Life is a constant state of transition. Sometimes we don’t even realize that we are growing and transitioning towards something new, something better. My core philosophy centers on constant growth and development. I think of transition like chronic pain. Those who experience chronic pain often don’t realize they are experiencing pain until they take a pill that alleviates pain. When the pain starts again, they then recognize it. So, too, is the experience with transitions. We don’t recognize change until a change takes place. One day, we look back and think to ourselves, “How did I end up here?” These changes are often small and take place over extended periods of time.
The large changes, however, are easier to pinpoint. I happen to be going through a big transition at this point in my life. Regardless of the magnitude of the change, one thing remains the same during transitions for all of us: we can’t do it alone. Just today I sent a text to someone in my network to show her my gratitude for helping a total stranger during a life transition. It amazes me that someone is selfless enough to spend time helping someone they don’t even know. There is a power in knowing people in my life care about me and will always be there to support me through changes. There is a power in being that source of support for those around me. There is a power in interdependency.
I wrote a blog post a while back about a seemingly small interaction I had with a valet. People like valets don’t often receive the thanks they are due. I didn’t have cash on me at the time, but I told the guy I would get back to him because I was grateful for his service. A few months later, I was back in the area for a conference and hunted this guy down. When I approached him with the money and reminded him of our agreement, his whole demeanor changed. His face softened as he looked me in the eye and explained that no one ever took the time to do that. That exchange taught me that there are many people who don’t receive recognition for what they do.
So how does that valet relate to those helping me through transitions now? What does it all mean for society? How can we, as a society, have more meaningful exchanges with others and learn to be interdependent?
The answer is simple. Our task as human beings is to thrive with others. The truths of life are basic knowledge. Cliché statements are nothing new or original; that’s exactly what makes them clichés. What’s remarkable, though, is what we begin to learn when we live by them. How different would our world look if we really did treat others the way we wanted to be treated? What could you accomplish today if you honestly lived life to the fullest? Who could possibly stop you if you and those around you weaved a web of positivity and support for one another?
By carrying out these simple ideas, we are creating a remarkable situation for ourselves, but more importantly, for others. I challenge you to take the opportunity to genuinely thank someone in your life for something they’ve done. You are guaranteed to make an impression on that person. Watch what happens when you begin to build those around you up. By investing in others, you are investing in yourself. If we aren’t living life with one another, we are wasting time. Strength does not come from solitude and independence. True strength comes from the ability to rely on others and offer the same unconditionally.