Which is better, momentary happiness or long-term fulfillment? Do I eat the cookie or imagine losing 10 pounds? It’s easy to diet when there’s no ice cream melting in the bowl in front of me, but it’s not easy late at night and the craving for something sweet starts. There has to be a way for me to stay with my goals.
Plan All the Way to the End
The ending is everything. Plan all the way to it, taking into account all the possible consequences, obstacles, and twists of fortune that might reverse your hard work and give the glory to others. By planning to the end you will not be overwhelmed by circumstances and you will know when to stop. Gently guide fortune and help determine the future by thinking far ahead. – Robert Greene 48 Laws of Power
I’m wondering if it’s possible to have a goal, plan a way towards it, and create road markers or breadcrumbs to keep myself motivated. I can sometimes get so caught up in a goal that I forget the short-term pleasures. I’ve got the nose to the darn grindstone and it hurts. Getting up and resting can feel quitting. So I’m thinking that if I mark my path with simple reminders, I can take up where I left off and not feel lost along the way.
Let me tell you, I’m a bit obsessed with the show Doctor Who. In the The Parting of the Ways(2005) episode, Rose, by cracking open the power core, absorbed all the energy from the time machine, Tardis. Why? She was separated from The Doctor and had to save him. Oh the craziness of love. With eyes full of burning Tardis light, she tells The Doctor how she made her way back and found him. Of course it’s not her talking, it’s the possessing force of the time machine that’s glowing through her.
Rose Tyler: I am the Bad Wolf. I create myself. I take the words (“BAD WOLF”)
[Rose lifts her hand and takes the words from the Bad Wolf Corporation sign]
When I go for a run I make a point to find one moment of thrill. Whether it’s the grass or the trees or the view of the city, something along the way should make me smile. What do you think? Any ideas?
Here’s a video of Robert Greene at TEDxBrixton – The key to transforming yourself
Do you remember the Miracle-Gro® commercial where the gardeners compared tomato plants? One used Miracle-Gro® soil and the other used ordinary dirt? Our children are like that. By chance, if a kid is lucky he might grow up fine without parental intervention, but give a child what he needs and he can thrive. Guidance and opportunity.
There’s been a controversy for years between genetics versus environment. But in my opinion, you can take any child and put them in a healthy environment and it won’t make him Einstein. You can take an Einstein and put him anywhere and he will probably still be a genius. But most of us are somewhere in between. A smart kid without guidance can only go so far. Give her education, nutrition, and opportunity and she might be sitting alongside a few Einsteins herself.
The plumber, the roofer and the electrician sell us a cure. They come to our house, fix the problem, and leave.
The consultant, the doctor (often) and the politician sell us the narrative. They don’t always change things, but they give us a story, a way to think about what’s happening. Often, that story helps us fix our problems on our own.
The best parents, of course, are in the story business. Teachers and bosses, too.
We need to encourage our girls to be smart, to be curious, to be strong, to change things, to ask questions and worry less about beauty and size 0 bodies.
Sometimes we have to become comfortable with who we are when we are alone. I was driving in my car yesterday, thinking of of all the things I’m afraid of. How I’ve tried so much to be what’s expected of me and to hide the unacceptable parts. Be more respectful, less quiet, open up and share my private thoughts. Be outgoing, win friends and influence people, stand tall and assert myself.
In the normal moments, I’m happy puttering around my house or watching a marathon of Doctor Who. I tried dating because I don’t want to become a hermit quite yet. Maybe when I’m 70. Most of the guys I’ve dated like to do things. Shopping, traveling, gambling, all those physical and crowd oriented activities. And I can do those things just like anyone else, but it makes me tired.
I remember in elementary school fluffing and enlarging my persona. No one wants to be thought of as boring. And being fearful and boring at the same time is a huge ick factor for children. So over the years I learned to say the right words when asked, what are your hobbies?What do you like to do in your spare time? Fluff. It was easy because most people don’t really care. They move on and I can go back to my book.
But that moment, while driving, I was alone. Just me and my thoughts and I was okay with them. I’ve finally accepted that they are who I really am. In that moment I was being myself. No act, no bluster, no fluff. And I liked it.
