When we leave this world, we will ask ourselves one question: What’s different? What’s different because I was here? And the answer to that question will be the difference that we made. All of our thoughts and feelings won’t matter any more when we are on our deathbeds asking that question. What will matter is the action we took and the difference that it made.
Yet we continue to obsess about our thoughts and become fascinated with our feelings. We are offended by other people. We want to prove we are right. We make other people wrong. We are disappointed in some people and resent others. It goes on and on and none of it will matter on that deathbed.
Action will be all that matters. We could have made a difference every hour, every day, if we had wanted to. So how do we do that? How do we motivate ourselves to get into action? How do we live a life of action and difference-making? Aristotle knew the answer. The answer lies in motion.
When I was a child growing up in Michigan, we used to make angels in the snow. We would find a fresh, untouched patch of snow and lie on our backs in it. Then, flapping our arms, we’d leave the impression of wings in the snow. We would then get up and admire our work. The two movements, lying down and flapping our arms, created the angel. This memory of Michigan in the winter has come back to me a lot in recent weeks. It first happened when someone asked me what the connection was between self-motivation and self-creation.
While answering the question, I got a picture of snow. I had a vision that the whole universe was snow, and I could create myself any way I wanted by my movement. The movement of the actions I took would create the self I wanted to be.
Aristotle also knew how to create a self through movement. He once said this: “Whatever we learn to do, we learn by actually doing it; men come to be builders, for instance, by building, and harp players by playing the harp. In the same way, by doing just acts we come to be just: By doing self-controlled acts, we come to be self-controlled; and by doing brave acts, we become brave.”
This course contains 100 moves you can make in the snow.
Phoenix, Arizona, January, 2001