We don’t ask kids very interesting questions.
We ask what they want to be when they grow up, but never WHO they want to be when they grow up. Would they rather be Muhammad Ali or Jonathan Adler or Mother Teresa or J.K. Rowling? Even if kids can’t articulate their innermost desires to become crazy-successful engineers of products which save kids in developing nations from waterborne bacteria, they can tell us they liked learning about world leaders or biologists or artists or writers or CEOs or lawyers or that one guy with that one really cool story from that one book, that one time.
The questions only get worse. We adults ask what we “do” to one another all the time, but we never ask who we’d like to become. Since when does what you do stand in for “everything you believe about the world, period, with no room for opinions or interests outside this one narrow topic”…? Who says my friend who’s a drug addiction counselor and my friend who programs missiles for a living can’t have great talks about music and art and the state of politics in the world? Who’s to say they’ll hold those jobs forever, and who’s to say there’s nothing more to learn once you’ve found out where they spend 40 hours a week, working?
It’s time to ask better questions. Starting right now.
Who are your energetic beacons?
Who are the people you most admire?
Who are the humans you most want to be like on that mythical day when you grow up?
I’m not talking about having a similar house or a similar paycheck to these people. I mean: when you close your eyes and imagine what your energetic beacon feels like to other humans — what everything they stand for in the world radiates to the people closest to them — who do you really admire?
It’s worth knowing where you’re going, people-wise.
It’s worth taking the time right now to say: not him, or her, or them, or her, and definitely not HIM.
It’s worth taking the time to steer yourself toward someone, instead of against others, once you’ve gotten that out of your system.
Even if you’re ultra-religious and steer yourself toward a Savior or a Prophet or a Goddess, who embodies of the best of those divine qualities right here on Earth, as far as you can tell?
Acknowledge those people. Write them down. Study them. Soak up what they have to teach. Sit at their metaphorical feet by reading their books and taking their classes. Let their wisdom soak into you, and let them show you a little more of the path than you would be able to see all by your lonesome.
These are your energetic beacons. The constellation by which you can guide your time on this planet — toward these, your favorite humans.
Famous or not, nearby or far away, soft or edgy, fearless or noble. They’ll change over time. They’ll multiply or shrink in number. That’s fine. Doesn’t change the fact that…
Energetic beacons are the shit.
Mine, you ask? Who are my energetic beacons?
They’re an odd little trio.
Interestingly enough, all male.
Even more interestingly, two are extremely religious, though I am not. (All three are rebels. That’s not negotiable.)
Bob, Rob, and Brian. Writers; storytellers; message bearers. Braver than strictly necessary; wild; fiercely committed to subverting the status quo. And they feel like pure freaking light when you get close enough.
As for your energetic beacons: there are no rules. The idea is simply to acknowledge where you’re going as a human. Instead of taking advice from her or him or them, piecemeal, cherry-picking parts of lessons and bits that fit your thinking — why not go all in? Why not get yourself an energetic beacon?
I dare you to.