On the Quest for Reinvention

Personal reinvention and the power of renewed purpose in your life can have profound impacts on your happiness, creativity, and outlook.

May 16th, 2019

Israel Ellis Headshot

Israel Ellis

On the Quest for Reinvention

6 Minute Read

Personal reinvention and the power of renewed purpose in your life can have profound impacts on your happiness, creativity, and outlook.

The need to possess a sense that our lives are lived with purpose and that we are always progressing forward is within our DNA.

Aristotle defined purpose in life as using reason and language to form friendships and relationships, control our appetites and emotions, cultivate our moral and intellectual virtues, and observe our place in the universe. These elements, which set us apart from our animal counterparts, are all related to human progress. We have a built-in need to continually advance ourselves in all these areas. However, how successful we are at doing this largely depends on our creativity and confidence, driven by our intuitive health. When our emotional state is healthy, we are able to move forward unhindered and end up places we may never have initially imagined. In Moving Through Walls, I present four foundational constructs that will help you move towards new and greater horizons: openness, faith, (belief in and vision of a) future, and forgiveness (MTW, page 13).

When you stop moving forward, you stagnate. Stagnation and repeating rituals (without modifying them to allow for growth and a deeper connection to the intent behind your actions) may produce a monotony that can limit creativity and confidence over time, with the potential resulting state of emotional indifference. This indifference can insulate from feeling the natural need to progress and eventually encase you in thick walls that isolate.

When we lack belief in our own future, our natural need for progress can become a liability to ourselves. Aristotle theorized that the difference between animals and plants is movement. This is why a person who is devoid of movement is said to be in a vegetative state. Our brains get exercise through movement in the form of constant learning; our emotions experience movement as we get to know ourselves better and develop a deeper consciousness. A neutral non-growth state can lead to real regressive trouble in our lives. In turn, this affects our sense of self-worth, which depreciates, and negatively impacts our relationships, emotions, and eventually our sense of belonging.

Most of the career-changing events in my life happened as a result of a natural forward momentum. Serendipitous opportunistic developments presented themselves as a by-product of my life trajectory at the time, which was in turn driven by my primary life needs. As an entrepreneur, I find that everything I do creates other doors that can be opened. These unplanned opportunities evolve on their own when I am following the course of my forward trajectory.

Unlike unplanned events that result from momentum, planned personal developments are events by which you reinvent yourself based on realizing a personal purpose. A planned reinvention can lead to a material shift in your life and is almost always motivated by a personal purpose. A calling if you will.

A clear vision of a future you want and are now ready to realize provides the energy that drives you forward into the unknown. To plan a reinvention, you will need to be quite passionate about whatever it is that has caused you to shift gears. You will need to draw on strong self-confidence to counter the fear of the risks involved. When it comes to redefining yourself, the road can be lonely, and you will face moments of doubt. Those “What the hell am I doing here?!” moments.

For me, writing a book was born out of an epiphany of purpose. I had identified something that I wanted to do and was ready to make a shift in my life and do something about it.

A planned reinvention of your self happens when you identify what you want and are ready to make that happen, it is an answer to a higher calling from within

Writing Moving Through Walls was a hyper-focused commitment and a daring to go outside of my comfort zone, by exposing personal details about my life. I didn’t want the book to be a treatise from a theoretical ivory tower, I wanted it to be real and true, and that could only come from putting my own life on display. Dealing with the subject of forgiveness, in particular, required me to be true to my experience and get personal (MTW, page 18).

When you commit to a planned reinvention of yourself, there can be very positive and material shifts in your life. A planned reinvention will take a great deal of perseverance and belief; a willingness to take risks; and a focus on bringing your goals to the finish line. Whether it’s a personal undertaking or starting a new business, a new project powered by passion and purpose can act as an exciting new beginning in your life that will renew and rejuvenate you. The finish line tastes sweet and is a powerful accelerator in life (MTW, page 155, Accelerate).

MTW Practice Alert:

Launching a planned reinvention is a life accelerator and creates momentum that will in turn fund your sense of self-worth and goes on to generate more confidence and belief in yourself. Remember, it’s not about failing to succeed, it’s about failing to put your best foot forward and following your ambition (MTW, page 233, Unleash Your Greatness).

