• Phil Cole

Life is a Process of Narrowing


Life is a process of narrowing. When we are young, we explore the world. We experience many things, we meet many people, and we begin to learn what we like. We say "yes" so that we can learn what is possible.


As we get older, we focus our attention on the things that matter. This is a process of saying "no" to things. We decide what we want to accomplish, deliberately excluding those that we do not want to do. We select who we want to be around, picking those people who make us feel and do things in the certain way that we like.


The limits of time begin to press more upon us, and we draw lines around our lives.


This process of exploration and focus is also how we become leaders. We decide that we want to bring out the best in others, and we find ways that we can do so. We seek out new behaviors, replacing those that we already have or adding new options. When a behavior does not work, we exclude it: we stop doing it, and thereby allow ourselves to move forward with the behaviors that do work.


Like putting together a puzzle, we assemble who we are -- what we want to accomplish in life, and the internal and external tools to do so -- until we become whole human beings. What we reject is just as important as what we embrace. Lines define not just what is inside, but also what is outside, and there is great power in drawing the lines of our lives.


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