Inspiration comes from the most unlikely places. I’m sitting in the theater with my wife and kids this weekend to watch Pete’s Dragon. One of the previews shows a girl who dreams of a better life who learns to play chess. It turns out she’s really good and has the potential to play her way into a destiny far beyond the simple home where she grew up. Then came the voice that said,

Sometimes the place you are used to is not the place you belong. You belong where you believe you belong.

It’s really that simple. That unexpected moment relieved some of the pressure building up inside me.

I’ve known too many people who settle for very little in comparison to what is possible. And nothing grieves me like unfulfilled potential.

It’s such a confusing decision — knowing whether staying local and loyal to one’s roots is healthy or dis-ease. Sometimes leaving the only community we’ve known is the slow but steady death by a thousand cuts we fail to notice. Other times our homes and our histories hold us back and drag us down like weights.

Sometimes we escape the familiar because accountability is painful and restricting. Other times we stay close to home because we are afraid to try and fail.

The first lesson here is to “Know Thyself” well enough to discern your motives when opportunity arises. Are you motivated by fear, irresponsibility, laziness, passion, duty, or purpose? Positive motivations typically lead to faster development. Negative motivations can turn around over time as well. I know that I started on a path eight years ago because I was afraid. That fear drove me to do extensive research and discovery on a topic that led me to discover the beauty, power, and extravagance of permaculture.

I continued performing many of the same tasks as before. The difference being that my endeavors were once based on fear of loss and now are based on the desire to design and foster beauty in the form of harmonious micro climates. It’s not about avoiding my fears. It’s about embracing my potential.

The second lesson is to embrace growth. Growth means change. Ben Affleck recently said in an interview with Bill Simmons that for the longest time, he held this attitude that he wouldn’t let it (Hollywood, success, etc) change him. He called it being true to himself. He has a whole crew of guys from Boston who hold this ideal of never letting anything change you. And those guys have the same kinds of jobs and do the same kinds of things they did as teenagers.

Never changing means never growing, and eventually Ben gave himself permission to grow and change and develop as a person. That’s called maturation.

Points to Remember

You want to know yourself well enough to pursue life and achieve your potential, and you want to give yourself permission to change.

How This Transforms Your Culture

If you’ve read other articles on Culture Feast, you may be wondering how this subject applies to your culture. I write mostly for one specific audience, and I’d be thrilled if these ideas apply to others as well. But my single-minded goal is to chip away at the mindsets of the people I grew up with who are stuck in family traditions, church traditions, hearsay, and wives’ tales.

You can transform yourself and your local community culture by choosing every second to be your passion. To leave behind the old mindsets that may be comfortable but never got you anywhere.

Unless you grew up in a community where the things that excite you are valued and esteemed, what’s familiar may not be where you belong.

Sometimes we break free to become who we truly are. If you’re afraid of losing your roots, don’t worry. There’s often time to go back and rescue others where you came from. But you’ll have no power to rescue until you embrace your very own becoming.