This is your one and only opportunity at TODAY! Yes tomorrow is right around the corner but there is no guarantee that the same situations, circumstances or people will be available. Whether you are truly in a once in a lifetime situation or simply building the inertia that will be necessary to get you over the mountain that your climbing; TODAY CANNOT BE DISCOUNTED! So give it the attention and forethought that an opportunity like this deserves. If you treat today like every other day, then that is exactly what it will be. However if you treat it like the unique opportunity that it is, you’re more likely squeeze all of the juice out of it. So ask yourself the following questions:
What do I want long term?
What do I want short term?
What can I do today that will bring me closer to both?
Once you’ve identified those three things, then take action! You can’t do everything today but you can do something. Your life is a series of one day sales. Can you become the best possible shopper or leave the store empty handed because you didn’t notice the signs? The choice is up to you!
In about a month and a half, I’ll be moving to Virginia. It’s an exciting time! Filled with all kinds of possibilities. While we’re looking forward to that future, we must first deal with the daunting task of moving all (or most or some) of our stuff. The process of packing is a necessary evil where you must decide what is going with you and what things just need to go! Some people have trouble letting go of the things that they’ve accumulated over the years. For better or worse, we get attached to things from the past and have trouble letting go.
The same holds true for the events from our past. Some are vital and need to be packed in bubble wrap to make sure that they never get damaged. While others should be sold at a garage sale or taken to the dump. It’s difficult though. Somehow the events of our lives feel like part of us and letting go of anything seems like a mild betrayal to who we really are. Much like the physical moving, the weight of carrying the past into the future is a consideration to be made.
Since we are talking about emotional weight rather than the physical, the process for unloading or putting old memories into deep storage is different. It is actually the process of making the memories that support the new future bigger/more important or re-purposing those unhelpful memories. Talk about, envision and feel the stories from your past that you want to carry forward with more intensity and belief that it is who you are. Let the less than helpful ones fade or flip them to support where you are going rather than where you’ve been. That breakup or firing does not need to be a scar on your self-esteem. It can be a rallying cry for better performance in the future. Those “small” accomplishments that you overlook when you discuss what you’ve done can be made larger and more vivid. It is simply a process of focusing on it in a different way.
So regardless of who you are or what portion of your life you are in. You’re always packing for the future. What are you going to bring with you? Are you going to allow yourself to be weighed down by things that are probably insignificant to where you want to go? Or are you going to be selective about the “baggage” that you carry with you? It’s all your baggage but you don’t need to carry it all.
“It’s my industrial strength hairdryer. AND I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT IT!!!”
We’ve all got them. They lurk around and create mischief in our daily lives but we have trouble letting go of them. Bad habits. The things that we realize that we should not do at all or possibly overindulge in them. There power over us can be based in our childhood, boredom or addiction. No matter who you are, you’ve probably got a habit, vice, addiction or pattern that is less than favorable.
On the other hand you’ve got those good things that you cannot seem to get yourself to do. You know it! If you did that thing, it would help you in either the short or the long term. Regardless of how much good you know that you’d get from it, you still don’t do it. Perhaps you make up excuses about time. Or you tell yourself that next week would be the right time to start or you need some other resource. Again you’ve set yourself up to not follow through because your reasons are just not strong enough.
If you’re like me and you have this scenario in your life, I’m going to suggest that you use the bad to create the good. Most recently I’ve been publishing, my blog on a daily basis. In order to facilitate that happening, I do not eat until I have posted (WARNING: This is not a good course of action for everyone! Eating disorders are a real thing for millions. Know yourself and your issues. Act responsibly!) For me it is putting my bad habit of overeating against my need to follow through on my positive. This requires a level of self-control but it is completely doable.
So if you are in need of a positive kick in the butt from yourself, try it. Don’t use your cellphone until you’ve gone for a walk or run in the morning. Don’t have that morning cup of coffee until you’ve done the laundry. The habits don’t even have to be “bad”. You just need to leverage the things that you do in order to have yourself take action on the things that you would normally skip. It can be a powerful tool if you’re willing to hold yourself to it.
Our concept of time is messed up to a certain extent. Not the measurement of time. Seconds, minutes, hours, days, etc. are effective units to use for measuring time. It is our relationship with it that may be in need of a revamp. Perhaps I am only speaking for myself but I generally don’t think that I’m so unique to have a completely new thought. Time is something that in our younger years we waste so often it is as if we believe that there is an infinite supply for us. Then as we get older, we lament its passing, wishing that we had some of that wasted time back. It seems that the only people who truly grasp the limited resource which they have are the people who have a brush with their own mortality. There are a multitude of stories including George Lucas, Franck Ribery and so many others who gained clarity from a near death experience.
