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Books are truly magical and miraculous. They allow us to explore the perceptions and literally (if you’ll excuse the pun) think the thoughts of the genius, the seer, the prophet, the criminal, the poet, the adventurer, the innovator and the madman. They can transport us to any place on earth at any time in history, even into space or under the sea. Once we are awake, we cannot go back to sheep.

My Dad used to settle down with a good book at night when the madness of the day had gone and there were no interruptions, and read into the small hours. I can still see him sitting there under the reading lamp in his chair, engrossed in a novel. He was a very clever man and his enquiring mind knew no boundaries. It’s no wonder I do the same – I love reading after 10 pm when all is done and the time is mine.

I have a memory of snorkeling with Rika in a wonderland of tropical fish and coral, and this particular place and incident always seems to pop into my mind. I can’t remember whether is was Hawaii or Cuba or Mauritius or Mexico, but we were surrounded by beautiful fish. And when I emerge myself into a wonderful book by an exemplary writer, the words and nuances and similes and analogies are like those fish, swimming around my head. Often, the story means little to me; it is the writing that stimulates and titivates my brain. I fall asleep, dream a bit, wake up and carry on reading – such is the power that something well written have over me.

And so last night, as I was consumed by Ian MacEwan’s Black Dogs, I read, “Rationalist and mystic, commissar and yogi, joiner and abstainer, scientist and intuitionist, Bernard and June are two extremities, the twin poles along whose slippery axis my own unbelief slithers and never comes to rest. In Bernard’s company, I always sensed there was an element missing from his account of the world, and that it was June who held the key. The assurance of his scepticism, his invincible atheism made me wary; it was too arrogant, too much was closed off, too much denied. In conversations with June, I found myself thinking like Bernard; I felt stifled by her expressions of faith, and bothered by the unstated assumption of all believers that they are good because they believe what they believe, that faith is virtue, and, by extension, unbelief is unworthy or, at best, pitiable.”

We laugh at a joke because we can identify with the circumstances of the choices of the characters, and this paragraph gripped me by the throat, having been through the journey from rabid born-again Christian through Buddhism and Theosophy to undocked Atheism and then into my Mormon religion where everything, to me, in my sixties, makes perfect sense. After all, if the values of those around us differ significantly from our own, regardless of our beliefs, a feeling of discomfort will persist and niggle until he who honestly seeks congruence will move until symmetry is discovered and adhered to.

Which, finally, brings me to the business analogy: In the same way as we do (or hopefully do), on a spiritual level, the business in which we currently engage should the result of the same kind of exploration and evolution, fitting the business to our current values, needs, wants, desires, abilities, and resources. I believe peak performance and optimal joy and satisfaction emanates from a life that is symmetrical and aligned with our values. It takes courage to confront and to change one’s mind, however the result is most satisfying. My current business is evidence of that.

If you’re not satisfied with your current business or job and you’re looking for something new, I have a few options for you. Contact me and let’s talk.

Robin Elliott LeverageAdvantage.com

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