Chapter 13. Making a Meaningful Transition

Life is about creating yourself.

George Bernard Shaw

No trumpets sound when the important decisions of our life are made. Destiny is made known silently.

Agnes de Mille

The story is told of Harry Houdini, the famous escape artist who issued a challenge everywhere he went. He claimed he could be locked in any jail cell in the country and be able to free himself in a short time. He had never failed in this challenge except for one isolated incident. One day Houdini walked into a jail cell and the door clanged shut behind him. From under his belt Houdini removed a strong but flexible piece of metal. He began to work, but something seemed odd about this particular lock. He worked for 30 minutes with no results. Frustrated, he labored for another hour and a half. By now he was soaked in sweat and exasperated at his inability to pick this lock. Completely drained from the experience, Harry Houdini collapsed in frustration and failure and fell against the door. To his surprise, the door swung open—the door had never been locked! The door was locked only in the mind of Houdini.

We would all do well to pause for a moment from our work and lean against a philosophical door that can free us from feelings of futility, frustration, insignificance, and even failure. We lean against this door by asking ourselves what we must do to bring a greater sense of meaning to our working life. Once that door is unlocked, everything else, including our material management, ...

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