The World’s Greatest Lie

“What’s the world’s greatest lie?” the boy asked, completely surprised.

“It’s this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie.”

“The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho

It’s ironic that I happened to revisit this quote in my notes just two days after my last blog post.

Today I resumed my house hunting research. Most of my evening was spent crossing off candidates from my list for some reason or another. I’ve hit a point where 93% of the places I’ve screened have been crossed off. Normally I think this would have stressed me out quite a bit, but today it was okay.

I think after reading this quote this morning, I felt quite empowered to shift my perspective on a lot of things.

Last week, I would have seen this situation as “93% of these places aren’t options for me.” Today, I was seeing this situation as “I’ve chosen to not go with 93% of these places.” And just like that, I’m back in the driver’s seat–it’s no longer fate.

Similarly, at work today, I was debating if I should leave on time or continue working late. I felt pressured to stay late. Even though I started before everyone else today, I felt weird to leave before everyone else. There’s an infinite list of things to do, and if I stayed later, I could get more done.

But then I reminded myself that the pressure was a lie. It’s just something I was making up. I was still in control. And I chose to leave on time.

(If I chose to stay late, I don’t think there would have been anything wrong with that… …so long as I was seeing it as a choice. If I was doing it because I felt pressured, or because I felt that I had to, or because I felt scared, then it would be a problem because I’d be continuing to live in the lie that fate had control rather than me.)

So today I felt much lighter.

I know that perspective has a huge impact on how I live. And yet, every time I rediscover it, it feels more impactful than anything I can remember. Every time, it’s brand new.

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