When Life Isn't What You Make It

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Peter
Buffett, son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, is an Emmy
Award-winning composer, NY Times best-selling author and noted
philanthropist. Currently, he is releasing socially-conscious music and
touring his “Concert & Conversation” series in support of his book
Life Is What You Make It

“Where We Are” by Peter Buffett

My book, Life is What
You Make It
, has been received very well. It’s been translated into over 15 languages and sold over a half a million copies. But
every time I’m asked to speak about it, there’s a small part of me that just
can’t get behind the title.

For many of us, it’s true. We’re defined by the choices we
make and the stories we believe. Wrong turns become unpredicted life lessons
that help us find our way. Seemingly impossible odds become just the thing that
propels us into fulfillment of a destiny unseen at the outset of life’s
journey. And certainly committing to a life path is the first sure way of
getting there.

But for others, the story we’re born into breaks us before
we can get through the first chapter of our lives.

Recently, I spent the afternoon with some beautiful souls–young women who shared their life history with me. I’ve seen what a broken
system can destroy. But it’s almost always been on the other side of the world, slightly abstract. Rarely has it been easy to relate to someone’s story as
possibly your own. But somehow this was different. These were girls that
methodically and personally walked me through their lives from their earliest
memories. Describing how their lives were shattered through sexual abuse at an
age when most of us were learning to tie our shoes.

How do you say, “Life is what you make it” to those young
women and the thousands of women (and men) like them? You don’t.

But here’s what you do: listen.

What I have learned over and over is that giving voice to
the truth inside you is the first step in making your life your own. And when
you listen, you bear witness to that truth … that story. Only listening can
begin to provide the safety that is required to take a step into life. And real
listening–done without judgment, without needing to “save,” without being
repulsed–is no small feat. But speaking truth is even harder.

My latest song, Where
We Are
, was written after meeting these young women. Because I know that we
are only as free as the most bound among us. And as long as voices are silent,
we will never know where we are as a species on this planet. We will never know
how truly evolved we are–assuming that we’re defining evolution as greater
acceptance, understanding and love of our fellow man.

As long as the truth is not spoken, we will be living a lie.
And that lie will manifest in the societies we create. In every disconnected
experience–whether it’s in the food we eat, the things we buy, or the
experiences we share–if there’s not truth at the core, it will continue to
add to the disharmony that seems to permeate so much of the world around us.

I truly believe that nearly if not all ills this society
faces are symptoms. Poverty is not the problem, war is not the problem, obesity
is not the problem, a broken education system is not the problem, GMO’s are not
the problem, the 1 percent is not the problem.

These are all symptoms of massive disconnection. It is no
surprise that the internet exploded like it did with Facebook being the biggest
thing on the internet. We crave connection.We need to be seen and heard. We want to be loved.

But Facebook won’t get us there. We’ve moved from an organic
ecosystem to a digital ego-system in a few short generations. How do we take
the best of what we’ve created (like refrigeration, indoor plumbing, electricity, you know–actually useful things) and marry it with what has
worked for thousands of years?

Why are so many people afraid? Hungry? Bought and sold? And
not just somewhere else but right in our own backyard.

I don’t think this is human nature. I think we’re better
than this. I think we’ve been better than this. What’s the story?

What do you think? Share your story at changeourstory.com. Visit www.peterbuffett.comto learn more and Change Our Story to
join the conversation on how we all can become active participants in shaping
our future.

Image courtesy of mRio, licensed underCreative Commons.

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