I remember it all too plainly. Sitting in a cramped seat on an airplane flying back from Europe after almost a month of traveling with my best friend. We had attended five games of the World Cup and visited a slew of sites and cities. It was truly one of the greatest times of my life! However on the plane ride back I repeatedly listened to the song “The God of Wine” by Third Eye Blind. Despite the amazing experiences that I’d just had, I was heading back into a world that I could feel was going to hurt me. For some reason this premonition got stuck within this song and I can return to any time that I hear the song.
The trip ended up being a deathblow to the multiple year relationship that I had forecast in my head to be “the one”. Returning home should have been a step back into a world of known entities but instead it was foreign. My girlfriend informed me that things were over on the night that I got back. Our plans to move in together and any other future we had were now gone. In many ways I was homeless. The person and the future that I had put at the center of my universe were both gone and picking up those pieces was going to be difficult. I’d love to say that the resilient part of me kicked in and I made instantaneous progress. Quite the opposite, there was a long period of self-doubt, reflection and possibly some depression. In the end I found myself sobered by the experience. The song is like a time capsule where I get to travel back to who I was. Looking back on that time I realize how appropriate the song was to the moment. In many senses I was intoxicated by the future that I wanted from the situation. I was running my life under the influence of what I wanted to happen but not acting in a way that was going to get me there. The crash was inevitable.
So as we all move forward it is most important for us to keep our hands on the wheel, foot poised near the brake or accelerator and eyes on the road. Issues arise when the idea of the destination overrides the moments of driving. The process is where we spend most of our time. Yet we allow where we want to be supersede where we are. Remember not to fall in love with your future so much that you forget to live in your present. There signs you must follow and detours you’ll need to take along your route. Becoming intoxicated with your picture of the future may just end you up in a ditch!
Drive safely people!
The future is out there and you’re going to arrive at it whether you’re ready or not. The problem is that the future is unclear like on a really foggy morning. The haze itself is nothing to fear. It will dissipate as you get closer. It’s possible to move at full speed in territory that is known and clear. On new and uncertain paths, it’s important to manage your speed with your field of vision. Going too fast on a new road could end in a crash. The thing is that most people are not afraid of the ditch, pothole or even the wall. They’re afraid of the uncertainty that the fog brings.
The fog is the barrier that they can’t get past because it is SO frightening not to know. Fear is the fog and it avoiding it shrinks the world down to almost nothing. The only way to get the fog to disappear is to go into it. It doesn’t disperse with time, compliments from friends or likes social media. Motion/action is what is needed to break through the fog barrier. By all means, manage your speed and watch out for potholes but never let the fog stop you in your tracks. It’s not a wall! Unless you make it one.
Move on through today!
Walking through a hay field or a field of tall grass, it can be difficult to see stones on the ground until you are right above them. The hay is the first and only thing that you see as you look forward or backward. If you were to pick up a stone and throw it straight forward in your path, it would probably disappear from your sight. However if you repeated this action enough and your throw was straight, the stones would knock over some of the hay and the previously thrown stones would resurface farther down the field. With enough repetition and accuracy, you could develop a path of stones that would rise to meet you as you walked. This is most definitely not the way that I take walks but it represents something that I aspire to do regularly.
As we all walk through life, we have opportunities that come to us. We can only take opportunities in the present. The past is behind us and the future is beyond us. However much like the stones in the hay field, our present actions can effect our future outcomes. If we are consistently throwing stones of fitness forward, it creates a path that makes our journey easier. However when we throw the occasional stone, we usually cannot find it in the future because it gets lost in the hay. Consistently acting in the present is the only way to have an effect on the future.
In order for you to get what you want out of life you need to be taking SADD (Simple Actions Done Daily). Just because something is simple, doesn’t mean that it’s easy. Going to the gym is a simple action but it’s not easy. However if you do that simple action daily, you are throwing stones forward. If you do a daily action long enough, then you will have a system that makes throwing the stones automatic. The path is picked up only to be laid back down in front of you like the tread of a tank. Start building the tread of your tank today.
