I’ve given a lot of thought to the idea the title of this piece is about. Events in one’s life seem to point to a specific direction or an end point that we simply don’t know about until, well, the end. If we follow the bread crumbs back to their origin, and if we’re open minded enough, we can make the connections all the way back to the beginning. It’s a sort of mind map effect where everything seems to connect to one central point. This is not intended to be a religious writing, but after fleshing this whole thing out in my head, it very well may be.
The skeptics might reason that it’s all little more than conjecture, this string of events leading to an inevitable conclusion, and they might be right. I’ve learned over the years that despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, people will still hold on to whatever they believe the truth is…we’re stubborn like that, maybe more stubborn than a mule. What were the words Voltaire uttered? Oh, yes: “It is difficult to free folks from the chains they revere.” I would go so far as to say ‘well neigh impossible’.
Leaving this fundamental truth about human nature aside for a moment, let us assume we all are open to ideas and willingly embrace the conclusions of overwhelming evidence…if nothing else, for the sake of the holiday season. Now, take a thread from your life…any thread. Could be where you are in your professional life; maybe your personal life, or maybe a hundred other maybes.
Trace one of the ‘maybes’ back as far as you can take it. What do you see? A moment, a decision, a flash in which taking a different route may have taken you in a different direction. There is nothing revelatory about this for we face forks in the road on a daily basis. Turning left rather than turning right leads us into a dirt road where a recent rainstorm washed out said road and we are stuck in a mud puddle spinning our wheels trying to get out. That’s not what I’m talking about.
People you meet, a chance conversation, an accidental meeting that led to a contact that eventually turned into a job, that’s what I’m talking about. That almost random ‘chance’ that may not have been so much ‘chance’ nor ‘random’.
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale used to speak quite a bit about our subconscious in his book The Power of Positive Thinking and just how powerful that subconscious really is. His preferred method was to choose a goal and write that goal down on ten 3×5 cards. Then, tuck those ten cards into your breast pocket, purse, or what have you. A few times a day, take out the ten cards and read your goal…ten times. If you did that five random times a day, you’d have read your goal fifty times. Do that for a week and you’d have read your goal three hundred and fifty times…in one week.
The idea was to plant that goal so firmly in your subconscious that even when you weren’t thinking about it, you were. Subconsciously, your mind would direct you toward activities that would lead to achieving your goal. It doesn’t happen overnight, or even in a month, but over the course of time, it does. I’m reminded of the stock market with his approach. It’s not the massive windfall because of one stock pick that matters, but the long, slow investment over time that is the real key to long term wealth. So many don’t understand that, thinking that the ONE pick will get them all the riches they need when, in fact, it’s the steady drip that does the trick over the long haul.
It’s the same with achieving one’s goals, and I submit that choosing that goal, whatever it is, concentrating on that goal, whatever it is, will pay off in the long run. Now, one can choose outlandish goals that make fun of this supposition, such as “my goal is to go to Mars and start a colony,” and when it doesn’t come true, trash the idea presented here, or one can choose realistic goals and see if what I’m saying has merit. It’s up to you, the reader.
I’ve examined many aspects of my life with regard to the above supposition. I’ve actually followed the principal of positive thinking when it came to achieving goals, and I can tell you it works. I’ve followed the bread crumbs of things I’ve accomplished in my life…and I don’t believe what I’ve been able to accomplish is random chance. There’s too much evidence to the contrary for me to believe that. Now, I can attribute it to my subconscious, where some people thing God lives, or I can contribute it to the power of positive thinking. Maybe it’s both. I don’t know. What I do know is that I’ve come to the conclusion that none of it is an accident. It is design, be it divine or otherwise. I’ll take it, and I’ll thank God for it.