For me, I was too young. Too young to remember and I never got the lesson. When I was two and a half, I had meningitis. I almost died. Despite knowing this story since I was a kid, it never really sunk in that I was working with borrowed time. At this moment I am forty one years into a lease on a life that easily could have passed by already. So what does one do with this realization, even if it comes extremely late? Like so many things in this world, the first thing is most likely to be grateful. None of us is owed anything in the world. So gratitude for all that has sprung out of that borrowed time is the most natural course. Then comes the projection forward. If you’re playing with house money, do you play it conservative only betting on the best odds? Or do you look for some long shots that would pay off big because let’s face it you were supposed to be cashed out long ago? I’m sure that you had a gut feeling about what you would tell me to do. The question is can you follow your own advice?
We’re all living on borrowed time. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve beaten a terminal disease or been healthy as a horse since birth. It’s not completely up to us when we cash out. So with that little bit of clarity from your gut, you need to decide, what are you doing with the chips that you have today? There’s no particularly wrong answer, just an answer that’s right for you.
This month I will post at least once per day. Seven days per week for all of May! It’s something that I’ve balked on before. I’ve had streaks that have lasted weeks but not an entire month. I can get ahead of the game by writing a bunch in one day and releasing them individually as I see fit. BUT if a post is not out, then I don’t eat until one is released. Now right there I’ve done some of the things that I know but do not always apply.
I made a definite goal.
I defined my terms.
I’ve broken it into manageable pieces.
I set the stakes.
If you’ve got something that you have been putting off or know that you need to do, then MAYbe, May should be your month too. Thirty days to make something big happen is not too much to ask. The question is are you willing to commit to yourself? Or do you need to commit to someone else who won’t let you off the hook? Promises can be powerful things when used by people who mean them. If not, then they’re just words. So let’s keep each other honest. Are you up for thirty days of action?
There are plenty of nicknames for the police. The most common comes from the city of Chicago where the badges were made out of copper. So eventually the name “copper” became associated with the job. That of course got shortened to the word “Cop”. Whether it is the fuzz, popo, Five – O or any other version, the code is usually developed by someone who is doing something wrong and trying to hide the discussion of the over-watching force. So with all of that code in mind, it is probably time to Five – O – U.
In a combination of code for police and text speech, I’m suggesting that you police yourself. It’s easy to put the responsibility onto someone or something else. Police, parents, teachers, trainers, coaches and so many other overseers can be used to keep us away from our lesser self. However the only person that is there 24/7/365 is YOU! So the absolute best person to put on watch is you….”BUT THAT’S HARD!” I can hear it now. The cries from the people that are only half committed scream through the silence of inaction. Somehow we delude ourselves into believing that the time when we’re on our own counts less or not at all. Those calories don’t count, the skipped reps or workouts don’t count, the lies that I tell myself or others about what I’ve done or not done DON’T Count! This is at least partially true because in many cases our internal police have been asleep on the job for so long, they don’t even recognize the things that should count.
So the challenge has been put forth, Five – O – U! Police yourself! You’re the one who reaps all of the rewards and pays all of the prices. If there are people who care more about your results than you do, take a long hard look at what you’re doing because there is an imbalance somewhere. Remember that you can only control one person in this world and you should!
Marvel and DC have been churning out movies for years now. For many reasons, the Marvel Universe is leading the charge in this genre. One of the main reasons is that they don’t just have the heroes face the obvious Super Villains. They also continually show their heroes struggle with the more difficult Super Villains that are hiding within themselves. Whether it is Tony Stark battling his own ego, need for control and alcoholism* or Captain America’s conflicting values of friendship with right and wrong; these are all battles that we as mere mortals can relate to. So what do you do when the enemy that you must face resides within you? Identify your foe. This is usually the most difficult step.
It’s easy to identify an alien invasion through a wormhole in the sky above New York. It’s a problem that needs immediate attention and the longer that you ignore it, the worse it gets. Often the same is true of our internal Super Villains but since they reside within us, we excuse them or think that they’re the reason we got this far in the first place. Regardless of the story that we tell ourselves, they are nevertheless an enemy. And you’ll need to do battle. Battling the villain inside is the more difficult and subtle battle. Drop a nuclear bomb on that villain and the hero dies too which is not what we’re looking for at all. So it requires deliberate thought and often daily work. Some of these villains can be tamed but others must be destroyed. So it is important to remember that you’re a starfish!
Of course I only mean this in the metaphorical sense. In reality, starfish can regrow parts of their anatomy that are cut off. In the practical sense for us, this is also true. You can “cut off” a band habit, poor thought pattern or addiction BUT something is going to grow back in its place. If you’re not deliberate about replacing it with something more constructive, the villain will come back and be stronger. So as you are doing battle with those things that you want to change about yourself, have a plan to replace them. None of this is easy but it is necessary to get you to the super hero status that you deserve. And that is usually first battle that people have to fight, BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE SPECIAL IN SOME WAY AND DESERVE BETTER. You won’t sprout wings tomorrow but maybe you can find another way to fly!
