“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.” ~Mike Murdock
What do we call something we do daily? A habit.
Part of the work of becoming a conscious human being is looking at our habits and patterns and seeing whether they serve us . . . or hold us back.
Sometimes we do things without even knowing why.
I love the story about a mother teaching her ten year-old how to cook a roast. As part of the preparation, the mother cut the ends off the roast before putting it in the pan.
The daughter asked why and the mother replied, “Well, honey, that’s how my mother taught me to do it.”
“But why?” asked the daughter.
“Let’s call up grandma and ask her.”
So they called grandma who replied, “Well, that’s how my mother taught me to do it.”
Next they called great-grandma who gave them her reason: “So it would fit in the pan.”
That isn’t a habit that will hold that family back [other than wasting a good piece of meat].
But it’s an example of things we do without even thinking about it. Perhaps the reason for it has long passed.
I recently heard a Chinese saying about Western culture: “People in the West are always getting ready to live.”
That made me stop and reflect on how much time I have spent “getting ready” for the next direction I want to go in my life.
A fair amount of time, actually. And much of it was wasted time.
In fact, much of it was merely procrastination.
That is why I’ve taken to heart a phrase I heard last year by Steven Pressfield: “Start before you’re ready.”
Do you rush around “getting ready” to find the perfect mate, find the perfect job or house or car?
Or start that creative project?
Do you wait for conditions to be just right to start something new? I used to think I had to create the perfect office environment before I could start writing.
There’s no such thing!
Do you delay taking vacation time until you can afford to go to Paris? When there are perfectly interesting cities and places nearby?
Don’t let excuses hold you back!
Encouraging a child to earn their own money does more than teach them responsibility. It gives them the confidence to tackle anything. In this lovely excerpt from “The Wind Is My Mother,” Bear Heart tells the story of his first job: earning money planting cotton.
My dad taught me to hitch a team of horses to a wagon and a plow when I was eight years old and when I was ten he gave me two acres of land, saying, “If you want to plant something, go ahead. If you don’t plant anything, let it grow wild. Maybe some rabbits will come, feed upon the plant life and you can kill a rabbit to have something to eat. It’s your choice.”
Don’t let it sit idle, let it yield something — that’s what he was teaching me.
So I planted two acres of cotton — it was good cotton, my very own, but I had to work it and do all the plowing. I knew which plowshare to use if I wanted to plow deeper and I knew how to plow between each row to lessen the weeds from coming up.
I tied the lines to the horses behind my back — when I hit a root or a rock under the ground it would pull me forward and I’d hit the cross bar on the handles of the plow. Often I’d fall but I’d dust myself off and keep going on.
When the cotton grew up, I’d check each boll to see if there were any boll weevils in there and, if there were, we didn’t have any spray, but at least we could pray.
Well, just when I thought Pope Francis couldn’t be any cooler, he has come out with an eloquent 10 commandments for stopping climate change and the “disturbing warming” of our planet.
One would think he was Native American.
These 10 commandments were part of a 182-page encyclical on climate change entitled “Laudato Si [Praised Be To You]; On Care for Our Common Home.”
Encyclicals are teaching documents traditionally addressed to Catholics worldwide, but this one was addressed to “every person living on this planet.”
In it, he said, “The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish.”
Have you ever thought that your inexperience might be your super power?
In leadership seminars I took many years ago, I consistently heard the phrase, “knowledge is power.” But is it always?
Sometimes the more you know, the less you see, because you think you have nothing new to learn. Just like a computer with too much data, it just might slow you down.
I have also found that naivete and inexperience can be powerful allies in life.
Years ago I was at a party and walked into a room where a group of friends were playing on a small pool table. Curious, I asked what they were playing.
“Pocket billiards. Want to play?”
“Sure,” I replied, “what do I do?”
Pointing to the various pockets and handing me a cue, my friend said, “shoot this ball into this pocket and that ball into this other pocket,” etc., etc.
Much to my friends’ amazement, I did exactly that, because I was too naïve and inexperienced to know it was supposed to be hard!
So there was a super power I didn’t know I had.