“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.”
If we’re up for playing big games in life — career, impact, purpose — we’re going to be pressing our envelope all the time, becoming bigger than we knew ourselves to be.
A natural tendency is to compare: to others going our ways, and to our own ideals and standards of how we’d like to be playing.
As I grow to bring out a message of hope and inspiration – something that arose within me only in my second half of life – I observe myself comparing my delivery and message exposure to others, who may have been singing their song for longer or lesser than mine.
As I watch my tendency to juxtapose my progress to what I perceive to be the progress of others, I see the pull toward judgment: evaluating my status in relation to theirs, or even to my own ideals of where I’d like to be.
The old adage claims “compare and despair” perhaps only because that’s the direction most people go with it.
When we see someone playing better at a game we’ve chosen, we COULD choose to be inspired to know it’s possible for us to play better too…and learn from them.
When we see ourselves playing beneath our own perceived abilities, we COULD feel blessed to know we have more within us to tap.
These are the directions I’m playing with to address the natural comparison instinct, to empower myself to grow vs. become resigned…which can happen if we think we’re so far behind.
The main issue is how we’re going to relate to that Self we were handed, the particular Monopoly piece we were issued…and whether we realize that it’s always an inside job.
Maybe a new adage is called for: compare and solitaire.
Using any comparisons that naturally occur as insight to play my own game better, with the objective to use up the whole deck life has given me, keeps me focused on my own game and my own cards.
You only have your deck to play with…and only your own hand to play.
By the way, did you know that another name for solitaire is “patience”? What might that insight alone afford you?
Remember: Your Game, Your Deck, and Patience.
“The only person you should try to be better than is the Who You Were yesterday.”
“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh
In our Back Forty, the second half/best half of life, it’s easy to make statements like “this is just the way I am”, “been there, done that” or “I see where this is going”…because, face it, we’ve been around the block a few times, yes?
However, when we come from all the infinite “wisdom” that we’ve amassed, it can actually restrict us because we rest on fixed and immovable opinions about ourselves, our world and what we perceive (from our also amassed and very logical interpretations) as possible and what’s not.
I recently began to explore my “mood of being” in the world as I play my Big Game Back Forty Future and noticed that, even as the pieces of my game puzzle are falling into place in wonderful ways, I was carrying around a resident mood of hard work and struggle.
It showed up like this: no matter that more and more manifestations of good were showing up with ease and grace according to my game, I was using other outside venues to be “frustrated”: traffic on the freeway, customer service issues with vendors, and various other so-minor-they’re-laughable problems.
A friend in my Back Forty Community suggested that I take the time to actually be “present” to all the good happening, to actually drive in peace as I focus on how good life is becoming, and to watch my tendency to bring old patterns into my life just because I’m used to them (e.g., venting when various issues arise with phone, internet, services, etc.).
I saw that I was in a new place, where life is really good and getting better and better. Yet, I hadn’t let go of old, perhaps subconscious, patterns I adopted when working to “get there.”
It had me realize that I’m probably not the only one who – coming into what can be “the best is yet to come” part of life – might be carrying forward certain undistinguished ways of being adopted from past situations and circumstances of life.
If we’re to really fulfill on this second half/best half of “what we came here to do”, then being able to play in the PRESENT is critical.
Perhaps “presence” has three aspects we can consider.
One is our actually being “present”, which means not only staying out of the past and future so as to be in this moment with the people we’re with right now…but also being present to our internal state of thoughts, feelings and emotions vs. projecting them.
Another is the “presence” we bring of our Self into any situation. The small s “self” rarely brings the same value that our big S “Self” affords.
Yet one more is the “Presence” which we allow to move through and guide us, whatever we consider that bigger-than-us intelligence to be. It’s actually one of the “7 Critical Embraces for a Radical Second Half”, the tag line of our upcoming book, “The Back Forty”, and the content of our INFUSE Program.
Your Big Game Back Forty Future will require all of YOU just as it will require all of me. If we consider that the first half of life was just R&D, research and development, to only DISCOVER who we really are and what we came here to do, a renewed relationship with presence is required.
“Presence is more than just being there.”
– Malcolm Forbes
The late Alvin Toffler, futurist and author of FutureShock, The Third Wave, and Powershift said:
“You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.”
Throughout our day, we are making lots of little choices that we can mostly fall unconscious to. Yet those choices start to add up to a direction we’re headed that – once we get there – we wonder how we got here! The culmination of our unconscious choices only becomes visible above the surface once they’ve built upon themselves outside of our watching.
There are both big and small choices we make every day which it might pay for us to become conscious of…so as to wake ourselves up to why we end up where we do.
For example, I can see a homeless person and feel the sadness of wanting to help but being busy on my way and/or then the guilt of not stopping long enough or giving enough to help them. Or, I can see this feeling coming over me as a choice I’m making and choose a different direction: to give something if I’m so inclined as well as send a silent blessing their way and see them attracting what they need.
Was that just a rationalization? Did I say that blessing just to make myself feel better? Yes, maybe! Yet, at the end of my day, having made those similar types of choices throughout, I will likely have a state of mind that is of better service, liveliness and happy disposition than if I make more of the contrary choices.
We can relate this to Law of Attraction if we want, which says you get more of whatever you think about. Yet it’s really only an active mind-management exercise of conscious directionality during the day.
I faced a big financial decision recently to either wait “until the perfect time” (do those ever come?) to invest in a new home or – with tons of planning and consultation with caring supporters already under our belt, loan approvals assured, and clarity around numbers solidified – to go for it even though we don’t know what tomorrow will bring (who does??).
I realized that, though this was a “big” decision, I make smaller ones multiple times every day as to whether I trust that the Universe is going to keep giving and supporting me or whether I need to horde and cover my nuts (so to speak) because the flow might stop.
In The Back Forty, we have the opportunity to choose what direction we’re going to head – toward aliveness and what esteemed psychologist Erik Erikson calls “generativity” or whether we’re going to head toward safety and what he calls “stagnation”.
We are about generativity…because, IF, just IF have yet to do what you came here to do, how will you do it unless you keep playing bigger than you are now?
There is much said in our American culture about the self-made man or woman, the iron self-will and resolve that has individuals pull themselves up by their bootstraps, and a lot of ego-oriented “respect” offered to those who, alone, can handle things.
Granted, being able to find the resources, the will and the way within can be of great, holistic and long-term value.
Yet, there’s also a lot said about the power of helping others in their success. Zig Ziglar’s famous quote “You can have everything you want in life if you will just help enough other people get what they want” is an inspiring redirect toward focus upon others.
But search for quotes on “getting help” and you find that 98% are about offering help to others and only the tiny remainder about getting help yourself.
It seems the receiving side of the coin is simply not as respected or valued. We prize offering help, but where’s the equal pride in seeking or obtaining it?
Consider this: if you don’t need help, right now and right where you are, you simply aren’t playing a big enough game.
Got big game help?
“Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.”
–Ziad K. Abdelnour