One of the great privileges of spending your days with The Queen is the intriguing assortment of beings you encounter. And the insights they share. In passing just a few of these on to you, my fellow subject, I make no claims to be the model of a purposeful pooch. On the contrary, my early life with Her Majesty was a litany of embarrassment, from the time I caused the worst security breach at Buckingham Palace, to the way I disgraced myself on the leg of a particularly inappropriate VIP.
Nevertheless, along the way, I have also come to learn a few intriguing truths which Michael, Her Majesty’s most mysterious adviser, would describe as the way of the alchemist. Which is to say that we should all aspire to transform the base metal of our lives into pure gold:
1. We create a life of purpose and fulfilment when we use our own particular abilities for the benefit of others. It doesn’t matter what those abilities are, whether they are rare or commonplace. What matters is our intention – the use to which we devote our time and energies.
2. Don’t wait until you are perfect to accept yourself, or you never will. Nor should you wait until you are completely ready before embarking on a course of action. Was The Queen perfectly ready to take the throne at the age of 25? We should never allow the perfect to become the enemy of the good.
3. To achieve anything in life we must learn to control our impulses. Self-discipline. Emotional Intelligence. Whatever you wish to call it. Delaying gratification now for a greater result in the future is central to success in any endeavour.
4. Knowing something is all very well. But knowledge only has real value when our understanding of a truth deepens to the point that it changes our behaviour. We may all know that we should stop and smell the roses. And what we should do if life hands us a lemon. But what use is this knowledge unless we apply it? It is when we apply knowledge in our life that it transforms into wisdom.
5. True purpose isn’t to be found in external trappings – in wealth, status and power. Her Majesty and her inner circle possess all of these, and know many other people who do. Just as they know how little value they serve when it comes to a sense of personal fulfilment. Cultivating a purposeful life is an inner journey, involving self-acceptance, connection to others, and doing sometimes even small things but with great love.
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