How many of us know the difference between the magnetic and the true north? I confess this was a topic in Geography that I DID NOT pay attention to when I was in school. I thought I would wing it, and prayed that this came only in the multiple choice paper, as opposed to the essay paper. But as we say in Trinidad & Tobago: ‘What eh meet yuh, eh pass yuh yet.’ In other words, to my non-Trinbagonian readers: avoiding a situation now does not spare you the reality of having to confront it at a later stage. So, now I confront…
As I started wrapping my mind around this message to you, the title of this week’s offering drew me in and so, I decided to head in this direction.
Last week, I spoke about coming out, in my piece entitled ‘I’m Coming Out!’. Now that I’m out, what next? Well, finding my true north, or, more aptly, remaining true to my north.
Returning to the Geography analogy, true north is a fixed point on the globe that leads to the geographical North Pole. Magnetic north is not fixed and represents the ‘north’ that a compass needle points to as the needle aligns itself with the earth’s magnetic field. What does this have to do with the direction of my usual writings? Well, stay focussed and I’ll take you there.
Consider your true north as the direction that leads to your purpose in life: your Geographical North Pole. The magnetic north are those attractions or distractions that pull you off course. And, while I accept that life isn’t a 180-degree line, if you align yourself with whatever has the strongest ‘magnetic’ pull, you could end up wasting time and energy on the wrong pursuits, and ultimately, end up in the wrong place, not fulfilling your purpose.
What, then, are the magnetic forces?
- The Latest Trends: Trends, by definition, are not intended to last long. They reflect the patterns of a fickle world. Social media has so highlighted the fleeting nature of trends. A topic might be ‘trending’ today, and ‘fading’ the next week. As you pursue your passion or fulfil your purpose, be careful of a tendency to respond to trends. Now, admittedly, trends might reflect where the needs are and, I agree it’s important to meet people at the point of their need. Sometimes, however, that need frustrates your purpose. And, your purpose allows you to meet the needs of others the way you are best able to given your talents and abilities. Veering off course to meet needs that conflict with your talents and abilities, therefore, does little good to you and even to those whom you might be aiming to help. So, beware of being drawn in the direction of the latest trend.
- The Competition: Locally, we say, ‘friends does take yuh, but dey cyar bring yuh back.’ In other words, your friends lead you (into trouble); they don’t always bring you out of it. Consider the competition a little like that. You see, your competitors, or ‘the pack’ as I referred to in my piece last week, don’t know where your purpose is supposed to take you. To be drawn in the direction of the competition, therefore, could result in you being led astray and being led away from your purpose. Put another way, being led by the competition is a bit like driving without your GPS: you risk getting lost.
- The Nay-Sayers (or the haters): As you launch into your path, the one that has been etched for you, there will be the nay-sayers, the detractors…the haters. These will be the ones who focus on where you are not getting it right and, so, they criticise. They might also be the ones who secretly covet what you offer and so, deliberately withhold the slightest word of encouragement. They try to breathe doubt into you from the darkness of their own despair. Consider these your energy vampires. These are the ones who, if you focus on them, they cast darkness about you so that you can’t even see which way is north, far less to find your true north.
The attractions (distractions) above focus on the external. Permit me, though, to focus now on the personal:
4. The Personal Fears: You might say, ‘But I’ve come out; what fears are there to face?’ The fears will remain. They do not present in the same way, but the fears are there. Coming out and remaining on course is a path that is lined with the continual decision to confront and defeat fear. With each step that has to be taken on the journey towards fulfilment, there is space for a new and more intimidating fear to confront us. So, my friend, be sober and vigilant for our fears never really do go away. They continue to prowl around like a roaring lion seeking to devour. Beware of the fears for they threaten to truncate your trajectory and prevent you from getting to your geographical north pole.
So, as we head out towards our purpose, let’s keep focussed. Be careful of the pulls, resist the distractions. Stay focussed and forge your way to your true north.
Until the next time, say true to yourself.
Love, peace & joy.