I sometimes wonder why things unfold in life exactly as they do. Can what happens to us be controlled and planned, or is much of it mere accident, fate, destiny–or perhaps another greater force at work as well?
The brilliant peak performance coach and bestselling author Tony Robbins, who has worked with three million people in 80 countries (including heads of state, professional athletes, and corporate executives)–has much to say on our collective Date With Destiny, the title of one of his most captivating seminars, offered a few times each year in exotic locales such as this April in Bali.
In my own life, especially with Katie Up and Down The Hall being soon published, I often reflect on why I became so intensely close to my neighbors down the hall.
What power was there in that red-carpeted 120-foot hallway that took me to places I never imagined, much like a magic carpet.
Do you ever play this game: “If I hadn’t just accidentally found myself in that elevator (or in that classroom, gym class, subway car, or party) at that exact moment in time, how would my entire life have been different? Maybe I never would have met my mate, or a key business connection, or a lifelong friend. Right!
Here’s an example: Last week, I was dripping wet in our building’s elevator, having just finished swimming laps, when I “accidentally” ran into one of my neighbors, a movie producer named Russ Terlecki of Wideyefilms. Earlier that morning, in the New York Times, I had read an article about Wendy Diamond, the author of the indispensable It’s A Dog’s World: The Saavy Guide to Four-Legged Living.
Wendy is also the editor of the fantastic Animal Fair Magazine. I made a note to myself that I wanted to one day meet Wendy, an incredibly creative dog-loving entrepreneur. So there I was in the elevator, and I just happened to mention my new “dog” book to Russ, who then told me: “There’s somebody you really have to meet, Wendy Diamond–one of my best friends!”
“You’ve got to be kidding,” I told him. I just couldn’t believe the coincidence. Sure this seemed accidental–but as I’ve learned from Tony Robbins, what happens to us is greatly a product of what he has insightfully described as THE POWER OF PROXIMITY.
Simply put, it’s so often the people in our physical orbits–those in closest proximity–who will become the people most important to us. When you’re around someone in your environment, day after day, you notice their insight, humor, and unique talents–and the needs in them that call out to you for fulfillment. When we look to each other for companionship, love, and connection–we often get what we need.
That’s one key reason why my dog Katie and I became so close to our octogenarian friend, Pearl, and her husband Arthur, and the little boy Ryan, and his Dad, John. Katie and I needed connection–and we so fortuitously found it–just down the hall.
So as Tony often says to seminar participants: “Who, in your environment is nearby? Who’s literally in your field of vision? Who do you keep bumping into, over and over again?”
In this way, as he wisely concludes: “For most of us, proximity is the messenger of fate.”
I can tell you that it’s this principle that changed my life, and the life of my dog forever–and I bet it’s changing yours as well.