I sometimes catch myself waiting.
Waiting for someone else to come up with an idea.
Waiting for my friend to let me know they’ve been thinking about me.
Waiting for my partner to be the first to say ‘I’m sorry’.
Waiting for a situation to change so I’m happier, more content, or better off.
The thing I’ve realised is – nothing much tends to happen when you’re just passively waiting around for it. Chances are, everyone else is doing the same thing.
To be perfectly honest with you, I hardly ever ‘forget’ about myself. Even when I am giving to another person, or doing something for them, if I dig down really deep it’s likely that I have some sort of hidden agenda. Something I’m expecting in return, or some ‘good’ reason which means I feel more important as a result of doing or giving.
It’s rare that I do something without any sense of self entangled-up in the action. And when I realise that, it makes me sad. Because why am I so gosh-darn important anyway that I always need to be thinking of my own interests? Truth is, I’m just a tiny speck floating around this big planet. Like you. Like any of us.
We have an abundance of rules and norms that regulate our behaviors and influence our judgement of what we think is right or wrong. To mention only a few common ones, in most countries and cultures there are rules and norms for how fast you can drive, where to park, on what to wear in different contexts, what time we have to appear at work and when we can leave, what you’re allowed to say and to whom, and what you can bring with you on airplanes, and so on. Continue reading
As a kid there was always something to look forward to – the possibility of getting the birthday or Christmas present I had so long wished for, the next summer holiday with my family and friends and all the fun we would have, or being finally old enough to ride my first little 50cc motorbike and all the independence and freedom I would enjoy. In other words, there was always some promised future event that would spark my imagination with all the possibilities that it would open up. I was always fueled with excitement for life.
Tesh and me went for a walk on the beach the other day. It was full-moon the night before and the tide was unusually low exposing a field of rocks and pebbles at the end of the beach. We continued along, jumping from rock to rock at faster and faster pace. As we got more warmed up and in tune with our bodies we began skipping those rocks faster than I thought would be possible without falling. None of us spoke, just a joyful giggle from time to time. With my attention entirely focused on where my feet would touch and push off next there was no room for me to focus on anything else. There was no fear of what would happen if I missed. No doubt that I can do it. Just thoughtless attention flowing from rock to rock. That’s when I realised that maybe this is the state that lets us achieve great things, things that lay beyond thinking and planning.
Do you ever meet someone who is so alive and full of energy that they almost glow? Their eyes light up when they smile, their voice is full of genuine warmth when they talk with you, and their body has an enthusiasm-infusion in each movement.
This is the kind of person who sparkles.
People who know me know I love wearing hats.
Denim ones, leather ones, beanies, floppy hats, trilby hats, fancy hats, knitted hats … I just have a thing for hats. I like how when I put on a different hat, I feel I have a slightly different persona.
And I commented to my partner the other day that I apply that same theory to other areas of my life.
As a kid, my hero Dr Seuss told me that: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
I believed him. And growing up in a small town, more than anything I wanted to get out and go places! So, I read.
I read all the books in the children’s section in our small library. Then the young adult books. Then I started nipping into the adult section for more material. I borrowed my parents’ books on business, relationships, personal development. I read all the Horrible Histories, the works of Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, John Maxwell, Ted Dekker, Stephen Covey, Robert Jordan, Stephen Lawhead, Robin Hobb, Willard Price … books about animals, magic, leadership, tradition, countries … books that opened up new worlds of possibility, new ways of thinking.
I’ve been facing some interesting situations lately. Situations that have made me question myself, question my motives, and wonder if I’m really doing the right thing. But I’ve realised something – those questions aren’t coming from deep inside me. They’ve been planted there by others. By my need to seek out other people’s approval to justify my own decision-making processes.
And you know what? That’s bull.
I was recently in a business meeting, with our team playing an advisory role to a major national retail chain, who are trying to build a new revenue stream in the field of our expertise.