It’s so common to us that we are almost blind to it at this point. The release of the latest version of something. Whether it’s a car, an app for the phone or a video game; the old version is eventually replaced by the latest version. Sometimes this comes with huge upgrades that revolutionize the way that we think about the product. Other times it messes up something that was working to our liking. The thing is that even if we don’t see the changes, they’re happening all the time.
It’s so much easier to understand with technology especially. The cellphone does not change shape or size when you add a new app or update it. It simply acquires the new programming and moves on. Often bugs need to be fixed but I’m pretty certain that Bill Gates does not lament the fact that Windows 7.1 was not as good as Windows 10.2. There is an understanding that each new version is intended to build upon the past.
In a very similar way, here you are. Version 2018.193 of yourself. You may look at yourself as the same person that you’ve always been but that’s most definitely not true. You’ve learned new things since version 2015.125 (after the decimal is the number of days past in that year). The question becomes whether or not you want to just maintain what is working or truly upgrade. Unlike Windows, you’re not going to be rereleased. Your bug fixes and big upgrades have to all happen at the same time. AND YOU ARE THE LEAD DEVELOPER! Only you can make changes to the system.
So what is the latest version of you going to look like? Is it just like today’s you but with a few more miles worn off the treads? I hope not. I hope that you believe that you are capable of a big jump. A leap from the version that you are today to the version that you’ve always wanted to be. My hope is that you’re making the plans and putting in the code to launch yourself to a whole new level. So that people who haven’t seen you in a while will take notice to the fact that the latest version of you is a huge upgrade!
The world is filled with things that cut. Like walking through a patch of thorn bushes with exposed skin, injury is an almost certainty. In the short term, bandaging the cuts is the right strategy. In time, the wounds will heal. If too many cuts pile up, the bandages become wrappings. You become a mummy. Movements constrained by the bandages on wounds that never healed. Avoiding cuts completely is an impossibility but choosing a new path and learning how to wield a machete are both options. Band aids are not a long term solution, they are a short term fix. This concept is obvious when thinking about real wounds but with metaphorical wounds, this is a common strategy.
The key has always been preventative medicine/measures. Solving old problems with solutions that minimize or eradicate the issue is the best way to get better problems. That is an understanding that everyone needs to have: PROBLEMS AREN’T GOING AWAY! The most that you can hope for is to have the best problems possible because you’ve solved the old and boring ones. Why would you choose to flail around in that same old thorn bush when you can figure out how to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?
I know that many of you out there are bleeding and it hurts. My heart goes out to you and I hope that this message will help you move on. Break free of the thorns and find the path to the mountain where you can see for miles. It won’t be easy but it may be worth it!
Have a great day!
Seinfeld is one of my favorite TV shows of all time. It has so many memorable episodes and characters. Despite my love for the series, I’m not a huge fan of the early episodes. Many of the episodes, I just don’t find funny at all or they feel forced. This is not surprising in the slightest. It took those early episodes in order to get to the later ones. Early failures lead to better episodes later. A few of the story-lines were even repeated with better effect the second time around. The early episodes of Seinfeld were not a good indication of where the series was going.
Despite all of the examples of enduring early hardship, there is still a pervasive desire for instantaneous results. People want to be hit right away, if not sooner. The perception of overnight success is usually due to the glossing over of the hard work done before the big break. Sylvester Stallone was a breakout start with Rocky! After he was a starving actor who had to deny a big pay day in order to star in his own movie. J.K. Rowling had the blockbuster Harry Potter book series followed by movies. After she was on welfare and had her book rejected by many publishers. Most of us are looking for the triumph without the trials. It seems that it doesn’t usually work that way.
The road to success in anything will most likely be filled with potholes, detours and poorly constructed bridges. The sports car or limo that you’ve imagined yourself arriving in will probably not make the trip. In fact you’ll probably have to go most of the way on foot. Are you willing to make that trip? Or will you take the easy road to Nowhere Near Where You Want To Be? It sounds like a town that many people live in while they dream about being someplace else.
Get on the road today!
At one point in my educational career, transparencies were the height of technology. By today’s standards they are obsolete but at the time they were extremely helpful. The ability to manipulate and project for a group to see was used daily. My most vivid memories of them were from history class. A territory could be shown with a variety of borders and other influencers. Depending on the transparency that was placed onto the territory, a force like the Roman Empire could be all encompassing or completely inconsequential. The territory was always the same but the translucent lines of borders and boundaries changed. Even though the transparency projectors have all but disappeared, the influence of invisible and imaginary lines has not.
They are truly all around us, the transparent lines that often direct our lives. The boundary lines, goal lines, bottom lines, traffic lines and party lines are subtly informing our every day experience. So many different ways that we can choose to box ourselves in or direct our movement by using these lines. The issue comes when the lines become walls that imprison.
Many of us have constructs that we have developed or have been developed for us. Some are almost invisible until we look for them. For example you are reading this blog in English. If it is your first language, it changes the way that you look at the world compared to other languages. A simple sentence like “I dropped the plate.” illustrates the point. There is an underlying sense of responsibility attached to action because of the subject “I”. Conversely the Spanish representation of the situation, “Se me cayó el plato.” literally translates to “The plate fell from me.” For better or worse, the influence of simple things such as this can monumental and often taken for granted. So the first step is to recognize as many of the lines that are influencing you as you can. Then decide what makes sense.
When you peel back the layers of transparencies from your life, you will most likely find things that you’ve taken for granted that just don’t make sense. Driving on the right side of the road may be a useful constraint to keep. However there are probably others that can be amended or dropped in order to better service you in the pursuit of what you want today. Perhaps you’ve always believed that you’re not smart, that planning isn’t important, that sex is REALLY important, that you need to make it on your own or a million other things. Maybe you’ll keep most of your beliefs but it is worth the examination to see if you’ve painted yourself into a corner with beliefs that don’t make sense anymore. If you want to be a millionaire but think that making minimum wage is the best you can do, you’ve got a problem. Do the lines that you’ve painted for yourself point you in the direction that you want to be going?
Physically, mentally and emotionally; what do you believe about yourself, people and the world? Write it down in your notebook, iPhone, laptop or anything else that works for you. Then pick through it to see what you’re keeping, tweaking or tossing. It’s up to you to clean up whatever mess you might have. If you’re honest in your assessment, you’ll be able to see through the person that you need to read better than anyone else: yourself.
Go get your hands dirty boys and girls!