I want people to know my friend Carolyn is amazing at her job, but more than that, I want people to know the stuff inside her that makes her a great friend. The stuff that makes you want to stand by her at a party, in hopes that her thoughtful observations and quick wit rub might off on you. Let’s stop introducing the people we love based solely on what they do, who they cash their checks from, or what’s on their twitter profiles. Let’s instead start reminding them of who they are.
Life, if we’re honest, is a parade of mixed bags. Your friendships, your time in college, your marriage, your career — they all feature ups and downs, highlights and lowlights, wins and losses. When we think solely in terms of success or failure, we fall into the trap of a false dichotomy. Most of life isn’t success OR failure, it’s success AND failure.
Every story is about one thing, the arc of the character. What I mean by that is unless the hero changes, you’ve got no story. They have to be cowardly at the beginning and brave at the end, or selfish at the beginning and altruistic at the end. Something in the character has to change or the audience loses interest.
Finally, he stopped. “Whew,” I thought. “He must have figured that I was at the limit of what I could do.” But before I could move, I heard him say this: “If you want me to help you, you gotta let me have your shoulder.” In other words, I wasn’t cooperating in my own healing. I was resisting, and didn’t even know it.
I like the idea that, at least experientially, we can stretch time out a bit, slow it down, fit more of life into it’s cracks and crevasses. Life will resist, of course. And we can’t all live in the timeless every hour of the day. But we can find those cracks. And we can slip into them from time to time.
When I began accepting my quiet self, I began to experience freedom. If being quiet was true about me, I didn’t have to force myself to be louder than what felt natural. I didn’t have to try to be more fun at parties when I didn’t know how to be. I could start to discover who I truly was, quiet parts and all.
The desire to use a “four corners offense” or “prevent defense” in our lives can be strong. We rack up a few points in school, some more at our job, and a few more with our families, then want to sit on our lead. We try to run out the clock only making safe, predictable moves. The problem with such a strategy is that we really are not actually sitting on a lead, and we have no idea when the buzzer will sound ending our time on earth.
For me, it comes down to making a decision and not looking back. When all the options are very good, I no longer spend time figuring out which option is the best. That would take too long because anything can be looked at from too many angles. So instead, I’ve begun to place value in just moving. A good plan executed is better than a great plan mulled over for centuries.
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