I remember reading somewhere a quote of, I believe, Voltaire “there is the real freedom of doing what one should and a false freedom of doing what one wants”.
This always resonated with me, but something felt wrong.
I should declare my natural resistance to authority, and somehow I felt the “should” came from outside and was, therefore, a limitation to individual freedom. But on the other hand, I clearly see that if we always do what we want, we will be miserable and probably destroy everything around us. Hence I can get the point and think it worthy.
In these days of hedonism, I realise it might sound shocking that doing what one wants will make you miserable – but you need only think of a situation where you felt like doing something you knew was wrong – eating that extra piece of cake, betraying your loved one or pushing the guilt on someone else to get away with something.
I’m sure you have already really felt like doing something you knew was wrong. And if you did it, you felt bad about it.
This reminds me of another quote, whose author I can’t remember, that went something like
“the worst kind of serfdom is the serfdom to one’s own wishes”.
In these days of hedonism, we seem lost in our purpose, and we seem to chase our wishes and volitions to fill the emptiness. And miserably, we fail. And go on, pointlessly following our wishes and feeling empty.
In a conversation with a new but very thoughtful friend, we came up with a thought: the secret is to follow what one truly wants instead of what one wishes or feels like at the moment.
And of course, then comes the hard question – what does one really want?
A few months back, I had a fascinating conversation with a participant in one of our Corporate programs. He was already following the action plan he built in the program for 2 months, and he was very happy with himself. As he put it “I’m back at the wheel of my life”.
He was on track to meet his objectives and implementing real changes in his life. And he saw the results – objective, measurable, and more subtle internal changes – he was enjoying his life, despite the objective challenges everyone faces.
It is in these moments that I truly value the opportunity that I’m given to walk with people towards their best versions through the Walking Mentorship programs.
Maybe it is fitting to end with another quote from William Ernest Henley’s Invictus.
“I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul”.
Apparently, this helped Mandela keep his mind sane during the long years of incarceration. May it also help us to stay sane and behind the wheel of our lives.
Our next guest on the podcast – Keep Walking With Me – is David Clutterbuck. David is the last fully active survivor of the pioneers of coaching and mentoring. His roles include being Special Ambassador for the oldest professional association in the field — the European Mentoring and Coaching Council — and visiting professor of coaching and mentoring at four universities.
Everything he does revolves around helping people and organisations harness the power of dialogue — to have the conversations that will bring about positive change. He has written or co-written more than 70 books. + about David
You can hear the full podcast here or watch the video on our youtube channel.
Last week we walked with 5 amazing teams from 5 different companies towards their best version.
The Walk the Talk program is an exclusive partnership with CEGOC, the Portuguese branch of the CEGOS Group. It was a great opportunity for teams from the Manpower Group, Sport Lisboa e Benfica, Novabase, Turismo de Portugal and Laboratórios Vitória to try this innovative approach to team development.
During the week, the walks were shared via zoom, but on the final day, we all walked together in a beautiful forest overlooking the beach, and it was truly great to see the day stretching while the exercises got deeper and real. We look forward to walking further towards better, more aligned teams. You can also watch a short video of this marvellous week here.
When was the last time you felt grateful for all your blessings? I don’t mean this in a religious way – beliefs are individual and deeply personal – but the simple exercise of looking at your life and seeing how many good things you already have? This can dramatically improve your humour and willingness to take another step, especially when you feel down and gloomy.
Of course, in these depressing moments, it is hard to think of the good things. So we suggest that you set a regular time in your daily routine to do this exercise. I do it before going to sleep, and it usually sets the mood for a restful night. Why don’t you give it a try?
SHOULD WE WALK TOGETHER?
Walking Mentorship is a labour of love that helps you gain deeper insight and equips you to create a meaningful impact in your life and those around you. How can we work together? We keep things simple by offering Immersive, short-term and Corporate programs. Check the best fit for you.
Keep walking with me,
Nuno Santos Fernandes
Partner of Walking Mentorship
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