This year, I want to help you to live into the “Awesome Ordinary” life goals that you’ve got in your mind for your loved one and family. Over the holidays, I read Will Smith’s book titled “Will.” So it was entertaining, yet profoundly deep and inspirational; I highly recommend it. In the book, Will Smith shares a great story about a Buddhist parable that teaches us that what got us to where we are today isn’t going to get us to where we want to go.
Below I’ve got a short video/ article that shares the parable, and how we can use this wisdom to help you achieve your goals in 2022. Click below to watch.
Written transcription/ Article:
Happy 2022. Now, this year, I want to help you to continue to live into the goals that you’ve got in your mind for your loved one or if you’re a self-advocate for yourself. And to do that, what I’ve realized over time is that what has got us here now isn’t going to get us where we need to go.
Over the holidays, I got Will Smith’s book called “Will,” I highly recommend it. This book is now at the top of my list of favourite books. So it was entertaining, yet profoundly deep and inspirational. But this message that I’m sharing with you around, what got us to where we are now, will not get us to where we need to go, Will Smith tells a great story and Buddhist parable that I want to share with you. And then, I want to talk about how we can use this thinking to help you achieve your goals and 2022.
Quoting Will Smith from his book, “So there’s a Buddhist parable that has guided me through a many perilous transitions. A man is standing on the banks of a treacherous raging river, it’s rainy season, and if he can’t get to the other side, he’s done. He quickly builds a raft and uses it to safely cross the river. In joyous relief, he high-fives himself lifts the raft and heads towards the forest. But as he attempts to make his way through the dense tree cover, the raft is banging and knocking against the trees and becoming entangled in the vines preventing him from moving forward, he only has one chance for survival. He must leave the raft behind the vessel that saved his life yesterday is the same one that will kill him today, if he does not let it go. So that raft represents our outmoded ideas and old ways of thinking that no longer serve us. For example, the same angry, aggressive persona you cultivated as a child to protect yourself from bullies and predators will now destroy every relationship you have if you’re unwilling to let it go. Things can be perfectly useful, and absolutely, they’re necessary during certain periods of our lives. But a time will come when we must put them aside or die.”
Okay, so Will Smith referenced his own experience in that last paragraph there. But I think this Buddhist parable is relevant to our loved one with a developmental disability and our family. So that raft that we’ve built, maybe it got us across the river of this school system and that stage of our life. And that worked, but now as our loved one is perhaps exiting the school system, or they are in the adult stage of their life, that same raft, that same thinking, is what’s holding us back as we try and go into that forest of the adult world. And if we’re still hanging on to that raft, we might get swallowed up by that rising river. So we need to let go of the raft.
If we think of the raft as the “Special Needs” way of thinking, the way of thinking that your loved one has to do things and be in the places that are designed set up just for people with “special needs”; segregated, often oppressive spaces, and places. That thinking will hold your loved one back and might be suffocating your loved one. So we need to let go of the old need to let go of that special needs way of thinking. And we need to shift into what I call the “Awesome Ordinary” life thinking, which is being in those ordinary places is getting more ordinary opportunities. This way of thinking opens the doors to the amazing opportunities available in that adult world, in the forest, that we can explore.
So I would love it if you considered how you can let go of the old raft, let go of that “Special Needs” way of thinking. And I invite you to wander into the forest of this “Awesome Ordinary” life type thinking with me. This is the type of thinking that will help you achieve those goals that you have for your family for your loved one in 2022.
So I would love it if you came along on this “Awesome Ordinary” life journey with me. Every week, I will work to release another video that will give you a tip and help you move forward towards your goals and what you want to achieve this year.
So scroll down and leave me a comment if this video is helpful for you. And I look forward to working together with you in 2022. I’m Eric Goll. Together, let’s take a small step forward this week.
Yes — good thinking — we will try!
This is so spot on! My oldest is beginning the transition to adulthood. Great food for thought!
Eric, you are so right. It is one of the hardest things that parents need to learn, hopefully, for the young adult.
I like the comments and the ideas from the book. Today I still find very few openings with outside helps in community level especially now. Events open up then are shut down again
Mindset is very helpful and optimistic – would welcome more information on how to implement processes with toddler like behaviours and lack of safety awareness
Happy New Year Eric. This is what I need, get out of the same old, samef old mindset, Thanks for the encouragement.
Happy New Year Eric! Love the way you connected the parable for us and related it back to what we’re all working towards for our loved ones. Creating an Awesome Ordinary Life! All the best to everyone for 2022.
Your emails are always helpful and motiviating. This one was particularly poignant as we are at the stage of finishing highschool and moving on to adulthood and need to adjust our thinking. Thanks for continuing to encourage families in this way Eric. All the best in 2022.
Love this parable and how it can apply to our lives. Always worth doing a checkin to ensure the old “special needs” way of thinking isn’t creeping into our loved one’s life.
Happy New Years Eric!! This is a great connection and I want to continue to move toward this Awesome Ordinary life.
Happy New Year to you Eric and your family. Thank you for this insightful information. I ordered the book, looking forward to reading this!