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Killing Our Previous Self

Sacrifice the things you used to believe, and the ways you used to be.
Learning leaves a trail of little deaths.
– Derek Sivers, How To Live

The highest reward for a person’s toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it. – John Ruskin

We all transform into something different. This is the only way, for no matter how much we might embrace the comfort of our current self, it must ultimately die and be cast aside for the person we become by our actions. The question isn’t whether who we once were dies, but rather, who does the killing. Do we move ourselves towards that which we aspire to be, or does the world leave us behind, a shell of our previous self? Don’t let this happen to you friend!

The pandemic killed more than the people who succumbed to COVID-19. It killed what was comfortable and routine for the masses, changing us in profound ways that we might not fully understand. But that death of our former self was going to happen anyway, it only accelerated in the pandemic. Mourn what has passed if you will, but then dust yourself off and ask yourself, what comes next for me?

I mourn the passing of old friendships. People I was once close with who have disappeared down the path of their own lives. But then again, I’ve changed too. Learned new things, built new habits, formed new alliances. Our paths were once parallel and then diverged. Old friends might still gather and celebrate what once was, or look towards a place where we cross paths once again, but ultimately we must keep walking our own path, just as they do. Whatever will be will be. Should we meet again, wouldn’t it be better if we built a great story of how our lives grew in the time we were apart?

Success is not to be pursued; it is to be attracted by the person you become. – Jim Rohn

I celebrate the journey others are on, even as I continue on my own path. We’ll have so much to talk about, should we meet again. Stories about those long-dead former selves transformed into something different. Don’t we owe it to ourselves to make that story greater than what it once was? To learn and grow and follow the path that brings us the most meaning in our lives, and share this greater self with others? That, it seems to me, is what success really is.

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