As I wrote here:
"If you want wisdom, you must commit to purity. If you want clarity of thought and peace, you must remove anything that dirties your mind, body, and soul. We are torn and divided by afflictions of lust for money, power, and sex, by selfishness, by fear, by anger and resentment. If we want to deepen our lives and find a sense of wholeness, we must pursue purity."
How do you make important choices?
When you are uncertain about what decision to make, choose the narrow way.
When you are met with a confounding problem and tempted to compromise, let your highest values guide you.
If you are uncertain about what project to work on, choose the one that creates the most value. This often means saying yes to the steepest, longest road.
The narrow way will be specific to you and your context, and will be based on your convictions. It's the opposite of the taking shortcuts. It looks like showing up, taking responsibility, stepping up and leading regardless of what others are doing, being honest, putting skin in the game, saying no to convenience, and sacrificing to help others.
When you choose the narrow way, it shapes you.
When you choose the difficult path, you grow in skill and resilience.
When you choose the highest values, you become trustworthy.
Instead of thinking of the shortcut and focusing on getting to the outcome tomorrow, focus on what action you can take today and make the next right choice in the direction of the vision of the highest good you can pursue.
This narrow way inevitably means suffering. The narrow way is not easy. It looks like facing depression and doubt, and not letting your overwhelmed feelings sink you. The narrow way often means facing confusion and uncertainty head on, with no guarantees of success. Because the darkness, before the light of dawn, is dark. Denying its darkness is not noble or true. But learning to persevere in uncertainty is a skill that you only learn by walking the path today.
You might not see a difference tomorrow but will head towards meaning if you choose the narrow way today. Your direction, over time, will determine your destination. You may get there, but if you don't, you won't regret the person you've become. Never underestimate the peace that comes with choosing the narrow way. Although pursuing purity requires sacrifice in the short term, it bears the fruit of priceless peace.
"Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine."
Jesus' prayer when facing torture and crucifixion, Luke 22:42
"So the next time you encounter fear, consider yourself lucky. This is where the courage comes in. Usually we think that brave people have no fear. The truth is that they are intimate with fear. When I was first married, my husband said I was one of the bravest people he knew. When I asked him why, he said because I was a complete coward but went ahead and did things anyhow. The trick is to keep exploring and not bail out, even when we find out that something is not what we thought. That's what we're going to discover again and again and again. Nothing is what we thought. I can say that with great confidence."
Chodron, Pema. When Things Fall Apart
"Therefore faithful Christian, seek the truth, listen to the truth, learn the truth, love the truth, speak the truth, adhere to truth and defend truth to the death."
Cited by Thomas Fudge in Jan Hus
How can I make this decision based on my highest values?
What does courage call me to?
What do I need to surrender today?
Friends, I pray for your purity and courage to walk the narrow way.