When you are “all in,” you will achieve and grow parts of yourself that you really love. The momentum generated is going to bring more creativity, happiness, and peace into your life, which will deepen the relationships most important to you. From your center out, you will serve to make the world a better place. Wow! And not only that but you will kickstart this incredibly positive and exciting momentum that will cause a re-birth to your life on all fronts.

You may choose to launch a planned reinvention for a material purpose, but the benefits will almost always surpass any financial reward. You will likely be inspired by your renewed sense of purpose and how the new you affects everything around you. And here is the best part. When you pursue what is right for you, everything that you need will fall into place. This is not magic; it will happen and it’s proof that you are doing what is most purposeful to you. Whenever I have committed to something that is purposeful, is driven by passion, is good for me, and that I am meant to be doing, the (financial) rewards find me—I needn’t look for them.

“I find that when I am doing what I am meant to do the rewards find me.”

Figuring out what you want and acting on this knowingness in the quest for reinvention is the most powerful opportunity for personal fulfilment. Once you know what you want, the “how” questions will almost always be answered as needed (MTW, page 57, Faith). And when you look back it will be uncanny to see how every person you met and every decision you made contributed to everything that resulted, as if you were part of some master plan where it was all preordained.

Reinvention Alert:

Shake up the routines and rituals you have become accustomed to.
Question 1: How much of what you do is rote?
Question 2: How much of what you do is done with intention and purpose?

“Infuse your actions with conscious intent to free your mind of its own practice restraints.”

Routines without intent and the monotony they produce will eventually stymie your creative powers. Imagination is all important for your brain, your health, and your emotional state. It is easy to get stuck because daily rituals are safe, and it’s natural to seek security in what makes us feel safe. The problem I believe is when our daily routines become counterproductive to our personal growth. Over a prolonged period, safety networks against taking risks and acting on our impulses, making us more predictable.

Reinvention requires changing up our routines, our brains have to now think in new ways. Imagine you have memorized a maze and then suddenly the paths change and the walls shift to block routes that were previously open. Now you have to learn a new way to get to your destination. When we are challenged to consider alternatives in our life, we force our minds to open and turn on our creative senses. This, in turn, can bring fresh and exciting newness to our lives. That newness gets us thinking about our future. When we change, we rewire our being and bring new positive energy to a future that might have been stagnant or stuck.

Changing things up in your life is good for you and reignites consciousness of your existence. Planned reinvention can be a very rewarding experience.

P.S. Alert:

Here is a link to a cool YouTube clip from Casey Neistat entitled “Do What You Can’t”. Most of my early life, I experienced people telling me what I couldn’t do. It is easier for people around us to point out our limitations than our potential.

In Moving Through Walls I have narrowed the answers to four foundational principles. These ideas are tools to achieve the life you want to live. Embrace them and make them your own.

– Israel Ellis


I wrote Moving Through Walls out of a purpose to share what I have learned.

If you have a deep desire to find that road less travelled to your greatest self. Then you have likely come to the right place.

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Mrs. Ellison, my grade five teacher, who at the time seemed older than God, would single me out because I did not have my lunch or because my work was not completed. She would hear no excuses. It did not matter to her that at ten years old, I had no one to make me lunch or that I would come to school in pretty bad shape. She would look me straight in the eye, a tremor in her voice, point a shaky finger at me, and say, “Young man, where there is a will, there is a way.”

In retrospect, I have to thank her for her unwavering lack of empathy for me, even if the appropriate action might have been to call a children’s aid society. She drummed that phrase into my head and it stuck. When I find myself in front of what appears to be an impenetrable wall, I recount her words, often saying them out loud in a chant-like fashion.

This mantra has kept me pushing and persevering over the years. There is always a way to move through walls. I have moved through many in my journey, and I will move through more. The commitment to moving through walls reminds me that by keeping stock in my faith and asking the universe to deliver, I will find that crack in the dam and a trickle of opportunity will make its way through to lead me to the next great place on my journey.

Challenging ourselves and pushing the boundaries of what we think we’re capable of is a powerful accelerator. Accelerators related to physical endeavors can be particularly powerful. By persevering through physical discomfort, we learn to access new sources of confidence and motivation. Not to mention, it keeps you looking and feeling great, which is an accelerator all on its own!

