I woke up this morning pondering the observation that whatever we believe and the degree to which we believe it sets into motion a momentum pulling us like an invisible string in the direction of the implications, associated actions, and mindset that go hand-in-hand with our beliefs.
Our beliefs are enacted with everything we do in life—it’s just that most of the time we don’t connect them to our actions or to their outcomes. The power we each unwittingly wield may not seem like much upon first glance, but these individual moments when our beliefs guide our actions and mindset have a profound net effect on our own lives and the lives of everyone else to whom we are indelibly linked both visibly and invisibly. Take today, for example. It is election day in the United States.
What happens if the candidate we don’t want to be elected is the one who is elected?
Where will we find our agency then? The same place we will always find our agency and that is in how we choose to make sense of the world and our role in it. We have the possibility for agency in how we react to our own emotional triggers as well as those of others. We can practice saying or doing the thing that moves us in the direction of our shared humanity. We can hit the pause button in ourselves when every fiber of our being is beckoning us to shout or shut down. We can extend kindness to whomever we meet on the basis of sharing a discreet amount of time on this planet at the same time. We share dreams and aspirations for lasting happiness and a desire to be safe, healthy, and loved. Even if these are the only things we have in common, already that is a lot—enough in fact. Everything else we do in between is both an expression of our character and our ability to see the invisible strings that bind us one to the other. Whether we acknowledge it or not, when a single string gets pulled, we all get pulled. When our response to being pulled is to give way to basic human dignity and respect, then that’s what defines the level of our dialogue and our collective outcomes irrespective of our lines of difference. It’s a matter of what we choose to focus upon.
No matter the outcome of this election, if we assert our commitment to practice basic human kindness and dignity with one another, then the fact we hardly seem to agree about much else doesn’t have to be the only stage upon which we play out our time together on this earth.
Today, and during the past few weeks of voting, Americans will once again set into motion their beliefs in the form of putting our pens to paper on our ballots. While this will undoubtedly define the context in which we find ourselves needing to operate in the coming months and years, it’s what we do in each moment thereafter, with respect to our self-agency and what we have the possibility to positively influence, that allows us to define who we are and how we want to be remembered.
Shortly after writing this article, I learned from two of our team members based in Europe of the terrorist attacks that took place most recently in Vienna and over these past weeks in France, in which people’s lives have been brutally cut short. My heart aches upon hearing this news. I want to acknowledge these events have taken place and send my deepest condolences and love to those whose lives are forever impacted as a result.