“I’ve spent the past few years building up an immunity to iocane powder!” -The Dread Pirate Roberts/Wesley
It was a strategic maneuver. Obviously Wesley knew that at some point he would be faced with a situation where drinking poison would save his life. However since iocane is odorless and tasteless, the experience was not done for enjoyment but rather protection. If Wesley had been alive in modern or realistic times, he would have had a greater number of choices to kill Vizzini. It just would have taken years and not moments to kill him using a soft drink, ultraviolet sun-rays, fast-food and stress-laden office job. If you haven’t understood any of this post yet, stop everything and watch “The Princess Bride” right now!
Now that you’re back or never left, it should be obvious to most that our lives are full of possible poisons. Some can be instantaneous killers. Others take years to grab hold and choke the life out of people. Why are we surrounded by so much poison? Because we want to be! We really don’t want the literal or figurative death that they carry but it is usually an unwanted side-effect to some deliciousness. I use the word delicious to describe some positive feeling sensation associated with a negative action or product. It does not specifically have to be a food/drink.
The delicious moment trumps the long term poisonous effect. It is all over our society: food, drink, relationships, entertainment and the list goes on. I’m sure that it is not impossible but it would definitely be difficult to go “poison free”. So I would not ask that of anyone. Since I mainly write this blog to challenge myself, the challenge that I lay before you and I is to give up two delicious poisons this week. Tuesday (8/25) to Tuesday (9/1). Leave a comment with your two and be honest with yourself and me if you drop the ball. It’s not failure, it’s data! You’ve learned something about yourself. My two poisons are: Iced Tea and ice cream. I also promise to leave a comment if I fall short. People who know me will recognize the difficulty of this. Can you give up Facebook, unnecessary cellphone use, your anger, that cup of coffee or cigarette?
“Never go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” -Vizzini
Each year my brother and I go for a hike on the Appalachian Trail. It is one of my favorite times of the year. It’s an awe-inspiring thing. The trail is only a few feet wide but it is over two thousand miles long. The path is usually easy enough to follow because lots of people hike it each year. This past spring we hiked our normal section in reverse. Due to an overflowing stream, we ended up on the wrong trail for a while. Eventually we were able to get back to the AT but first we had to get our bearings and hiked some new ground with new sites. Hiking the AT is a great experience that I’ve enjoyed a lot. It’s not the only path and it’s not the path for everyone.
While hiking the AT is great, it is a horrible path to be on if you’re trying to get to Ohio. As I prepare for another year in the classroom, I wonder how many of our paths are broken. We have constructed so many procedures, social norms and belief systems. It seems as though many of them are broken or breaking. The 20th Century American Human had a pretty clear cut set of guidelines for his or her “success”. Money, fame, power, and possessions were indicators of “success”. Perhaps they still are but I don’t know that the old paths still lead to those desired ends. The fact that we have been going down these paths for generations will be little consolation to the young people who end up lost on “the right path”.
Perhaps what we need now is a compass and a machete rather than a path. The future is an uncertain thing. Following the well-worn path may still get you to its historical end but it may help more to question the path. Is this the right path for you? At bare minimum the question and the decision to follow or not puts your life into your own hands. In the end that’s where it should be anyway. If you follow in everyone else’s footsteps and don’t like where you end up, then you made the mistake, not the path.
Find your True North and follow it this week.
Our beliefs are extremely important tools that we use to form who we are and who we can be. Although the title of this blog may seem negative, it is intended to have a positive outcome. It is intended to add some inner dialogue that will help you to achieve a goal, create something, improve something, change a habit or any other endeavor that is difficult.
Stop believing that it will be easy!
Stop believing that anyone will do it for you!
Stop believing that it’s too big for you to pull off!
Stop believing that “You Suck” voice inside your head!
Stop believing that you need to wait for the time to be right!
Stop believing that you’re too tired!
Stop believing that people will laugh at you!
Stop believing that anyone is going to help you more than you help yourself!
Stop believing that there are too many obstacles!
Stop believing that your past failures matter enough to stop you from trying again!
Stop believing that there’s nothing you can do!
Start believing in you, in possibility, in the future!
Stepping on the gas pedal of life may get you there fast but without the steering wheel, you don’t get to decide where that is.