Does truth have a shelf life? Can/will everything we hold to be true eventually be disputed and ‘disproved’? How much of your world today still holds onto ‘facts’ that you learned in elementary school? How much will still pass a veracity and authenticity test in 20 years?
Are you like me? I try to hold onto my truth bias as gospel until the last second and then surrender to the new certainty. I wiggle and squirm for quite a while to confirm what I believe in the face of contradiction. When the tipping point happens I can two- facedly expound on the new honest to goodness truth.
If my exactitude and rightness is so malleable why do I grasp and defend with such persistence? I think it is about my foundation. I have pretty good sea legs when I am afloat but appreciate getting back on solid ground. It is exhausting (or it feels exhausting) fighting the swell and stepping onto a dock seems secure.
What if the only way to continue the journey is to get a bit wobbly and then trust that your values, experience and gifts will keep you safe in the sea of change? I have, on occasion, trusted and found the next leg in my adventure to be exciting and impactful.
Very little happens if you stand on the dock too long. Step out and set yourself adrift for the next exciting experience.
Every day I have opportunities to be better than yesterday. Different in some small way. Smarter in relationships. More patient in trying circumstances. More persistent in trying circumstances. On the days that I take small steps, I usually succeed. When I try to jump the shark and take one giant step I usually fail.
My life has been a small step, small step, side step, small step, back step, big step journey. Yet, there are times each day that I attempt a flying leap over the first or last crevice. I am lucky to grab the other side and fortunate when I don’t get hurt falling in the hole.
Are you taking small steps towards your 2016 goals? Are you aware of the opportunities that you face each day and the chance to do something slightly different/better?
I am back believing that all our boundaries are malleable and need testing in every situation. Take one more trip around the track, one more lap in the pool, one more email to a friend, one more glass of water and another serving of vegetables. Take another small step today, tomorrow and all your tomorrows.
Generally I would say all reasonable goals are achievable but just like the serenity prayer I have a discernment problem.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,The courage to change the things I can,And the wisdom to know the difference. My problem is that haven’t mastered the wisdom part.
I have been chasing some goals, that I still believe are reasonable but progress towards them has slowed or ceased. For example, I set a goal of running a sub 25 minute 5k. Seems possible even though 2 years ago I was running around 35 minutes and that I am not 61 years old. In the first few months my time fell and my pace went up. I plateaued at 30 minutes for a while and took up some coaching to break the next barrier. I can run under 29 most days and ran 27:35 in an October race but haven’t broke 28 minutes since.
I understand that there are so many circumstances at play – rest, nutrition, elevation, motivation, injury but I am disappointed that the progression hasn’t been on my schedule.
Should I let the disappointment deter me from chasing the goal – I don’t think so because the happiness is actually in the pursuit of stretch goals. (there is another circumstance – should I stretch before or after or both). Maybe what I am learning is that my other goals that I easily achieved were too easy.
How about you? Are you chasing goals that exceed your immediate grasp?
Make Today Remarkable, in the happiness of pursuit,
I was down at the marina in Oceanside last night, just after last light (amazing stars and clear sky) looking for a black crowned night heron. We found him on the fishing pier scanning the shoreline for a late night meal.
Most nights a resident group of sea lions can be found on the docks near the Oceanside Police Department, Last night there was a group of 25ish (hard to count when they are piled haphazardly). I at and watched the interactions that took place between individuals and groups as they shifted and jockeyed for position. Not unlike a workplace or other social group, there were troublemakers who seemed to find it difficult to stay still and/or quiet. Every few minutes they shifted or flipped and provoked a neighbour (sometimes it seemed intentional). There were barks, moans and feinted nips. The intruder was attempting to move up the pecking order and was mostly put in her place.
There were older sea lions with established positions who didn’t seem bothered by the commotion; they had nothing to prove today and ignored most of the action. If a peers became too aggressive or disruptive, one quick bark in their direction settled the argument.
The alpha male had his spot, somewhat separate from the group where he rested comfortably with the chosen female (of the day). She was protected from and excluded from the skirmishes. Being his favorite had privilege and I expect responsibilities. Last night all we witnessed was the leader getting his head rubbed and offering a comfortable, obliging subordinate.
I realize that the exercise was pure anthropomorphism but still enjoyable and enlightening. Does your workplace resemble a raft, a rookery, a harem? Are their alphas with betas who are secure in their position? Are the gammas and omegas trying to move up the ladder?
Make Today Interesting, by observing the interplay,
I am re-reading Margaret Heffernan’s ” Willful Blindness” and was reminded about the Febreeze (I think) ad that depicts how we can go nose blind to the odours around us because the become part of the soup we are swimming in. What would be the Febreeze solution to not seeing other possibilities as possible because we have such a great investment in continuing the current practice? What spray could get rid of (not mask) the stench of complacency? How do we break the confirmation bias mold and launch into the unknown?
