Perhaps you have heard the old saying, “it’s always too soon to quit, and it’s never too late to start.” Which got me thinking this week about how resolute I and we have become in the face of calamities, uncertainties, and fears that none of us could have ever imagined one year ago.
Perhaps I am just getting old(er), as I celebrated another trip around the sun earlier this month, nevertheless, time seems to be passing very quickly and a year goes by in the blink of an eye. Yes, even 2020. Sure, we all have long days, but I’m telling you the years keep slipping away.
I have some very good news for you this week. I hope you can receive it not only from the purpose for which I intend it but also with an appreciation for the clarity I hope it begins to bring to your life. My friend, I am convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that you were created for a specific purpose that only you can accomplish.
I believe that you are uniquely gifted to do something that only you can do, using only what you have at this moment, and with whatever you have experienced in your life up to this point. Whether you believe it or not (yet), I hope in the next few hundred words to convince you of this fact.
While this message might be better suited for a few weeks back before we started the new year, I believe it is still relevant, and perhaps even more so for right now. At the beginning of the year many of us, myself included plan, project, and attempt to do many things. That never gets finished, assuming they ever got started in the first place.
So as we begin to settle into 2021 and find our stride, I want to encourage you today to take a 360-degree view of yourself. For some of us, even looking at ourselves in the mirror is a struggle. But I really want you to open yourself up to introspective thinking and evaluation. And I want you to focus on more than just your physical appearance, but to take a look at your life holistically and determine in each role you have what needs to change and what doesn’t.
One of the detriments of our distracted, byte-sized addictions to all of the opportunities for distractions that exist in our world today is that I believe we have lost the ability to sit still for even a few seconds. Especially to sit still and think, without being distracted. I confess I struggle greatly with this.
I am neither proud of this, nor am I content to allow it to continue at the ever-increasing rate that it has overtaken my life in the past several years. I am committed to creating more margin in my life to be able to sit quietly and think. Indian-born philosopher and writer Jiddu Krishnamurti said this: “The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.” Whoa!
My handy dictionary app on my phone (my primary distraction) defines observe: To see, watch, perceive, or notice. To regard with attention, especially so as to see or learn something. Ok, let me see your hands, how many of you in the past week took time to perceive or notice something? How many in the last month regarded something with enough attention to learn something. Yeah, me either.
Let’s take it one step further. My dictionary app says this about evaluating: To determine or set the value or amount of. To judge or determine the significance, worth, or quality of. Now, this is convicting. Again, a show of hands for everyone who has not been conditioned by our world today to look at something quickly and not make a snap judgment. Yeah, I didn’t think so.
Here is the conundrum. Can we observe without evaluating? Of course, we can. But it takes patience, practice, and intentionality. Is there a place where you can go that makes this easier to do? Some room in your house, a coffee shop in town, or even just a favorite chair where you can sit and think with no distractions?
For me, there is no better place than outside in nature. I love being outdoors. Of course, a beautiful day doesn’t hurt, but even if the weather is less than perfect, I find that doing outside allows me to connect with myself and to connect with my Creator. It could be almost anywhere. I prefer the beach or a golf course but since I don’t get to do that every day, an early morning walk with my dog is a good substitute.
No matter where you do it, and how you do it, I believe we need to fight for our intelligence and create some margin to think, to ask ourselves questions, and to listen to the answers that come. I like to do this with God too. I have to admit, I don’t always get the answers I think I am looking for, but I rarely come away from such a session without feeling more relaxed, more clarity, and more purpose as I go through the rest of my day.
I’d love to hear from you. What practices work for you? What do you need to stop doing to create more margin to start thinking? What questions or comments do you have? I’d love you to share them below.
I also invite you to review my coaching page on my website here. I have only a couple of spots left in my Personal Development Coaching Practice. Each week I offer two free strategy sessions on a first-come, first-served basis to people interested in exploring how to become a person who pursues their goals and dreams. These highly valuable hour-long sessions prove again and again to be invaluable to those who participate. You can book these directly on my coaching page – I look forward to serving you.