“I know who I am and who I may be if I choose.”
-Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote
In his classic novel Don Quixote, Spanish novelist, actor, and playwright Miguel de Cervantes explores idealism, nobility, society, and chivalry in a post-chivalric world through the admittedly reality-distorted lens of Don Quixote de la Mancha and his squire, Sancho. Together they battle fictional armies, giants and Quixote’s own sanity in pursuit of an ideal. Quixote, driven mad by the lack of sleep attributed to reading every book in his massive library, set off on a quest to restore civility and chivalry to a world he deems to have forsaken it. During his quest, in a moment of clarity, Quixote proclaims “I know who I am and who I may be if I choose.” Say what you will about the genesis of his quest, Quixote knew what his mission was, what he cared about, and he was willing to take on the world to achieve it. Succinctly, he was uniquely committed to aligning his actions with his personal values.
When Pete Davis took the stage in 2018 to deliver the Harvard commencement address he spoke eloquently about the value of commitment to a place, a profession, a cause, a community, or a person. Unlike Quixote, Davis’ examples are rooted in reality, though they share the common theme of aligning commitment with what you value most. Davis takes it a step further and identifies the correlation between commitment to what matters to the experience of something much greater:
“We do something holy when we choose to commit to something. And in the most dedicated people I’ve met, I’ve witnessed how that pursuit of holiness comes with a side effect of immense joy.” - Pete Davis
Between Cervantes’ novel and Davis’ speech, can we find an applicable theme to our own lives, relationships, and careers? One might ask oneself;
What do I value enough to be truly committed to?
What do I want to accomplish by pursuing the goals defined by my values?
What is holding me back? Specifically, what am unwilling to do, forgo, or endure on my journey?
If you can answer those questions, the one I get to ask is easy:
How can I help you on your journey?
What we care about – our values – define our journey. They define how we allocate our time, talent, and treasure. They define what we commit to, and they correlate highly to the joy we find in the journey.
Committed to helping you, -ks