“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
J K Rowling
NOTE: Ray will be on special assignment for the balance of the week. He is expected to return on Monday the 21st so the Daily will suspend publication until then.
As many of you know I spend a lot of my time with other folks assisting them as they explore the ways they can brighten their future and enrich their lives. Most often it happens when an individual has decided that it is time for a career change and/or to find ways to enjoy the years ahead. What surprises me is how many of these people really don’t know themselves. Too many exist in a world that is defined by their employment, family and day to day activities; they play their part every day, day after day. These are good people that have learned to get by but who start to wonder is this really all there is. Yep, when we dig the same trench day after day it soon becomes a rut, and dug deep enough it can be really hard to imagine crawling out of it.
When I ask people what really makes them happy, what intrigues them and what dreams did they had that they have forgotten, they often struggle to come up with the answers. We will spend hours on more than one occasion just talking about the times in their life when they were doing something that made them happy. We explore the kinds of people and events that have pleased them in the past and we discuss alternatives that might bring them happiness in the future. Our lives don’t have to be mundane and when they are we need to take responsibility and understand it is ourself who has chosen a life with little sizzle.
What really pleases me is that so many have broken out of their shells. These were folks who decided to crawl out of the rut by implementing plans that took them to a place that enriched their lives and continued to feed their desire for happiness. As I have said before, I really feel sad when I see someone trying to hold up the coffin lid as they holler “Wait! I haven’t started to live yet.”
The wise Gretchen Rubin suggests that we do some self assessment so that we can learn where we want to go. Here is what she wrote:
How well do you know yourself?
Two of my favorite Secrets of Adulthood remind me to Be Gretchen: “Just because something is fun for someone else, doesn’t mean it’s fun for you – and vice versa” and “You can choose what you do, but you can’t choose what you like to do.”
People assume that they in fact do enjoy what they think they should enjoy – e.g., they enjoy going to the theater, because going to the theater is a fun thing to do. Nope! Not true. There are so many “fun” things that I don’t enjoy one bit, like skiing, drinking wine, going to concerts, eating pasta, shopping. And I love to do many things that other people dread doing – cleaning out closets, for example. I beg my friends to let me help them clean out their closets.
My friend Michael Melcher wrote an outstanding (and quite funny) book called The Creative Lawyer ; he also has a terrific blog.
Here’s a quiz, lightly adapted from The Creative Lawyer, to help you figure out your interests. Not what you wish interested you, but what actually interests you.
1. What part of the newspaper do you read first?
2. What are three books you’ve read in the past year?
3. As a child, what did you do in your free time?
4. What’s a goal that has been on your list for a few years?
5. What do you actually do with your free time? [This is perhaps the most helpful question. I finally switched careers from law to writing when it dawned on me that I was always writing books in my free time.]
6. What types of activities energize you?
7. What famous people intrigue you?
You need to pay close attention to yourself. The better you understand your true likes and dislikes, the better able you are to make decisions – in work and leisure – that will make you happy. It’s not possible to build a happy life, filled with enthusiasm and engagement, based on the way that you wish you were. For better or worse, we’re all stuck with ourselves.
“The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created–created first in the mind and will, created next in activity. The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating.”
Heard at the senior center:
My supply of brain cells is finally down to a manageable size.
My secrets are safe with my friends because they can’t remember them either.
My joints are more accurate meteorologists than the national weather service.
"If you listen when you hear and look when you see then you will never be deaf or blind to an opportunity."
She said: "I’ve got 3 TVs, cable, & a satellite dish; I have 3 phone lines in the house, a cell phone & one in the car, plus a pager.
I use 2 computers, 3 ISPs and a fax. I subscribe to two daily papers & one weekly one. I watch both the local & network news every evening.
And my kids have the nerve to tell me I’m out of touch!"
"If you were arrested for being kind……..would there be enough evidence to convict you?"
The banker had called the man in to talk about his account.
"Your financial affairs are in a big mess! Your wife constantly overdraws your account. She is behind in her charge accounts at the department store, and her check stubs are all added wrong. So…why don’t you talk to her about it?"
"Because…." said the man, "I would rather argue with you than with her."
If you are what you do, then when you don’t you aren’t.
She said: I pulled into a crowded parking lot and rolled down the car windows to make sure my golden retriever had fresh air.
She was stretched out on the back seat, and I wanted to impress upon her that she must remain there.
I walked to the curb backward, pointing my finger at the car and saying emphatically, "Now you stay….. Do you hear me?… Stay!.. Stay!"
The driver of a nearby car, perhaps noting that I am a blonde, gave me a strange look and said.
"Why don’t you just put it in park?"
You must arrange in advance for pleasant memories.
The customer in the Italian restaurant was so pleased that he asked to speak to the chef. The owner proudly led him into the kitchen and introduced him to the chef.
"Your veal parmigiana was superb," the customer said. "I just spent a month in Italy, and yours is better than any I ever had over there."
"Naturally," the chef said. "Over there, they use domestic cheese. Ours is imported."
Too often we do not see things as they are; we see things as we are."
Stuart Avery Gold
A woman is getting on a bus when, just in front of her, a man gets up from his seat. She thinks to herself, "Here’s another man trying to keep up the customs of a patriarchal society by offering a poor, defenseless woman his seat," so she pushes him back onto the seat. A few minutes later, the man tries to get up again. She is still insulted so she refuses to let him up again.
Look, the man says, "Look, lady, you’ve got to let me get up. I’m twelve blocks past my stop already!"
“Your life is the sum result of all the choices you make, both consciously and unconsciously. If you can control the process of choosing, you can take control of all aspects of your life. You can find the freedom that comes from being in charge of yourself.”
Robert F. Bennett
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
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The editor is somewhat senile.
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