Justin Ricklefs


Continuous Expansion

“I see it nearly every week, the continual shrinking of people’s lives. As they accumulate more, become a bit more insulated, and turn their focus a tiny bit to selfish ambition, their worlds become so much smaller…”

He’s a friend, who deals every day with people most would envy for a host of reasons.

Net worth. Success. Retirement. Loads of stuff that should put you in a perpetual state of happiness.

He wasn’t knocking those things at all. In fact, he wakes up every day helping people walk towards those realities.

But what he’s observed in many along that journey…

What once gave them growth, expansion, and service to others at some point narrowed into fixed, and even shrinking mindsets.

“Why is that?” I wondered out loud to him.

“Their lives shrink, instead of expand.”

It haunted me a bit, how matter-of-factly, and concisely he arrived at his conclusion. But of course, it wasn’t concise at all, he had witnessed it for decades, in one conversation and experience after the next.

“Are there exceptions?” was the best thing that emerged from my brain after that.

“Oh yeah, tons.”


He went on to describe a situation he’d encountered where a wealthy couple was pretty worked up over something that seemed to be a minor thing, in the context of their lives, or really anyone’s lives.

“The lens through which they see the world now is so narrow. So closed off. It contracted and shrunk over time.”

Perhaps it’s fear of loss of what they’ve built. Perhaps it’s something shadowy that crept in over time. Perhaps it’s a mixture of lots of things that can’t be unpacked by a random third party like me in a short post.

But it does seem like the antidote to the contraction, at minimum, is the effort and awareness required to expand.

The curiosity to wonder. The mindset open to failing forward and growing in spite of it. The aperture that widens over time, allowing more light to flood the room. The internal expansion in your soul that causes the mind to open a touch as well.

Maybe the bigness and possibility of the world relies on such a response from us? Unless we’d rather shrink away from the invitation of it all in pursuit of a small life…

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