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Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to tell a story in six words. He came up with the famous six-word story: “For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn.” Inspired by this story, Larry Smith of SMITH Magazine challenged others to try to write their lives in six words.

I thought this idea was quite the challenge. How could you encapsulate a life in six words? I was struck by both the brilliant simplicity and the enormity of the challenge: sum up the total sense of who I am and what I believe and package it in a six- word micro-memoir.

I was stumped. For several days, I considered what impact these six words would have on how I value myself. Six words does not allow for any excess; it requires the writer to focus in on what is most important. The exercise took on a new challenge for me. I realized it was asking me to distill my life down to my core essential truth.

When I eventually committed my six words to paper, I felt a great wave of relief come over me. I was calmed by its truth: Living my Life on my Terms. In six words, I captured the feeling of the gratefulness I felt and how far I’d come to understand what a gift life is. Every time I see these words they continue to strengthen and inspire me.

Try it yourself. What are your six words?

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A point of caution here: Stories of grievance have a shelf life. There is a point of repetition where you risk becoming a broken record. No one has the patience to listen to the same grievance over and over again. Grievances can also eventually manifest themselves to include things that did not happen. People who have chosen to dedicate their lives to bearing crosses often become so obsessed that they lose the connection to what really happened.

Don’t become trapped in this cycle. You get a limited number of passes before your story of grievance needs to evolve into one of “heroism”—and this is the story you can tell over and over again. No one gets tired of hearing about heroism. It is motivating and positive. A story of overcoming hardship gives strength to others, and every hero deserves to share their story.

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“If you are meant to be on the path that you are on, the universe will find a way, even when you can’t. When you realize this fact, you will have stumbled upon one of the secret ingredients for success; if you focus on “what” you need to happen—you articulate your goal—the universe will supply the “how.” That is the power of faith. ”

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“If you put your best foot forward and do everything within your power, you will come to a place that is your destiny. “Believe” that you are loved. “Believe” that you have value. And “believe” that you are an important part of this vast universe, one that is a far better place because you have chosen to pursue your greatness, and in doing so, have affected the world in ways that you may never become aware of.”

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"People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of."
-Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

It’s a beautiful summer morning on the ocean, and the perfect wave is coming in. You’ve spotted the wave, paddled hard to be in the right position to catch it, and now you are on the top—on the crest. You lean in, commit yourself, and tip the board forward. You invite the surging force of the breaking water to take over, and the result is a massive jolt of acceleration. Looking back, it seems as if everything that happened was pre-destined, there is such perfect harmony between yourself, your purpose, and nature. In that moment, riding atop the surge, is acceleration. 

"I have trust in my intuition, powered by the confidence that comes from past achievements. I have done it before; I can do it again.”

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“Foundation 4: Forgiveness

The final foundation is forgiveness. When an injustice has been perpetrated against you, it can be incredibly difficult to heal and move forward. That said, when we hang on to the anger that resides deep within us, it tarnishes the soul and blurs our ability to envision and realize the future we desire. To move forward, we must prevail and overcome. But how? How do you move on?
The chapter on forgiveness was the hardest and most personal for me to write. For a long time I struggled to forgive people who had hurt me, but in my journey I realized that only through forgiveness can we unlock a future in which we become the best versions of ourselves. That future is worth the discomfort of being vulnerable. ”

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“What I call the four foundations—openness, faith, future, and forgiveness—are principles that we can use to change the way we interact with the world. These foundations will be the topics of Part One of this book. Our perception—how we see the world around us—is shaped by our life experiences. In our earliest years, we form many of the biases we carry throughout our lives; these biases often predict how we react to the world around us and prevent us from making the changes necessary to living our greatest lives. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We all have the potential to become mindful of our biases and loosen their grip upon us. With conscious effort, we can achieve a state of being that aligns with who we want to be, not where we came from.People often say that change starts with altering actions and behaviors, but I believe this statement is a case of mistaking means for ends. We start the change process by having a vision of who we want to be or what we want to accomplish. Only then will our actions and behaviors change to accommodate that vision.”

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