In an online interview the other day, I was asked what my favorite quote is. It is the quote that I used as the first sentence of my book, and it is by Nietzsche, although I’m not sure whether I ever explained why. “No one can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life,” the quote says. This quote appeals to me because it is both honest and real. It emphasizes the idea that our entire lives are entirely in our hands. We can create whatever kind of life we wish. The thought that things are difficult and that we can choose to make our lives what we want via hard work is encouraging to me.
The idea that you build a life on purpose is one of those ideas that, once thought about, makes perfect sense yet is not something we are taught. I see the idea that you can take your life wherever you want it to go, but you have to do it alone because no one can do it for you as an adventure. Setting objectives is important to me for the same reason. This is why, when attempting to assist someone in setting long-term goals, I always look for the why. This route you’re on is entirely your own. You have the ability to direct it in the direction you like.
It may take time, but the course your life takes is ultimately your choice. You have the option of taking the path of least resistance and doing things the way they are delivered to you. You have the same right to build whatever you want out of your time. The thought that at the end of my life, the life I will have lived would have been entirely of my own design, regardless of where or how it ends, fuels my fire. This is one of the reasons why knowing where you want to go and having a plan for your life is so crucial.
This also implies that you need more than one backup plan and the ability to “pivot” as events unfold around you. It’s a lot of labor, but the issue remains: how do you wish to cross this life’s river?
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Dr. Matt Chalmers
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