Work, play, both, anything … changed up, changed around, turned upside down might make more progress for our life than simply repeating patterns.
Repeating patterns is easy – we can do it sleepwalking. But what good comes from that?
Changes of lifestyle comes far less easily than tweaking a diet or resuming gym-trips – because they require action changes, decisions we are not familiar with. Everyone knows what it is like to try to lose weight, try to get in better shape and try to stick with a new regimen. We, as in the collective we, do this every January for a week or two. There is little about it that is new, successful or learned about it. We resolve, try, succeed a while, fail, stop – and repeat each January. Some of us succeed, but most of us fail.
My information delivery systems (two newspapers + newswire feeds) have been scrutinized and satisfied my cravings for information, my caffeine (I’ve moved to coffee on weekends only – green tea during the week) delivery system has worked its laxative wonders, my black current jam delivery system (bread on weekends only and no peanut butter) has pleased my hunger pangs and after an enormous dinner last night at the Keg, I’m down 6/10ths of a pound over yesterday – woo-hoo!
Is that the factor that separates a few successes from the rest of the pack? Most of us recall being very determined. It might be our brain over-ruling our choices, the body’s autopilot systems taking control so cave-dwellers don’t starve in a drought.
I’m struggling – not so much for alternative theories of our (the collective our) failures, or of mine – but to understand the little successes more.
While it might seem counter-intuitive to dissect successes for clues, it seems to me that might be a better source of learning that figuring out while we fail at diets, resolutions, projects and plans.
I’ve been plotting some new ventures. Ad-ventures. Bus-ventures. Work-ventures. Play-ventures. Travel-ventures. Adventure-ventures. As my mind rolls around in search of springboards, catalysts and motivation – I’ve been examining two parts of my life for clues. The failed-resolution thought-path is one. I’ve written a fair bit about that lately, but haven’t examined the other path so much.
That is on my mind more today for a number of reasons.
Plan vs. random. Figured out in advance vs. figure it out on the fly. Intense planning vs. none at all. Success vs. failure. In the corporate and government world – matching skills sets with plans, objectives with outcome measurement tools and aligning things with core values – figuring it out in advance is the sharing, cooperating, team-building mode de rigueur.
Chance, random, experimenting and failure. Where do they fit? Luck, accidental by-products of things gone wrong and “oh-my, what happened here” stories play such a role in success. How do you incorporate that into a strategy?
I think we need to chance more. Fail more. Try more. Try again more.
Is that a “go back to what worked once before” approach? Maybe. Sometimes.
But I think trying things we’ve never tried before in ways we’ve never tried before could be good for us all – I have no data to back that up, but I think it might be a good idea.
Two examples to share:
I wrote to someone I met recently – a highly placed officer of a major corporation. I asked for direction to ‘right people to talk to’ on two subjects. One meeting already occurred. Another one is coming up. Nothing is assured, but at least two new things are possible because of that.
I shot out three emails the other night for volunteer opportunities I found on the Propell:us(formerly Volunteer Calgary)website . I heard back from one and have a meeting set up next week regarding being a volunteer writer for the Cancer Society. Good karma methinks. I’ll do that for Gary.
And what am I doing for me?
Or for you?
More of the same thing, if it is a good thing, is like eating your oatmeal because somebody told you it was good for you. We all have lots of same things in our lives. Of all the things we do repetitively, many are those good things. Some are not. So, stop some of those.
More different things.
That’s a good idea.
We’ll all end up dying.
I don’t mind the idea of being someone who tried many different things.
Not a bad epitaph – someone who tried many different things
P.S.: many thanks to BE for the great music selections – and happy b-day!
column written/ published from Calgary
morning walk: -2C, 29F, mostly clear, another spectacular melt-day ahead. We walked early because I have to get going to an all day Toastmasters event. Gusta reluctantly accepted my promise of a long walk later . . .
Good Morning Mark – This is a great muse and gives one pause for thought. Have a good weekend, MK, Calgary, AB
The clicker on the annual free trip around the Sun just rolled over again! Yep, it's my birthday. No big parties, no night on the town (forthcoming or desired!), just a fairly quiet day of memories, dreams and reflections. That phrase might sound suspiciously familiar -- and I just plagiarized, so had better cite it now: "Memories, Dreams and Reflections" is a 1963 book by C. G. Jung. One of the first of Jung's I ever read in any depth, a heavily autobiographical item. Recommended as a good read, one to which you can return over the decades when you need to, kind of like going back to an oasis in the desert. Anyway, I have been playing some choices from my CD collection to fit the day, the mood and the times. While listening, thinking and reflecting, I realized that three in particular -- long-time favorites that I don't often re-visit -- might also be pretty good for you and perhaps for many of your readers. All 3 are by Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, otherwise known as Sting. The first one reflects our circumsolar trip: "Nothing Like the Sun" (1987), inspired by Shakespeare's Sonnet 130. All the songs are excellent IMHO, especially seeing as Sting and his band have always been so great with pushing the evolution of jazz and experimenting with mixing in other styles such as Reggae. The second disc I have been playing is "... Nada Como El Sol, seleciones especiales en espanol y portogues" (1988), just five songs from "Nothing Like the Sun" that are even better as non-English versions. And the third is "The Soul Cages" (1991), again all excellent songs. Most are pretty "heavy" -- but I think the music, like any good mirror, helps us reflect well on the heaviest things in life. Yeah, it's true -- I'm a long-time fan and aficionado of Sting's music. In fact, I was lucky enough to attend and participate in a live Sting performance in the "Brand New Day" tour, held 27 July 2001 under an amazing moon at CardiffCastle in Wales -- it was recorded, but I have never seen a CD released of that spectacular event. Anyway, the big clock keeps ticking ... (Jeremiah Blues, part 1) ... so next on the audition list: as many of Bill Evans' live performances as I can stuff into the CD player! Cheers, BE, Calgary, AB