Maybe it happens by playing against tendencies. I am going to explore ‘taking the other path’ this month and will report in when I am stunned, surprised or disturbed by the results. I will try to persistently think about my decisions and when faced with a fork, take the one that my ‘instincts’ reject. Today, I don’t know what to expect but I am excited about how shaking things up a bit more might unfold.
Make Today Remarkable, by getting rid of some blindness,
My ‘lifelong learning experience’ likely speaks to my world view and tendencies but reflecting on yours inside the same may be of benefit to you.
Timing – I am so definitely a morning person. I think better in the morning. I read faster and with greater comprehension in the morning. My ears are tuned to podcasts, books on tape and audio apps at at higher level first thing in the morning. I am awake just before 5am and start my day almost immediately.
Kickstart – Regardless of your prime time you may find jumping right into the learning helpful. I schedule news updates and blog posts for before I awake so they are there beckoning when I open my email.
Preparation – My brain wakes me up but I need to help it and the rest of my body with the right nourishment. Two glasses of water before I get rolling to far into the day rehydrates my brain and kicks off my filtration system. I am better when I am regular and water helps. If I am constipated then my brain seems plugged up too.
Commitment – For regular readers you will know where this is going. I think I have used this Goethe quote in posts 5 times in 2015.
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”
Just Do It – Get started tomorrow (this afternoon if that is your timing tendency). Learn something new, discover something you ‘will never need’, challenge your opinions and biases.
Tomorrow, 6 specific sources of learning and why you should use them.
Change is in the air, but the more things change, the more they stay the same.
For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. ~ Steve Jobs
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. ~ Reinhold Niebuhr
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.
~ Jack Layton
When you blame others, you give up your power to change. ~ Robert Anthony
The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it. ~ Flannery O’Connor
Last night we had the privilege of hearing Emma Hooper @waitress4thebees read from her novel ” Etta, Otto, Russell and James” (EOR&J)at Calgary Reads Big Book Club (BBC). I was given the opportunity to introduce Emma and I was gushing about the beauty and character of this début. Emma shared readings, stories and music with us. She talked about her writing process and a pretty weird publishing story. The evening was a success for Calgary Reads and I am sure more BBCs will be just as great.
Given the stage, Emma took the opportunity to share herself and some of her worldview. She said ” If you have ever said “I have always wanted to ….. go to Japan, learn to. Play the cello… The only thing standing in your way is you. Get up and do the I have always wanted to …” If you haven’t read EOR&J I recommend it with extreme prejudice – it is the first book in the past 20 years to unseat a book from my ‘desert island bundle of 5’. The worldview fits with the theme of adventuring and not knowing if this is your last great adventure.
For readers, you know that I am a proponent of change and risk and this gentle encouragement from Emma seemed to resonate with so many in attendance, I am anxious to see how we live out the challenge.
Make Today Remarkable, by going on an adventure,
Even on my best days I have unexpected challenges and opportunities. Knowing which are which and how to move forward is tricky. In 2008, I made a resolution to stop being a self righteous martyr to lost causes. I haven’t stuck to that very well and can still be blinded by tilting windmills. When my vision isn’t clear, I tend to ‘stick to my guns’ and plow ahead even when the unexpected suggests a different path. There are at least 4 reasons I refuse to detour; ego, lack of knowledge, fear, stubbornness – as I wrote those there are likely many more.
As of today, I am going to watch for the big Detour Ahead signs and take the turn, just to see where the road takes me. I can always return to the bump in the road and charge the way I was going.
I am going to be open to the idea that the new route is offering a better way and if I ‘give it a try’, I might find a solution to the problem or a remarkable aspect I hadn’t considered. I am going to (try) to see detours as opportunities to see something new, learn something else, and as an opportunity to improve.
Make Today Remarkable, by taking a turn,
I know it sounds like a hyperbole but unless I/we begin with the premise that all our ideas, all our opinions, all our actions (collective and individual), and all our truths need to be open to examination, we are doomed to the curse of complacency.
I can go through my day, my week, my year cocksure that what I see as truth is what everyone should see. Ten years ago my sister gave me a birthday gift; a stone coaster that was engraved with “Everyone is entitled to my opinion.” It was humorous, ironic, and accurate. I am opinionated and vocal but I can also be single minded. I can go through months without examining a position or premise that just gets stronger as I plow ahead. Gradually, gradually, gradually, suddenly I am convinced that my way is the only way.
In the best circumstances, I am awakened in the night, often at 3:37 am, with the question ” why am I so sure that I am right?” When I don’t ignore the voice, I get the opportunity to re examine my thesis or action in a different light. Everything has an odd perspective in the middle of the night. Insight sometimes comes from the reflection. Confirmation of the direction but not the tactics arises. Tweaks to the communication show up. I am shocked by a horrible realization that I am misguided and need to begin again from a different place. There is a momentary disruption in my pursuit of meaning but if I don’t surrender to my ego and push ahead regardless there is always a new powerful conviction for me to be energized by.
Take the time to examine your most strongly held views and habits. Listen to the middle of the night voice. Seek out a different perspective through research, debate, reflection and writing. Be willing to see/hear alternatives and act on them.