WoW 099: On changing course, Meaningful Action, part 6 [Words of Wisdom]

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WoW 099: On changing course, meaningful action, part 6


This episode is part 6 in a series I'm calling Meaningful Action.

Part 1: On practicing awareness in the journey towards goodness

Part 2: On who are you becoming?

Part 3: On wise heroes

Part 4: On the value of virtue

Part 5: On small practices

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When setting out to start something, it is exceedingly valuable to follow your initial excitement, curiosity, and convictions.

The future is unknown which means something you start, whether it be a project, a relationship, a business, or a belief may not end up being as worthwhile as you initially thought.

In fact, the more things you start, the more likely it is that you will hit a dead end.

You must be willing to change plans.

Don’t let your pride prevent you from changing your mind.

Don’t let your fear of what other people might think fortify you against changing course.

Don’t let all of the effort or money you have already put into something keep you from walking away.

Don't let the good keep you from the truly great.

Don’t let your decisions from the past determine what you do today.

It is a prison of foolishness to be unwilling to change your mind.

This often means it is great to start things and not finish them.

While there is certainly value in having the fortitude to preserve and finish what you start, if it is a dead end or needs to die because you now know something you didn’t before, this is progress. And when it comes to creative work, often you will find something you started and then scraped initially just needs more time or a different perspective before you can return to it. So be willing to start things with excitement and then scrap it.

If you learn from the process, accept what you have learned.

Don’t tie your identity to what you do.

This approach fits well with last week's idea to [commit to small practices](link to WoW). It's good to explore your curiosity, commit to small practices, and be willing to abandon them. This collection of mindsets allows you to try new things and not get stuck in an unhelpful rut. Sometimes the new practice will last and sometimes it won't. Stay ​flexible and passionately curious​, and committed to hard work. But remember, having a consistent practice has a compounding growth, so don't abandon something simply because it's rough going.

Your ​time​ is valuable. If something is not the best course of action, then it doesn’t matter how much time it cost you to get to this point, the most valuable thing you can do is free up your time, energy, attention, and money to invest yourself in a new direction.

The key to knowing whether to change course or not is to identify where the problem lies.

You may only need to make small iterative changes to unlock a powerful transformation.

But if the problem lies at the root, cut down the entire tree.


"Mental health, contemporary psychiatrists tell us, consists of the ability to adapt to the inevitable stresses and misfortunes of life. It does not mean freedom from anxiety and depression, but only the ability to cope with these afflictions in a healthy way. “An outstanding feature of successful adaptation,” writes George Vaillant, “is that it leaves the way open for future growth.” Of course, Abraham Lincoln’s capacity for growth would prove enormous."

Doris Kearns Goodwin, Team of Rivals

"Anxiety increases in intensity when a person’s internal narrative is filled with harsh judgments around good and bad, right and wrong. What we say to ourselves influences how we think about ourselves, what we communicate to others, and how much we believe in our competence and worth. Anxiety is further amplified when a person’s internal narrative is overloaded with generalizations—always, never, forever, everything, nothing."

Jill Weber, Be Calm


What is something you are avoiding changing your mind about? What fears do you have if you change course? What is the potential opportunity of changing course?

Looking back, what are you most grateful for that you changed course on? How can you apply what you learned to your current situation?

(Use these questions as a journal prompt and prayers this week)


Don't let limiting beliefs keep you from changing directions in life or changing the narratives that you choose to believe. You likely have far more capacity for growth than you think.

Live wisely,


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