Yesterday I wrote about the importance of thinking for ourselves, and not being swept along by religious dogma or spiritual leaders.
Many times in my life, when I felt confused about my direction in life, I accepted the advice of others to follow a path they thought was right for me. And, many times, this took me off the path that I needed for myself. Looking back, I chalk this up to spiritual and intellectual laziness. If it’s hard for me to decide what to do with my life, I latch onto reasonable-sounding advice coming from trusted leaders or friends.
The trouble is, they don’t know my path. They know what works for them, in their lives. They know what’s important to them, and it can seem like this should be important to others as well, so they pass it along to the first receptive pilgrim that comes down the path.
Case in point: About eight years ago, I went to see a psychic about my career direction. She told me lots of accurate things about me, and she seemed trustworthy. Then she handed me a pamphlet from an ESL (English as a Second Language) training school here in Calgary, and told me she had received a message that I should go to this school and become an ESL teacher, so I can go overseas to teach English and make lots of money.
It didn’t sound like something I wanted to do at the time, but I wanted to be open and receptive, so I took her advice and paid $700 for a 6-week program at the school.
I never saw that program or my $700 again.
After taking the advice of a trusted spiritual advisor (yes, after), I went online to check out this school. I quickly found out it had a bad reputation, students didn’t like it, and staff weren’t getting paid. I called the school to ask for a refund. They made some excuses (“the accountant is not in today”) but promised me I’d get my money back. They repeated the procedure the next few times I called. When I found out that the owner had fled to Mexico with the school’s money, to blow it on cocaine and other frivolities, I quit calling about the refund.
I also decided that I did not want, nor had ever wanted, to be an ESL teacher.
Lesson learned: No matter how trustworthy someone else is, I have to decide what I want in my own life – not what someone else wants for me. And, I have to think for myself and do my own research – not accept someone else’s opinion of how safe something is.
Now, I would really like to hear your stories. And don’t worry about embarassing yourself; surely, you weren’t as stupid as I was.
Sometimes it’s hard to find the Comments box on this site, so let me point the way: If you don’t see a comments box at the bottom of this page, then you need to click on “Leave a comment” or perhaps “x# comments” right below this article.
This will bring up the Comments field at the bottom, where you can leave your delicious stories of either following your own heart on your own path, or, tragically, learning your lesson the hard way.
Or vice versa. (I could be wrong.)