Sometimes it’s the ordinary things that don’t get your attention, but they change your life. The everyday habits of brushing your teeth and eating healthy, keep your body strong. The getting up and going to work on time keeps you with money in the bank. It’s ordinary, but it counts. Today I’m taking a bit from the greats.
The risk of skin cancer. The falling. Sand in your socks. The people hassling you for your spot on the wave. The pressure to do more sets. The other guys at the beach who don’t appreciate your style. The drudgery of doing it again tomorrow, when the weather sucks. And then every day, from now on, never ceasing.
Where would you go on vacation?
Your drudgery is another person’s delight. It’s only a job if you treat it that way. The privilege to do our work, to be in control of the promises we make and the things we build, is something worth cherishing.
“Champions don’t do extraordinary things,” Dungy would explain. “They do ordinary things, but they do them without thinking, too fast for the other team to react. They follow the habits they’ve learned.”
Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. -Robert Louis Stevenson
I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles. – Audrey Hepburn
past I didn’t punch. Not because I wasn’t angry, but I always thought of retaliation as unbearable. Maybe I haven’t changed much. The only thing that I know has changed is if you punch me, I will punch back.
I’m probably not ever going to be an aggressive person. It just doesn’t suit me. There are times though when the fight wells up in me. It takes a lot of practice to get a naturally restrained person to go outside of their boundaries. To speak up when angry. To protest when offended. To say NO when someone pushes their buttons.
I do wonder, if you are trained to be assertive or non-assertive, can you retrain yourself to be the opposite? What happens when military foot soldiers come back into society? When someone that must be aggressive on a daily basis needs to pick up the toddler from daycare? Just a curiosity on my part. Hardly a science experiment, but I wonder if it’s as difficult as teaching a compliant personality, like myself, to push her boundaries.
My first tendency may always be to pull my punches. I run into a conflict, so I stop. Well, maybe I’ll wait. Another day would be better. I’ve even thought to myself, maybe it’s just not in the plan. What plan? Whose plan? I have to remind myself that I’m the one in charge of my life. My plan. I must stand back up, dust myself off, and climb back into the saddle. I’ll try again.
To take a snippet from Seth Godin,
Where, precisely, do you go in order to get permission to make a dent in the universe?
The accepted state is to be a cog. The preferred career is to follow the well-worn path, to read the instructions, to do what we’re told. It’s safer that way. Less responsibility. More people to blame.
When someone comes along and says, “not me, I’m going down a different path,” we flinch.
I had someone tell me once that they had difficulty writing because they were always correcting their mistakes. I tried to explain the crazy and insane process of most writers but I don’t think I got the idea across. Like most people writers are nit-picky perfectionists. We want to cross all our T’s and dot our I’s also. We care about how everything looks just as much as anyone but your perfect first draft doesn’t impress me.
Writing is a craft. the correct usage of words and the perfect timing of sentences, these are the work of someone who has over many years developed the ability to hear the flow. To be able to develop a paragraph of fiction that sets you on the edge of your seat doesn’t happen in one writing. Writers have learned. First you take all the chaos of a story or whatever it is you want to say and you DUMP it in the middle of the paper. It’s a mess but it feels good to get it all out there. Then you walk away. Leave it there. Kinda like my picture of God in Genesis. BOOM, BANG! That’s where I want to hang the universe.
After some time later you start combing through all that crap on your page. Reorder here, cut there and add some more in to rephrase to the n’th degree until it reads exactly the way you want it. And it’s not finished until it’s perfect. Writers rarely sit down at a typewriter and start from the beginning Chapter 1. Never have. That’s why we have pencils and paper.
Sometimes I get myself into the frenzy of fixing everything. Those pants need hemmed. That filter is dirty. Ugh, the toilet needs cleaned. And the list goes on. If I’m not careful, I’m the frenzied lady who snaps at people in the grocery store because I still have laundry to do. Stop. Wait. Halt. It will get done. There’s no need to trip. I have to remember to enjoy this moment.
Here’s a quote from a blog I read,
WE ARE BECOMING ADDICTED TO CHAOS AND FRENZY
In talking with a bunch of MBA students at Brigham Young University the other night, I was asked whether blogging was really going to die soon. I replied, naturally, that radio died shortly after TV started, so yes, that was likely. (I wish there were a sarcasm font, but you get it). I did say, however, that we are the problem.
