What Dolly Parton and ancient sages have in common...

Well, for one thing, Dolly Parton, Thoreau, and Krishna think you should clean out your closet and move the frick on.

In the back of my closet are the following things:

  • A gorgeous, expensive suit from a job I had 4 years ago
  • A red dress that fit for about 5 minutes
  • Paintings I wish were framed, boxes I could use, and books I'd like to read.
  • Photos I don't want to see.

Whatever we say about our level of self-acceptance, the back of our closet tells the real story. It's a dusty hodepodge of what we were, what we might have been, what we could be 5 pounds or $5,000 from now. And then I hear:

“Find out who you are and then do it on purpose.” Dolly Parton

"You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment... There is no other land; there is no other life but this.” Thoreau
“A man’s own calling, with all its faults, ought not to be forsaken.” Krishna to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita

I used to think of these notions of self-acceptance as frilly, happy thoughts. I'd grumble that "being in the now" was the same kind of feel-good suggestion as taking hot bubble baths at night: sounds relaxing but it's probably not going to help me much. 

I'm beginning to see, though, that accepting who you are is the only path to true achievement. When we don't accept who we are and where we are at, we create the endless opportunity to jump in and out of action, in and out of commitment. And just as commitment is a necessary condition of bold action, bold action is a necessary condition of any kind of success.

You don't want to send that suit to Goodwill because you might need it one day? Or is it because you would like to hold on to the person that wore it? When the crowded closet -- of things we might be or might have been -- confuses our subconscious about who and where we are, focused action becomes really difficult.  It's like the guy who's a true entrepreneur at heart but keeps checking job boards for stable gigs: the internal and external vacillation makes bold action -- and ultimately, success -- very difficult.

So clean out the corners and dust off what remains. Might-use-it-someday is overrated.