Are you guided by your Pole Star?
Before humans had compasses or GPS, ocean navigation was achieved by mapping the stars. The most important star for navigation in the northern hemisphere was Polaris (widely known as “the North Star”). Every one from the ancient Polynesians to the Vikings use this star to guide their journeys.
It should be noted that Polaris is simply the current North Star. The North Star is the star that is positioned due north as the Earth rotates on its axis. This star changes as Earth experiences Precession – the 25,772 year cycle – caused by the wobbling of the earth as it spins.
All very interesting, Ray, but what does this have to do with my personal development? Because of this ancient tradition of navigating by the North Star, the term has become a metaphor for having a clear direction because the North Star always shows where true north lies.
You may think you know what your North Star is, but do you? It may be useful to write down what “true north” means for you in your life. Let me define that. What is the principle or principles on which you are going to base all other decisions, goals, and successes?
Because I think a human life is even a bit more complex than navigating a dark ocean, though metaphorically they’re similar, I’d suggest identifying and defining three to five core principles that are your “true north.” These are principles that when you’re on your game, you’re sailing directly to them. When you’re not your game, they are how you find your direction again.
For me, these have become crystal clear in my life. Much if not most of my writing and work revolves around them. They inform who I am and who I still aspire to be.
- Peace – global, societal, and personal.
- Freedom – the sovereignty of an individual over his or her life so long as it harms no one else.
- Personal Development – working on the premise that every human being has within him or her everything he or she needs to be happy, successful, and free.
- Transparency – keeping of secrets by institutions is a harmful, selfish, and dangerous proposition. Knowledge is the universal birthright of all humans. Privatizing it or hiding behind concepts like National Security do not serve the betterment of humanity.
These principles have become so woven into me that I don’t even have to consciously think about them anymore. They ooze out of my pores and through my writing.
If you’ll give this exercise the time it deserves, you can easily identify your core principles. Spell them out in detail for yourself so that you are clear on what you mean. Once you have them, begin navigating the ship of your life by your Pole Star.
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