We are addicted to next. When we read our inbox, we’re always thinking about the next mail. When we browse the web, we are calibrated to scan quickly, skim often, and barely register what we see. It’s neither good nor bad. But it definitely is.
YOU CAN’T KEEP UP
A woman three days ago said, “I don’t like Twitter. I can’t keep up.” I said, “You don’t have to keep up. It’s a stream. Dip in. Say hi. Read what you want. Leave.”
But we think we have to keep up. We believe we have to read Mashable and TechCrunch and all those sites to know what’s new or who’s being acquired.
Hint: nearly none of us have to do that. Nearly none.
Another writer I enjoy is Seth Godin. I and many others quote him a lot, because he “gets it.”
At the same time…
The lizard brain is on high alert to make sure that everything is okay. The lizard brain can’t rest until it knows that everyone likes us, that no one is offended, that all graphs are ticking up and to the right and the future is assured. But of course, the future (and the present) isn’t perfect. It can’t be.
To craft a beautiful life takes effort. It takes focus on the most important things. These usually aren’t the urgent things. These are the moments you sit and read to your child. A kiss goodbye. Having coffee with a friend. Watching a storm come in. So the next time you find yourself running around like a crazy person, remember, you can never catch up. And sometimes we get so caught up in the running that we forget to enjoy the things that matter most.
You just never know. You start a project and have it all planned out in your mind, but BAM! it morphs into something different from what you expect. What I would like is to see from someone else’s eyes for a time. I like to read a variety of books to see how other people think. I live with myself all day long. I keep thinking that my way isn’t the best or maybe I don’t know what I’m doing, which often I don’t.
Aren’t we really all blundering around until we have an AHA! moment of our own? We read guides and how-tos or listen to advice from friends, but all they can tell is how to get there from the place they started.
While writing this bit, I have realized that honestly people might want to hear my story, from my point of view. Yes, it’s nice for me to learn different views, but others want to hear mine. Learning is good, but my learning is sometimes a duck and dodge move, an avoidance because I’m afraid.
There are scary monsters under my bed and they pop their heads out to remind me of my insecurities. Wouldn’t want to forget and get all big-headed, would we? So my fears remind me of my humanity. My fears keep me tethered in this reality.
It’s good to remember our human side. I sometimes forget that it’s my humanity, my falling down and getting back up, my bleeding bandaged psych that gives me any wisdom at all. It is my wandering that teaches me the best way to go. I would always question, is my way better or theirs? So since I have wandered and gotten lost, then found my way back out again, I can say with confidence, this way works.
I have a thing for experts, as many of you know. I’ve written about it before. How to win in 10 easy steps. Become a superhero! Yes. That’s what I want. The reason is simple. I like shortcuts. I don’t like being stupid or even appearing stupid. Being caught in my insecurities is embarrassing. I’ve never liked it. Maybe no one does. Lately, learning to get comfortable with my fear has been my greatest strength. It has come in handy many times. Each time I feel the fear, I know I’m in new territory. New territory is a good thing for me. It means I will keep my mind young and I’m learning and developing my adaptive mental muscles.
If you read any of Seth Godin’s work, you know that he talks about this new age we have entered. No longer in the Industrial age, we are all learning to adapt to the Communication and Connectivity Age. Conformity and Standardization are the trademarks of the Industrial age. Raising our kids to be “good” and to sit still and be mindless sheep are no longer the best ways to prepare them for the future. They must learn to adapt and to watch for trends themselves. To assert themselves in difficult situations. Handle conflicts diplomatically. Life is no longer about might equals right.
It’s sometimes hard for me to spot the trends. I’m not talking about skirt lengths and fall colors here. More the way we earn money or do business. I’m thinking about the story “Who Moved My Cheese?” If you have never heard the story, it’s a very simple one. Mice in the maze know where their cheese is stored. They know the quickest way to get to it and check on it everyday. as all good mice should. These are the cleverest mice. The fastest and the most efficient. Mice college, work hard ethics and all of that stuff. But one day their cheese wasn’t in it’s normal spot. What to do? Sit and cry in the corner? Yell and scream? Protest on Wall Street? No, that’s not how the cleverest mice handled it. They immediately went looking for it. No pause, no emotional damage. Pffft,…that didn’t work out. Move on. No indignation or resentment. But you promised! How dare you? Just move forward. Try the next door. Then try the next. Forget what this one or that one promised. Forget how it’s always been done or the way it’s supposed to be. Try every door. Check every cabinet, every shelf. Keep trying until you find it.