At certain point in history, in particular parts of the world, the wealthiest people such as kings lived in castles. I’m sure many people have fantasized about living in a castle. The fantasy probably does not mirror the reality of what it was like hundreds of years ago. By comparison, the comforts of most of our modern day houses outshines castle living. Castles were made of cold stone without heat or air conditioning. Although they served as protection from the elements in some ways, there was no escaping the fact that survival was the order of the day and not comfort.
In the past month, I’ve challenged myself to take cold showers every morning. This has been an eye opening experience for a variety of reasons. Although I started it for a variety of health benefits, it has actually been the change in perspective that I’ve noticed the most. The key to making it through the cold exposure is control. Not control over the external world but control over the internal world. Recognition of the discomfort that you are in and finding a way to become comfortable with it is a revelation.
WE LIVED IN CASTLES! The wealthiest people used to live in a discomfort that we don’t really understand but they survived. The human body, mind and spirit are actually set up to endure much greater discomfort than we put ourselves through on a daily basis. The thing is that we’ve lured ourselves into the comfort trap. We’ve trapped ourselves into a 10 or even 5 degree window of comfort. It’s not the circumstance but rather our perspective on it that traps us. We believe that we cannot handle the discomfort, so we live as if it were true. The space between where you are and where you want to be is filled with the discomfort that you think you’re not ready for. So the question becomes, do you want to live in comfort of your present life or in the castle of your dreams? Neither of them requires your circumstances to change, the latter requires that you do!
As we are moving past the time when most people have given up on their New Year’s Resolutions, I offer this subtle reminder. THIS IS WHAT YOU WANTED. It is sometimes a difficult thing to swallow. Goals and resolutions are pretty and shiny when we create them. Everything will go great! You’ll be able to maintain this level of excitement until you get to the end! The problem is that we usually forget or don’t know the following.
When you set up a goal or make a resolution it is much like ordering your favorite dessert. For me that would be the classic chocolate milkshake. Unfortunately you forgot to read the fine print. Before you will be served your delicious dessert, you have an appetizer of pain coming. That will be followed by a main course of discipline with self-sacrifice sauce and side order of humility. Once you are able to choke down those mammoth size helpings of something that YOU DIDN’T ORDER, you’ll finally get that thing that you wanted.
Just remember that THIS IS WHAT YOU WANTED, all of it is part of the deal. Embrace it. You’ll actually find at some point halfway through the main course that you like the taste of it. Those things that you overlooked on the menu are actually something that you want for yourself. The problem is that most people retreat too early because THIS IS NOT WHAT I WANTED! At the end of the meal you’ll have to settle up the check. If you stuffed yourself full with meal and goal, the bill is paid with PRIDE. If you left your meal unfinished, then you have a debt of REGRET that is difficult to wipe away.
I love food! Almost too much. This is at least one of the causes of my battle with weight loss. Cravings for things that taste good at meal time are a daily occurrence. Although I know all of the reasons for a healthy diet, the struggle still exists. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose. The other day I started to give some real thought to this dilemma. At that time I realized that most meals are invisible. It’s not that we can’t see them at all but rather that they only exist long enough to serve their purpose. After they are gone, they are generally forgotten.
If you were asked, I’m sure you could probably remember what you had for dinner, lunch and breakfast yesterday. However unless you eat the same thing each day or have a schedule, the memory of your meals probably only goes back a week or less. Even take a special meal like Thanksgiving, you probably remember what you had but don’t remember whether the turkey was dry or how many helpings of mashed potatoes you had. The power of a meal is the power of an instant. Based on our national problem with obesity, it is easy to see that we have a problem with getting past those instances.
Choosing what we want most over what we want right now is the key to overcoming this issue. It does not just relate to food and weight. It is a failure to fully decide what we want before the instant of temptation comes up. Being prepared to react to those temptations with a steadfast denial by saying with your actions, “I already chose differently.” It is not easy! Without a doubt, this is most likely a fight against years or even decades of habit and desire. Depending on the habit, like me, you may be carrying around a large reminder of all of those momentary choices with almost no memory of the “joy” that they brought.
So if the memory is going to fade of these instances and you know they will, can you start to make a better choice? Can you choose to not be overwhelmed by now in the service of later? Whether it’s food, sex, anger, distraction, beer or any other vice that you may have, make your choice before the moment arrives. Then carry that decision into tomorrow. You are not a machine! This will take time and practice but remember that your present desire will eventually fade in your memory. Most meals end up being invisible.