12 Steps to Fulfillment by Alan Cohen

I came across a gem of inspiration and motivation on a blog ran by world famous author . It was a treat for me to read & I wanted to pass it along as someone out there might need it too. 

When Joseph Campbell, today’s most famous scholar of mythology (and
author of the excellent “The Power of Myth”) created the expression
“follow your blessing,” he was reflecting an idea that seems to be very
appropriate right now. In “The Alchemist,” this same idea is called
“Personal Legend.”

Alan Cohen, a therapist who lives in Hawaii, is also working on this
theme. He says that in his lectures he asks those who are dissatisfied
with their work and seventy-five percent of the audience raise their
hands. Cohen has created a system of twelve steps to help people to
rediscover their “blessing” (he is a follower of Campbell):

1] Tell yourself the truth:
draw two columns on a sheet of
paper and in the left column write down what you would love to do. Then
write down on the other side everything you’re doing without any
enthusiasm. Write as if nobody were ever going to read what is there,
don’t censure or judge your answers.

2] Start slowly, but start: call your travel agent,
look for something that fits your budget; go and see the movie that
you’ve been putting off; buy the book that you’ve been wanting to buy.
Be generous to yourself and you’ll see that even these small steps will
make you feel more alive.

3] Stop slowly, but stop:
some things use up all your energy.
Do you really need to go that committee meeting? Do you need to help
those who do not want to be helped? Does your boss have the right to
demand that in addition to your work you have to go to all the same
parties that he goes to? When you stop doing what you’re not interested
in doing, you’ll realize that you were making more demands of yourself
than others were really asking.

4] Discover your small talents: what do your friends
tell you that you do well? What do you do with relish, even if it’s not
perfectly well done? These small talents are hidden messages of your
large occult talents.

5] Begin to choose:
if something gives you pleasure, don’t
hesitate. If you’re in doubt, close your eyes, imagine that you’ve made
decision A and see all that it will bring you. Now do the same with
decision B. The decision that makes you feel more connected to life is
the right one – even if it’s not the easiest to make.

6] Don’t base your decisions on financial gain: the gain will come if
you really do it with enthusiasm. The same vase, made by a potter who
loves what he does and by a man who hates his job, has a soul. It will
be quickly sold (in the first case) or will stay on the shelves (in the
second case).

7] Follow your intuition: the most interesting work
is the one where you allow yourself to be creative. Einstein said: “I
did not reach my understanding of the Universe using just mathematics.”
Descartes, the father of logic, developed his method based on a dream he

8] Don’t be afraid to change your mind: if you put a
decision aside and this bothers you, think again about what you chose.
Don’t struggle against what gives you pleasure.

9] Learn how to rest: one day a week without
thinking about work let the subconscious help you, and many problems
(but not all) are solved without any help from reason.

10] Let things show you a happier path:
if you are struggling
too much for something, without any results appearing, be more flexible
and follow the paths that life offers. This does not mean giving up the
struggle, growing lazy or leaving things in the hands of others – it
means understanding that work with love brings us strength, never

11] Read the signs:
this is an individual language joined to
intuition that appears at the right moments. Even if the signs point in
the opposite direction from what you planned, follow them. Sometimes you
can go wrong, but this is the best way to learn this new language.

12] Finally, take risks! the men who have changed
the world set out on their paths through an act of faith. Believe in the
force of your dreams. God is fair, He wouldn’t put in your heart a
desire that couldn’t come true.

Which number resonates the most with you?

For me it’s number 4, 10 & 12. Friends and family often tell me about the things that I do well, but I never look at them as “talents”. Number 4 changed my perspective on that because though small in nature these talents can, like the text said, be hidden messages to my large occult talents.

Number 10 speaks volumes because it’s important to remember to not be so rigid in our approach to life. There are so many things that happen in life that take us off our initial path, but it’s up to us to embrace that change or struggle and continue on the journey.

Lastly, number 12 say’s it all. “God is fair, he wouldn’t put in your heart a desire that couldn’t come true.” I love that! To me, that just means keep on dreaming, never let someone or yourself talk you out of pursuing whatever it is that you want. Believe in the force of your dreams.

Hoping that this brings you joy.


Source: Paulo Coelho Blog



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