People that succeed don’t just try once. They try this way, then that way, then another until they figure out what works.
I’ve been wavering about pushing myself or not. I do push a bit. Maybe a little more than I should. I want to get things done. I don’t want to put any of my shiny baubles (my projects) down. Like the monkey in the story of how to catch a monkey fame, I have my hands full. And I want it all.
But I’m uncertain. Afraid to push myself. Afraid of getting a migraine. Of wearing myself out. I really don’t know what I’m truly capable of. Not yet at least.
Cue theme song
For a long time I tried to psychoanalyze myself, to cure my pain. Somehow I believed that the migraines were either subconscious or even a conscious way of avoiding trying. As if I didn’t want to succeed and was sabotaging my own efforts. With that theory, my mind reverts to a familiar memory. It’s like a theme song in the back of my life.
When I was in junior high, I was the first in line for our fitness test. This was my first year in junior high and my first year to do any type of fitness testing. I was fairly athletic but tiny. We did our 1 mile jog around the gym. There was the jumps, long and short. A pegboard climb and the chin up. We lined up in alphabetical order. My last name started with a B in those days used to going first, so this was no big deal. The chin up bar was in front of me. It glared I’m sure. Taunting. The chin up was easy. Hanging not so bad. Continuing to hang for an extended length of time was boring. I felt awkward. People were staring, waiting, and eager to get to their turn. Impatient. And I felt the eyes of everyone on me. So I dropped.
“Everyone lives with self mythology. The more important a memory is to the story we tell ourselves about ourselves, the more often we rehearse the memory. And the more often we relive those memories, the less likely it is that they are true.”
This made we wonder about my vivid memory. How true is my belief and interpretation? I’m not trying. I give up. Am I really not trying? Is it because of fear or is there another reason? So I dig a bit deeper.
What if I stumble? What if I fall?
What if I try my very hardest and it’s not enough? What if I found the man of my dreams and I screw it up? I know this is a stupid question. I know it’s an irrational fear. I recognize it for what it is, but I also know that it’s there jeering at me. I hear the whispers it breathes. Yep, but I know it’s a lie. It’s a fictional story made up by the drama team to make a story more..DRAMATIC! It gives the story some punch. It’s like the music in the background of a scary show. It isn’t the truth, but it does color the truth brighter. How do I know this? Because no one succeeds the first time they step out in new territory. Not Lewis and Clark, not Abraham Lincoln, not Hillary Clinton, and not you and me. The first time is for measurement only. There is no line drawn in the sand when you begin. You can’t do better because you’ve never tried before.
Going back to the memory that I replay over and over. When I believed the story I told myself (I don’t try hard enough), I felt I should have tried to hold the chin up a lot longer. I could have beaten all of their times, maybe. But I had no standard of how long I could hold it. No idea if I could do 10 minutes or 5. How could I? I had never timed myself. I was still a kid and didn’t have experience to know what is in me or what I should expect of me. That’s what the teenage years do for us. They help us see where our strengths and weaknesses are. And then we can work through them. Up until that time, you have no expectations of yourself. Or at least very few.
Thinking thinking always thinking
I realize that I think too much. I read too much into a symptom or an illness. Migraines just are. People get sick. We live and we die. It’s really all pretty simple. Until it gets complicated. And only we can complicate it. We put in our fears and expectations when life is really just about living and dying. In between we put in all the Shoulds and Musts until we have our own list of complicated Ten Commandments. Mine at times is like reading Leviticus in the Bible, The King James Version.
You are here X
So the first step I take doesn’t count. And if it counts, it only counts as a measuring point. Each effort after that is to hone the process. Only after having a starting point can you have any idea of where you are.
Third Eye Blind – Jumper
Here is a funny scene from Yes Man – Jumper Scene singing Jumper
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