I’ve always been a fan of unflappable, quiet, confidant types. Probably because I have always been, well, flappable. Being the Master of your Domain is hard work. When you are always in survival mode, it’s tough to enjoy life. In the last few years, I’ve tried to come from abundance, not from lack and it is better; it’s easier to enjoy life when you aren’t worried about everything that can go wrong.
Perhaps it’s one of the benefits of aging, I now like to look at the bigger picture. I’m much more willing to release the outcome, to “allow” and that’s something that astounds those who know me. As an aggressive, take charge, kind of guy, I built a career by shear will power and desire. I had the required focus and determination, an iron will. I had no time or patience for people who were slowing me down.
Something has changed. I hate to chalk it up to maturity, because I’ve always been “mature”, hell, even when I was 8. (If anything, I’ve learned to be a little less boring lately.) No, this is a sea change, I noticed it when my daughter had a reaction to me last week that showed she was anticipating the “old” me. She got all defensive and went on a pre-emptive attack; one I would have deserved not long ago. It wasn’t either one of our prouder moments; I realized I had taught her well.
See, the hardest prayer in the world for me has always been, “Thy will be done.” In my opinion, I was given a life to create and charge after; it would be irresponsible to not become everything I could be. To say I was driven would be an understatement. (I think, because at heart I am not really a “Type A” personality). I played the role with such conviction that I was over the top. I wasn’t happy with creating my own destiny, I also wanted to help everyone else along the way, I could be a little overbearing. Think of the financial guy with the red tie, 50 pounds overweight and with the heart condition. “Hard charging” would be a great way to put it and, being in a sales oriented career, I could do it with some polish, I am fairly persuasive.
It’s easy to be reinforced in that role, the money is good, management loves you, your peers fear you. My Dad was hard charging and I was just like him. Only, Dad has really mellowed out. Eight bypasses will get your attention. Mine too. Chasing the money is over rated.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Howard Thurman
Funny thing is, releasing my Creative Beast has been a huge difference, as I view life as more of an artist, I have become more of an observer. I’m learning to understand both sides of an argument, I’m learning, in short, to release.
I’ve been noticing that I am not as in control as I thought; have you experienced something similar?
I liked the ideas in The Secret: “you get what you attract” and Man; I was going to attract riches. We figured out, however, there is more to it than simply being determined. Did we attract this economy? Do people attract their own murder? Do we control things with our thoughts? No, we don’t. All we can do is the best we can do, the rest is beyond our control. The “secret” of The Secret is in your own attitude, if you expect the best, you will recognize it when it comes along.
It’s not popular to admit, but I am still a huge Tiger Woods fan. He lives in my town and is going through some self inflicted hard times. What drew me to him was his tenacity, I swear, I thought he used to be able to will the golf ball into the hole. Single minded, it turns out, has its dark side and Tiger has been re-examing his behavior too. The other day he said that he doesn’t play with the same intensity that he used to, of his troubles he said, “It forced me to look deeper into myself and … how I grew up and how those things didn’t match with the person who I am, and getting back to that, getting back to how my parents raised me. It’s been good. I’m very excited about the future because of that.”
I feel the same way, that I want to get back to who I am. I’ve had to learn to “release” that I am not responsible for someone else’s actions, that I can only put my intentions out there and work towards them. I’ve had to learn that the world won’t end if every decision doesn’t go my way. I’ve learned that my ego is not always my best asset. (It hates this paragraph).
Recently, I’ve had some personal issues, some things have happened which I realized I had no control over. It’s reinforced to me that staying present, in the now, is the only sane response to the world. Does that mean I sit back and do nothing, become a spectator to my own life?
I still am driven, still set goals, but I am much more willing to release the outcome. I can still make my list, but I don’t have to threaten slow or painful deaths to anyone who gets in the way. I can only control what I can control.
At basketball games in the last few years, I have been practicing observation and staying present. I watch my fellow season ticket holders bellow at the referees, chide the coach and question the players. While I want my beloved Orlando Magic to win, I realize the referees don’t really care what I think of their calls. All I can do is observe, root and send my energy to the good guys. The rest is up to them. I am still engaged in the game, I simply realize that my ego is not a participant. The ego would have me stand up and point at the referees and scream at them until I am on the Jumbotron, “My opinion of you is indeed your business! I think you are making bad calls and you need to know that!” No they don’t.
What happens when you ease back on the ego throttle? You begin to look at what matters, what’s in the big picture.
I think finding your passion is the key to leading a happier life. I think unlocking your own creativity is the shortest route to that outcome. Plugging into your own version of genius turns into a fascinating way to go through the day. Little things don’t bother you as much if you are more fascinated with creating cool stuff; if you are engaged in your own life. I don’t know if this resonates with you, you might have figured this stuff out a long time ago. I have been known to be a slow learner. I do know this, looking at life through the eyes of a creative person has led to days that come with their own soundtracks.
Like I’ve said:
“I hope you dance.”