Sunday, March 25, 2012

Stretching Our Wings

It's interesting how we imagine lofty goals yet we frequently let them sit as mere idle thoughts in our mind.” Yes, I'm sure there are some who will say, “Not me. I never hesitate to take action.” True, there are some who are incredible achievers. But in general, why are motivational speakers deluged with people looking for guidance? Not everyone is able to overcome a hurdle or obstacle without some help. For those of us who admit we have important unrealized goals, what then, is the primary problem?

Are we simply lazy? Perhaps, but that feels like a symptom more so than a cause. After all, we do have points in our life where we face large-scale change and manage our way through it. At other times we tell ourselves, “I don't have time because my life is too busy.” Busy, yes, modern society requires us to be active in order to thrive. But isn't it possible to make time for something if we truly have the motivation? Clearly there's something additional beyond expending time and energy to acquire domain-specific skills, something more powerful that hinders our attempts to stretch our wings and fly. That issue falls into the realm of fear – a fear of failing in a publicly visible way.

For some, the fear of facing the failure itself is not the primary concern. It's the aftermath when people say things like, “I told ya so,” which can be quite demoralizing and detrimental to the confidence. I've heard that phrase more than a few times throughout my life and it never proved to be anything beyond destructive negative criticism. Sometimes the negative comments are intended to prevent us from rising to meet a challenge the other person might be afraid of facing. Regardless of the reason, the person making the negative comments has personal issues they are projecting upon the people around them. Ultimately, to varying extents, we all the shortcoming of thinking negatively. It's ingrained into us from our early childhood experiences and interactions.

But imagine what we could achieve if we ignored or minimized the impact of the nay-saying, regardless of whether it comes from an external source or our own internal voice? What if when someone said, “You're going to fail,” we replied, “Hah! You betcha. And you know what? I may stumble from time to time but I'm going to keep on trying again and again until I've reached my goal.” Equally as important, what if we carefully listen to our inner voice that tells us trying to reach a new goal is not safe? What if we assure that part of our mind we will take appropriate steps to provide for our own safety and then proceed to give it our best try? What might we achieve? Simply put, we should not let our fears govern our path through life.

The issue of fear has been on mind lately because in actively taking steps towards my goals, I'm struggling with several fears that I must learn to confront in order to achieve greater things. Those “what if?” scenarios are dangerous as they are stalling, or at a minimum, unnecessarily delaying my progress and potential. True, our mind makes us pause with good reason, but fear of change should not be allowed to overwhelm us such that we avoid placing ourselves in new situations merely because we feel uncomfortable. As for myself, I must learn to reach out and ask others for help when I reach a brick wall I am struggling to scale, be it asking for moral support or whatever else is necessary to move forward. And when I hear someone talking about an unrealized goal, I will offer my moral support. In the long term, what we give is what we receive.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Winter Blues

Let me tell ya, living in an area with a mild change between the four seasons has its advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, every three months or so change is in the air as one season gives way to the next. The summer is the best for me since it's rarely warmer than 35 C during the hottest month in August. Spring and fall add color changes to the environment while winter provides a snowfall maybe two or three times during its span.

But at the same time, winter is probably the most difficult month - unless you're a skier or a snowboard fanatic. Being far away from the equator means the hours the sun is shining diminish substantially during winter. In the height of winter, the sun sets shortly after 4:30 PM in this area. I, like a number of other people, start to feel what is called cabin-fever. There's an urge to go out and do something, anything just so as long as it's outside. But its not nice enough to enjoy being outdoors. The occasional hike through a park toting my camera in hopes of catching a good photo helps. Anything just to chase away those blues.

Fortunately, I've been seeing signs of spring time approaching. The birds are chirping as if they were some extras on an Alfred Hitchcock set. And I've even noticed signs of life in my banana plant out back. Nonetheless, I'll still keep the plant covered for another to protect it from frost. Spring time, you can't arrive a minute too soon. Hurry up will ya!