"Ollin" - To Move and Act with All Your Heart

by Kevin Hall

(Excerpted from Aspire! Discovering Your Purpose through the Power of Words)


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When an earthquake or great storm shook the earth, the ancient Aztecs described such power with a single word:


It is a word that can be found on the Aztec calendar and on many of the instruments used in sacred pre-Columbian ceremonies. Pronounced ALL-in, it is an expression of immense depth that conveys intense and immediate movement. Stemming from the ancient Nahuatl language, Ollin is derived from "yollotl," meaning heart, and "yolistli," meaning life. Ollin means to move and act now with all your heart. It means to follow your path in life wholeheartedly. To experience Ollin, we have to get "All in."

When an earthquake occurs, it signals it's now time to move and act with full purpose of heart.

The Aztecs envisioned wearing your heart on your face to allow your eyes to open and see more clearly. When we view our path with clarity, we move with accelerated purpose and intent. We go forward with a full and committed heart. The Aztecs called it an Ollin heart. They believed that everyone had a sacred path that led to their life's purpose. It was up to each individual to discover what they needed to do in their life and then give it their all. They believed that if everyone could find their purpose, the thing that made their hearts beat fast, the entire society could find its Ollin. It was not just an individual endeavor. It was a communal endeavor.

Ollin confirms that words are sacred and have the power to inspire us to change the world for the better.

Other cultures have similar words to describe the concept of committed action and being "All in." Kenton Worthington, a coaching client of mine and one of the top network marketers in the world, taught me that Hungarians have a similar word, Egunshui (pronounced E-gun-SHOE-ee). It means "one-weighted focus." It calls for putting all your weight behind what you are doing, and if you don't, you run the risk of falling into the pitfalls associated with indecision and inaction. Being halfhearted, uncommitted, the very opposite of Ollin, carries with it its own penalties.

Afternoons with Arthur

Every once in a while, during our study sessions, I would engage Arthur in a game I called "Stump the Professor." The rules were simple enough. I would throw out a word. If Arthur couldn't identify its origin, he was stumped.

For over three years I was unsuccessful, until the day I brought up the word "Ollin."

Arthur stared at me with his mouth open, a rare blank look on his face.

"It's an Aztec word," I explained. "It means going 'All in.'"

"Well," he said, a wide smile spreading across his face. "You sure stumped me on that one!"

Our discussion soon moved to what it means to go "All in." Arthur quickly recovered by connecting the phrase to "opportunity." He explained that the root word of opportunity is port, meaning the entryway by water into a city or place of business. In earlier days, when the tide and winds were right and the port opened, it allowed entry to do commerce, to visit, or to invade and conquer. But only those who recognized the opening could take advantage of the open port.

You couldn't truly go "All in," he wisely pointed out, without first recognizing and taking advantage of the opportunity that preceded it. This type of action isn't stagnant. It isn't stationary. It is about moving forward with commitment and resolve. "Resolve" comes from the Latin "resolvere," and means to loosen. We use the term "solvent" to usually describe a liquid that loosens and releases one or more other substances. That is what resolve—true resolve—accomplishes in our lives. It shakes loose what may be hindering our progress.

Acting with purpose loosens the shackles of procrastination. "Procrastination" comes from the Latin "pro," meaning forward, and "crastinus," signifying tomorrow. This corrosive form of inactivity deceives many into believing that they will somehow move forward tomorrow.

Progress is made one step at a time. "Pro" means forward, and "gress" is to move. When we make "progress" in life, we move forward on our journey.

Then Arthur, whose "Stump the Professor" winning streak had just come to an end, winked at me as he said, "Kevin, you're really starting to progress with your linguistic prowess."

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