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What is Your “One Thing?”


City Slickers was one of those films that everyone talked about when it was released on the big screen. You may recall the 1991 western comedy starring Billy Crystal (Mitch) and Jack Palance (Curly).


The story line centered on three successful businessmen and their relentless pursuit to find happiness. Somewhere along the way of chasing success, they each had lost their purpose. As Mitch’s wife explained, “You’ve lost your smile and I need you to go find it!”


So each year the three friends attempt new and exotic adventures. One year they even travel to Pamplona, Spain to experience running with the bulls. As the film opens, the friends travel further, and their annual trips become more and more dangerous, involving greater risks and hoping that each thrill of danger will awaken their inner joy and they’ll find their smiles. Ultimately, they learn that their exotic excursions are merely short-term distractions.


When is the last time you thought about the state of your soul?


I recently read a book where the author, John Ortberg, explains that lasting joy doesn’t come from “hoping for something.” He explains that if we are hoping for something, then we’re actually hoping for a particular outcome -


I hope I get that job...

I hope I get that house...

I hope I get that girl...

I hope I get that girl and she gets that job, and we get that house!


Like Mitch and his friends, there’s no shortage of people searching for answers (and hope) right now. It’s easy to understand why – what we used to call normal, just isn’t.


And for others - normalcy is found in routines. They set their clock and build their life around them.


We get up...

We check the news headlines...

We check our emails...

We work out...

We go to our home office and talk on zoom calls...

We may join a friend for lunch or a dinner out...

We go to bed...

Then repeat.


What happens when your routine becomes either too predictable or disrupted? What do you do then? What are you doing now? The question becomes, how do you stay centered and maintain everlasting joy?


Psychologists tell us we have to find the answers within...

Opportunists tell us we should look around...

Optimists say we should look ahead...

Pessimists say we should look out!


Which one are you?


Eventually everything that we hope for will disappoint us. Every circumstance, every situation, every thing is going to wear out, give out, fall apart, meltdown and go away.


When that happens, the question then is: what about your deeper hope? Your foundational hope? Your fall back hope? When all your other hopes are disappointing because hoping can break your heart, what should you do then?


If it’s true that the treasures of our heart can be identified by how we spend our time, maybe that’s a great place to start. How do you start your day?


What is your heart fixed on? Learn how to pursue the things that matter most to you. Set your heart on things to come. Not just once, or occasionally, but allow yourself to devote your growing emotion within your heart on those things that matter most to you. Once you know what matters most to you, set your mind continually on that one thing. Like a compass, that continually points north.


The only good thing about experiencing a crisis is that it reorders our priorities. It’s true. One thing we’ve learned in the last year is that when you go through a crisis, it helps us sort things out. Here’s a quote I like...


“Those who are strong, are always fixed somewhere. They have a conviction that cannot be separated from argument, which cannot be changed, whatever the circumstance of which they live. Sometimes these people are very narrow, but they are wonderfully strong. And they are singularly obstinate, but they are splendidly dependable.”

–G. Campbell Morgan


At JAGLAW, we are experienced advocates for lawyers who recognize that a change may be helpful in accomplishing their professional goals, in order to allow them to live a satisfying life of joy. If you would like to learn more about the process that we have shared with many other partners and associates, contact us at teamjag@jaglaw.com to speak confidentially with one of our experienced consultants.


Oh, back to City Slickers and Mitch’s quest to find happiness. You’ll be pleased to learn that Mitch finds a mentor in the man he once feared. Curly sees that Mitch is missing his sense of purpose and shares the one secret to finding it.


If you’re curious, here’s a link to the movie trailer.


It really is a good family film that won several nominations and awards for Best Actor, Best Motion Picture, Best Supporting Actor and Genius Award. It also grossed nearly $200 million.

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