“The days blur into one, and the backs of my eyes hum with the things I’ve never done.”
The term “radical” can raise our antennae and suspicions. It carries the energy of dramatic shift, and implies extremes.
Yet, the idea of extremities is only the word’s secondary definition. The primary definition is about going to the root of something, a fundamental shift.
Radical Forgiveness, Radical Happiness, Radical Restarts…all imply a going deeper than the surface norm by getting to the core of the thing itself.
To impact the drift of life often requires a radical wake-up, because it’s just too easy to stick to the norm. You hear of folks who took on whole new ways of living after sudden health scares, near-death experiences, etc.
The question is: do we need to wait for such an external wake-up?
I like the idea of fomenting a crisis proactively, meaning self-inflicting the urgency for shift before the shift hits the fan.
What if you knew (or could make yourself believe) that your body was about to give out next week for lack of care? How would your diet, fitness and sleep program look this week?
Alexandra and I recently looked at the logic-of-the-moment vs the generally-accepted-wisdom around sleep.
In the moment, there simply seems to be no choice but to get less sleep so that “everything can get done.” Yet, there’s the joke itself: everything will NEVER get done! And, allowing that thought pattern to continue – with sleep taking the hit from overzealous engagement – means that bodily rest becomes the red-headed, disregarded stepchild.
The generally accepted wisdom today, touted by many inspirational leaders and health experts, is that 7 hours is the minimum of sleep we need…for a boatload of reasons. So, the facts are in, and it’s just the question of “in the moment” whether we can go against our skewed logic and trust the facts. Who knows how much more alert, acute and astute we may become with solid nights of sleep under our belts?
So, we’ve taken on a commitment to our second half/best half of life including what seems like illogical sleep habits because if, as we say in The Back Forty, “we have yet to do what we came here to do”, we need the healthy bodies required to house the spirits to do that!
There can be many areas in which to foment radical change:
What if you knew (or could make yourself believe) that this job you’ve been hating will definitely end in a month? How would your career change efforts look then?
What if you knew (or could make yourself believe) that something is brewing under the surface with your mate that will have him/her leave soon? How would your efforts to communicate alter immediately?
What if you knew (or could make yourself believe) that your croaking was imminent, definitely within the year? What bucket list items or purpose fulfillment would you take on right now?
Consider this an invitation to look into your own life and foment your own crisis. It’s a real opportunity to put yourself in the driver’s seat of The Back Forty kind of life you want to live.
Here’s a few easy steps you can take to create some radical change in your own life. Start with one thing, and then apply it to others after you’ve had success.
Identify an area you’ve been nattering about, something you say you want to change but it keeps on keeping on just as it is.
Is it your work? Is it a relationship issue (either inside of one or wanting one)? Is it that “thing” you keep saying you’ll do – write the book, devote time to that charity, schedule a vacation, take that course?
Whatever it is, just find the top, most juicy thing you’re very logically convinced can’t happen yet.
Now, of course, I don’t mean to really kill yourself, but in your mind.
Consider that it’s all over now. Whatever you considered so important and critical that you simply couldn’t do that “thing”…all those reasons are now gone.
You exited the planet. Maybe you exited without having done that “thing”. How does that feel?
Maybe you exited the planet BECAUSE you didn’t do that “thing”? How does that feel?
Whoa! You just had a near-death experience! How radical was that?
Did you see light? Did you start through a tunnel? Did you hover over your body a while inside a peaceful state of ease and grace?
Well, whatever your experience, you’re back…back in this body, back in this life, and back with all of the same stuff and challenges and opportunities you left with.
What will you do about that “thing” now?
Consider that it’s time to get radical! Yes, you have all the time in the world…and yet not a moment to waste!
Frank Sinatra sings “The best is yet to come and, babe, won’t it be fine.” Let’s make Frankie right, ok?
“If you want to make any radical change in your life, then either give it a clear date and time or do it today. There is no someday.”
“Derive happiness in oneself from a good day’s work, from illuminating the fog that surrounds us.”
– Henri Matisse
To some degree, we regard fog in our work and developments as a bad thing.
Fog means non-clarity: of what is coming together (or not); of what is working (or not); of what the end result will be (or not).
We hate not knowing, and will often avoid times when it’s all happening “in the mix” without certainty.
Yet, if we look throughout history, did anyone in the crucible of bringing something about know that the messiness and confusion surrounding them would eventually result in world-impacting change?
In 1928, did research scientist Alexander Fleming, who sometimes left a messy lab at the end of the day — failing to sterilize his plates and leaving the window open — know that mold would form, enabling him to invent penicillin?
In the early 30’s, did 10 drunks all but living together and struggling to stay sober know that they were forming a fellowship which would grow to over 2 million members in 170 countries?
I’m inspired by these and other stories which demonstrate that “in the moment” is rarely the time when we know what we’re actually creating.
In the midst of investing time into the bookstore version of “The Back Forty: 7 Critical Embraces for Life’s Radical Second Half” (the first manuscript was far too dense for bookstores)…
all while building some very powerful and fruitful alliances with players and organizations that jibe with our message…
all while building out a content base of online and live programs in which people can experience the transformative effects of this message…
all while embracing and learning new forms delivering the message (social media) and streamlined systems of communication…
all while maintaining the bread-and-butter support of these initiatives through the coaching, consulting and corporate-employment playgrounds that fund our activities…
Alexandra and I can sometimes feel that we’re swimming in wide-open ocean with no site of land.
So, the inspiration of stories that show how a willingness to stay the course in the unknown can, years later, be the source of statements of amazement – “Who would have known!?” – make all the difference in our world…and, hopefully, the world.
By embracing the Good Fog of creativity, you can empower yourself to, as Thoreau says, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined”.
If you subscribe to The Back Forty conviction that “you have yet to do what you came here to do” and are committed that your second half of life be your best half, what fog of your own creativity can you embrace today for the sake of posterity?
“It is not the clear-sighted who rule the world. Great achievements are accomplished in a blessed, warm fog.”
– Joseph Conrad