our mind and spirit to what’s happening presently. This in turn enables us to approach every situation with the intent of learning whether that be about tai chi or whatever else we may be working on in our lives. That statement captures the essence of what it is to be a master.
To be the master of your life and your biz is to recognize how we are not alone. Everyone is managing their biz in a manner appropriate for them. Some manage their lives unconsciously allowing things to be as they may and not controlling shit. Others control to the point of losing the ability to enjoy the randomness in the moment. No matter where we are at along the spectrum of managing our lives, we all have the capacity to become the masters of our biz. All we have to do is remember there is always opportunity for improvement and learning can happen in every moment. We are part of a tapestry of energy and causality woven with threads of intention. What we do with our thread in the tapestry of our lives determines our level of joy or suffering. Pain comes and goes as does success, pleasure, and happiness much of which we have no control over as these ephemeral states are woven amongst the myriad threads around us. Ultimately, neither suffering or joy are necessary for our threads to be woven into the fabric of our particular time or what can be called our personal zeitgeist. Our thread will come to an end and thus we have a decision in this moment whether to steer towards the light or the darkness in our lives. Or as Sirius Black says, “The world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters. We have all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the power we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.” -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Such a lofty concept easily said but difficult to practice. Our thread is pulled this way and that way moment to moment. We are manipulated by big companies and others as our thread has value to others. Specifically, our attention is a commodity to be bought, traded, and sold to the next highest bidder. As most everyone is connecting to the internet, data is the new exchange. Our attention is monitored and directed within our information bubbles. We are led to information algorithms indicate we will like simply following our click through patterns. There’s evidence election campaigns are using our attention and information bubbles to get us to vote a particular way. Consumer good companies use similar tactics to drive up their revenue. The biz of you is about understanding how our attention is one of our primary resources. To manage our biz, we necessarily need to shift our focus away from what we don’t want and towards what serves our purposes and not necessarily what we want in the short term.
Products are engineered to provide solutions to our problems. When we realize we are being manipulated, we blame the companies that offered solutions when it is us that is the problem. We avoid the pain of problem solving (i.e. living) and seek outside solutions. If we truly want to change, it is up to us to embrace our problems and come up with our own solutions to reduce our suffering. Sometimes that may be to use a product but at least we will define the scope of how we use that product and when we get notifications to go back into the digital universe we can simply say to ourselves, “this doesn’t serve my needs at this time” or “that’s unnecessary in my life.” Herein lies the rub of a satisfied thriving life, it is up to us to take responsibility for solving our own damn problems. It’s up to us to turn ourselves from victims to masters of our own life and biz.
So, why not have reverence for your our own lives and seek to learn how we can make things better not just for ourselves but the other threads we are woven together with? Become a master of your own life by opening your heart and mind to learn from anyone even if they are not in your circle or of your nature. Step outside our limited egos by asking questions instead of supposing we have answers. When others ask questions, speak our minds from our own experience. It’s up to each of us to continue learning until the day our thread comes to its end like the end of this line.
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