“I don’t have time for all this!”
Yes, you do.
A person is what she thinks about. As a man thinks, his thoughts become him. If she thinks she will fail, she will. If he thinks he can do it, he will find a way. It’s that simple, and it’s that complicated. Because thinking is step one; now comes the doing.
A person does what he thinks about. As she works on the task, her thoughts determine the outcome. If he thinks he’ll miss the deadline, he will. If she thinks she can make it, she will. As Mr. Ford (or whoever) said, whether you think you can do it, or you think you can’t, you’re right.
Break it down so you can see the possibilities. Can I plot out a book in X days? Sure, if I invest Y minutes or Z hours a day. It’s like the person who wants to stop drinking: Can you go without a drink for this minute? Good. Now, how about this next minute? And the one coming after this? Pretty soon you’ve gone without drinking for a half-hour, then an hour, then two hours and four hours and eight.
Don’t have time for all this? Can you focus on doing it for one minute? Good. Now, how about this next minute? And the one coming after this? Pretty soon you’ve made the time and it’s done. Try it.
Think outside the box, because there is no box. Not really.
The box is the little cube where you store all the ways you have done things as they always have been done, the ways you have done them, and the ways everyone says they’re supposed to be done.
But you know there has to be a better way. And what you may have forgotten is the box is not there. It’s just a mythical construct created to memorialize the routine.
The routine is easy. The routine gets the job done. But is it enough? Does it get you to the goal? More important, does it get you to YOUR goal? Does it fulfill you, or is it just a paycheck? The paycheck is even sweeter when the work fulfills you.
Imagine how it could be done if you weren’t in this box. Because remember, there is no box. It’s a convenient structure you and your colleagues built to get the job done. It you poke your hand at the walls of this box, it will pass right through and you may be on your path to a better way.
So: Imagine what could be done outside the box, because you’re already outside, because there is no box.
Here in the USA it’s Election Day, when we learn who will be the boss for the next few years and who will be in a constant, unending temper tantrum.
In recent years the tantrum has been especially shrill and ugly. Each campaign has been more unseemly, especially as the world of politics and government has devolved into a perpetual campaign.
Oddly, the harder the mongers of fear and anger have worked to divide us, the more an old Who song jangles through my mind, the words screaming out as the election winners prepare to take office:
Meet the new boss: Same as the old boss.
What keeps me from despair, and what I hope will encourage you, is something that popped into my mind a few years ago while dashing off another burst of thought like this one, and so, again, I quote myself.
“Freedom is not about having the right ruler. Oh wait, yes it is. Freedom is understanding that I am the boss of me.”
Beware the glowing box that mesmerizes you and seizes your attention. You wake with a clear mind and focused purpose, and it scatters your thoughts to the wind.
Set your mind on the day’s tasks before you activate the electronics, and don’t let the bells, beeps and whistles drag you off-course once you hit the “on” switch.
. . . But then, of course, it’s too late. You already hit the “on” switch, and you’re reading this. Quick! The “on” switch is also the “off” switch. Go on: All this will be here waiting when you return.
Last night was one of those football games people will remember for years. Losing 20-0 at one point, the Green Bay Packers rallied around injured quarterback Aaron Rodgers to beat the Chicago Bears 24-23. It was one of those defining moments that adds to The Legend of Aaron Rodgers, with a host of lead-by-examples – as Churchill is said to have said, “Never, never, never give up.” If you can keep going, keep going.
It seemed Rodgers’ return, even limping, inspired the rest of the team. “If he can come back and play, I can block better so he’s not hit again. I can catch that ball. I can keep the Bears from making that first down.” The team that played the second half was more energized and more focused on winning every moment than the team that played the first half.
If you can keep going, keep going. Rodgers did say the doctors told him he would not make the injury worse by playing on it, so there is that cautionary caveat – but if you can keep going, keep going. Play the game as hard as you can until the final whistle, and you just may overcome every hurdle. If by chance you do fall short, at least you know you gave it all you had. In this case, all they had was just enough.
It’s become my theme of the week, I guess …
“When a nation expects the worst from its people and institutions and its experts focus exclusively on faults, hope dies …
“Fault-finding expends so much negative energy that nothing is left over for positive action. It takes courage and strength to solve the genuine problems that afflict every society. Sure, there will always be things that need fixing. But the question is, Do you want to spend your time and energy tearing things down or building them up?”
— from the “Optimism” chapter in Hope from My Heart: Ten Lessons for Life by Rich DeVos, 2000.
Earlier in the same chapter is this gem that echoes my posts of the last few days, as well: “If you expect good things to happen, they usually do.”
Inevitably making comments like this leads to responses over who started it and how everyone else is doing it. I hear Mom’s words echoing through the ages: “Maybe he started it, but you can finish it,” and of course, “If everyone else jumped over a cliff, would you jump, too?”
In a quiet place, in a quiet moment, the scene opens on a guy sitting in a chair reading and, in between lines, reflecting on his life to date. Something is amiss in his soul, and yet his soul is calm as can be.
He frets at the thought that his noble old dog is showing signs of age, but he accepts he has no power to do anything except love her day by day.
That seems to be what feels amiss – the peace in his heart in the face of coming sorrow.
On the other hand, there’s no point in railing against an unfair but inevitable reality – not when there are still toys to gnaw and fields to wander.
Where do they all come from, these bug-eyed monsters, these giant ants in the New Mexico desert who fly to Los Angeles to live in the storm sewers? What brought to existence the man who pieced together body parts and lighted a spark of life into the remains? Why tell the story of doomed lovers on a ship destined to sink? What made the story of the man whisked to Mars leap into Edgar Rice Burroughs’ mind and out his fingers?
How do we see things that never were and cannot be? What allows us to see a better world – or a worse world? We conjure spirits and realities out of thin air. It would be best if we use this power wisely, and for good, not evil. Continue reading →