Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Honor The Is As Well As The Ought

"People thwart your expectations every way you can imagine, and in many ways you can’t." For a long time, expectation was my drug of choice. I couldn't kick that sweet candy if my life depended on it. Then my life actually did. No joke. I used to be so infatuated with the future, so intoxicated with the prospect of good things happening, that I literally forgot to breathe. I was cheating on the present with a mistress called the future. And like any love affair, what started out as an innocent game slowly grew into a dangerous obsession. Until one day, I woke up and couldn't breathe. My left lung had collapsed. Before I knew it, I was being wheeled into the emergency room. But it's not stress, said the doctor as he inserted my chest tube and morphine drip. Bullshit. Stress is always the culprit. And expectation is often the accomplice. Talk about a lesson you only need to learn once. Seven years later, I've changed my relationship with my breath. I've learned how to exhale the anticipation away. Meanwhile, expectation gets the cold shoulder. Inspired by Mo Meta Blues.

"Honor the is as well as the ought." Eric talks about the importance of letting go of fairness and unfairness. Definitely an idea we don't fully comprehend until we've been around the block a few times. I remember my first few lessons in fairness when I started my business. Specifically, colleagues who worked significantly less than me and earned substantially more. Drove me up the wall. Here I was, busting my ass fourteen hours a day, still living with my parents, and they were out drinking till last call, magically making six figures. What the hell? But bitterness didn't get me very far. Nor did comparison. Turns out, our lives are subject to a whole host of ephemeral influences. Nature has an agenda, and we're not always part of it.

"When did we decide that a life without conflict was good?" What scares me about technology is, it's turning us into a generation of poor problem solvers. Thanks to the magic of search engines, there's no need to wonder anymore. Thanks to the power of geopositioning, there's no way to get lost anymore. And thanks to the utility of smartphones, there's no reason to turn to the stranger next to you and ask for directions anymore. This can't be good for the species. If we don't practice relying on the very things that make us human––instinct, intellect, memory and connection––than our most vital muscles will atrophy. Just because technology can help us solve a problem doesn’t mean it was a problem in the first place. Thank you very much, Sherry Turkle.

"If your life and energy is spent living in response to the opportunities that come your way, then somebody else has dictated your mission." Rob Bell makes a strong case about protecting yourself from opportunities. Couldn't agree more. Especially when when the ego is in play. Saying no to gigs that dangle money and attention and power in front of your nose requires a ton of restraint. But if they don't pass through your opportunity filter, you have to decline. It's a painful in the moment, but what usually makes up for it is the future opportunity that comes your way. You just have to trust that something better is waiting. More often than not, it is.