Inky Johnson lost his career in one football tackle. When he woke up in the hospital after a life-saving surgery, the doctor told him, “Son, you will never be able to use you right arm and shoulder again.” Inky responded, “You’re wrong. I’m alive. I’m gonna use this for the rest of my life.”
And he has. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cznfzIP1tTs
When I use the things that life brings me with gusto, my happiness doesn’t derail, joy doesn’t skip a beat, and I don’t multiply misery.
I want adversity to reveal my strength, not my immaturity; my patience, not my whining; my discipline, not my laziness.
Adversity will come. I will move with it (as Inky demonstrates)…deeper into my core of power.
It only took a lifetime to…
- forgive myself (and others) for being human
- learn the value of me
- quit comparing
- notice the teaming life around me
- smile (instead of sneer) at my uniqueness
- delight in the Universe
- laugh at being a (valuable and unlikely) speck on a speck
- remember how to get the most out of life by playing
So, back to the dishes.
If we do them or do any other act of service with resentment, superiority, complaining, bitterness, distaste, or a judgmental attitude we are probably doing more harm than good. Kahlil Gibran compares this behavior to a baker putting poison in the bread that he bakes.
Even the “love chapter” in the Bible labels acts that are done without love, however impressive they may be, as noise, bad music, counterfeit money, and a waste of time.
Most humans have “antennas” up for insincerity, arrogance, anger, and condescension. Nobody is really fooled by our “service.”
Maybe we should just do everyone a favor and quit kidding ourselves.
I whined about my workload more times than I can count. Once, when I said, “I’m the only one who ever does the dishes around here,” someone responded, “So, don’t do them anymore. I’d rather have a dirty kitchen than be around a martyr.”
Although, not the answer I was going for, he had a very good point. No one enjoys the poor-little-me martyr. Setting boundaries and agreements is a much better option.
In offices and homes all over the world, people are getting bitter about other people not shouldering their fair share of the work and carrying around bitterness about it. That bitterness infects and dismantles relationships, contributes to ulcers and illness, and sucks the fun out of any environment. I’m not advocating rewarding irresponsible behaviors, only managing them productively.
Tell people what you need.
Agree on a plan.
Set contingencies for exceptions and failures.
Follow through without drama.
Because everything is praise and success for Tesla and Spacex right now, it would be easy to underrate Elon Musk’s pain behind his bold life. Just a few years ago, he had mammoth failures and crushing criticism from everywhere, even from his heroes.
The following quote captures a day in the life…
In 2018, I can use Elon Musk’s reminder that giving up and living small is not the option I want to take.
The first step I must take in order to become the very best version of myself is to pay attention to my thoughts and words. Besides catching myself saying negative things, I also review my conversations to catch the times I exaggerated, wasn’t completely honest, or talked too much.
When I take the time to really hear myself, it is sometimes painful, yet, that pain gives me more incentive to grow and change.
Although, I ignored my “Control Center Alert” instructions for years, due to time spent in deep, dark pits, I now pay attention.
IN CASE OF:
“…think about these things…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy…”
Dwelling on what is scary, dreary, horrid, painful, wrong, and depressing never worked.
Even though it seemed counter-intuitive and too simple, soaking my brain in beauty did. I now use books and the internet to refuel on success stories, overcoming obstacles, recovery-after-tragedy, unexpected-redemption-in-dark-places, love, loyalty, art, nature, animals, and role-models. The change I feel inside is immediate.
Pain to progress. Darkness to light.
…I pinpoint the one thing that has improved my relationships more than anything else. It is the realization that people don’t need to hear what I have to say nearly as much as they need me to hear what they have to say; my presence much more than my advice, and my acceptance much more than my analysis.
In fact, this one insight has saved me from multiplying my regrettable errors. Duh. Yet, yet, yet, I still forget and think it is about me being heard.
Thanks to those of you who were patient with my words in 2017.