“You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself.” Galileo
If only we truly believed this we’d stop running from jobs and people in order to find what makes us happy. In truth, we’ve got everything we need already inside ourselves.
I am blessed with the ability to fall asleep. I learned in the military to go into REM sleep during a five minute break. Power naps have become a staple in my life. I also am an incredibly light sleeper. Even the sound of my cat walking on the carpet in the room wakes me up. Needless to say, white noise has become a staple of my life.
Last March I stayed at a hotel that had no ambient fan noise to turn on in the rooms. I heard every word, laugh, child’s cry, foot step, door slam, elevator ding, ice cube dispense, and catering-cart rattle while I was trying to sleep. I went to the sundries shop and bought ear plugs in an attempt to block out the outside noise. Problem was, although I now couldn’t hear anything external, I heard every breath and heart beat inside my body. I think I could even hear my cells dividing! At the end of the three-day stay I was exhausted from lack of sleep.
I have another trip scheduled to this same hotel and have been searching for a white-noise machine to take with me. It had to be small enough so that I could lug it with me on the plan as I already had a ton of meeting material and other electronic gadgets to drag along. As I was lamenting my situation, my coworker told me to check out my phone, which I’ve had for two years, and see if there wasn’t an app for that.
I am tech savvy but I only use my phone for purely functional, non-entertainment reasons such as storing contacts, email communication, GPS directions, phone calls, and my schedule. I have one free app on it, and that’s the phases of the moon. (I always wanted to be an astronaut:-) When I looked at my phone, it was right there! A free-white noise app to download with numerous gorgeous background noises with which I knew I could slip into sleep-replenishment mode quickly.
What I needed was right there all along! I didn’t need to look elsewhere; I had it! And as I wondered at how simply my dilemma had been resolved through the assistance of a friend, I reflected on Galileo’s quote. What else am I struggling with right now, yet I have the answer sitting right in front of me? The answer is everything. I just need someone to help me find it.
Many of us are teachers, parents, writers, mentors, coaches, salespeople, or consultants. But it’s a great point to always remember that we can’t “teach” anyone anything. We can only help them find it within themselves. And if we can do that, we have truly transformed an individual’s life.