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Showing posts with label goals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label goals. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Boundaries: Places to avoid, but also goals to shoot for.

One day as I watched my stepson being trained in Taekwondo and got a chance to listen to and converse with his instructor, a blog idea came to mind.  I don't fully remember what his instructor said, but I think it was the following: In order to reach your goals you have to picture them first.  It got me to thinking about boundaries. 

I think we are so used to the idea of boundaries being a negative: 
  • Things we can't do
  • Places we can't go
  • Stopping points
that when we hear the term "boundaries" thrown around it can feel like a lecture, scolding reminder. In other words, a downer.  I will call that an "inward boundary" or protection.  But, if you think about it, a boundary doesn't have a stopping point, but instead it can be a jump off point or a place to push pass.  I will call that an "outward boundary" or goal.


Now a little comparison.

Inward boundary (protection)
  • Usually in place for our own safety or that of those around us. For example, they can 
    • Keep us from intentionally or unintentionally hurting ourselves or others-physically, emotionally, mentally and/or spiritually.
      • They can limit our actions.
      • They can limit our behavior.
    • Inform us where to stop. Al Some examples:
      • A sign or barrier can tell us it is unsafe to drive past this point.
      • A fence can direct keep us from entering an unsafe area.
      • Sexual harassment rules designed inform us at what point conversation/interaction goes from being acceptable to being inappropriate or questionable.
  • It is dangerous to keep letting them slide.
    • Sends the wrong message. Namely, if you don't like the rules or laws, you can just ignore them and face no recrimination.
    • Brings us one step closer to disaster. It is best to stay away from the edges.

Outward boundary (goals)
  • Usually in place as a starting point--I want to do better than this--or a destination--I want to reach this point.
  • Inform us exactly where to go.  That is what to shoot for or exceed. Some examples:
    • A student needs to get a minimum score on a college entrance exam to get a particular scholarship. The student may do practice tests until he or she is confident that they can get at least that score.
    • An athlete is shooting for a world record time, if he has a goal aka an outward boundary, he/she will have something tangible to reach for and pass.
  • It is actually preferable to slide or move the boundary.  
    • It means we are achieving our goals (outward boundary). 
    • It means we are pushing for a greater achievement (that is a new goal or boundary).
    • It is best to approach and exceed or surpass the 'edges'.

I guess the takeaways from this post are to (1) be aware of when boundaries are there to protect you, (2) be aware of when boundaries are meant to be broken (goals).  I think this goes hand in hand with the "Serenity Prayer".  

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

  - Reinhold Neibuhr

Accept the things I cannot change (or should not change) - protect.  Courage to change the things I can - goals.  Wisdom to know the difference - between what is in place to protect and what is in place to achieve.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Man in Motion, Carpe Diem, Lose Yourself, Don't Look Back: what it all means.

It's funny sometimes you turn on the radio and you hear a song that you've heard countless time and it speaks to you in a way that it never has before.  Today--July 9th, 2015, I heard St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion) and it got me to want to step outside myself.  It got me a little fired up.  Man in Motion was about the story of Rick Hansen and his world tour on behalf of the disabled.

In the wiki page for him, it is said about him that:
In 1980, fellow British Columbian and Canadian athlete Terry Fox, who had lost a leg to bone cancer, undertook the Marathon of Hope, intending to run across Canada from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island to raise awareness for cancer research. He made it from St. John's, Newfoundland, to Thunder Bay, Ontario, before a cancer recurrence forced him to stop, about half of the way through his journey. Inspired by Terry's courage, Hansen decided to undertake a similar journey to prove the potential of people with disabilities and to inspire a more accessible world. But his planned path was far more ambitious: he planned to circle the world in his wheelchair.

Back to the memes and sayings--what do all these things have in common:

In all these memes and songs, we are exhorted to reach for a 'higher place' or calling.  But what does that mean when we are underneath the fallen debris and difficulties of life and what is a 'higher place'?

To me, a 'higher place' is the potential we have always had locked inside us, but were blocked from approaching it.  What are the steps to reaching a higher place?

  • Recognizing that we aren't where we could or should be.
    • It is hard to achieve a greater purpose when you are don't realize or are in denial about where you are relative to your potential.
    • I believe that most people know on some level that they can do more than they are doing now.  This self-awareness I believe leads to stress, anxiety and often taking 'self-medicating' steps to deal with it.  For example, if you are the underachiever relative to your group, class or family--your circle--and you know that you are as capable as other in your circle are, it is hard to escape or miss it.  This often leads to taking steps to 'cope' with your perceived underachievement
    • Having a mentor, counselor or close friend to relate to and to confer with can help us to visualize goals.
  • Wanting to achieve a higher purpose.
    • Not everyone wants to or sees the need or benefit of a higher purpose. Sometimes it takes a bad situation or circumstance to wake us up to where we need to go or that we do need to work on a higher purpose.
    • “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” ― Henry David ThoreauCivil Disobedience and Other Essays
  • Having or recognizing goal(s).
    • In order to reach for higher you have to recognize a suitable or 'reachable' goal(s).
    • Sometimes these goals are recognized in early life.  Sometimes they are recognized in later life.  
    • Sometimes these goals are not recognized all at once, but rather in steps.   Though we tend to prefer understanding the big picture all at once.
      • Effectively this implies long-term goals which house short and medium term goals.
      • It's important not to get discouraged when the goal(s) haven't become completely obvious at once.
      • This can require us to learn or practice patience.
    • Goals can be diverse in nature.
      • They can be professional goals.
      • They can be personal goals.
      • They can be athletic goals.
      • They can be intellectual goals.
      • They can be spiritual goals (or all goals can have a spiritual element to them).
      • They can involve a clear winner.
      • They can involve where everyone is a winner (betterment of society).
      • They can be goals that focus on bettering oneself.
      • They can be goals that focus on bettering lives of others.
  • Obstacles to the goal(s)
    • Important to recognize them.  If you can't put your finger on what is blocking you, it is hard to remove the blocks.
    • All obstacles do not have to be overcome or conquered at once.  As a matter of fact, trying to do that can often lead to discouragement.
    • Important to understand the type or nature of the obstacles.
      • Unavoidable life circumstances get in the way.
        • Death of a family member, job loss, etc.
        • These often require time and processing.  It is important to allow yourself a break for these, but not to forget the endgame.
      • Unforced errors/poor choices  (purposeful or unintentional)
        • Can be demotivating or distracting. 
        • We need to recognize that the errors don't define us, UNLESS we allow them to.
        • We need to avoid pinning the blame on others for why we are not where we need to be.  We need to recognize our role in this process.
        • We need to not let these become an excuse or define us.
      • Setbacks
        • These are inevitable.
        • Once again, they don't need to define us.
      • Realization that the status quo is so much easier usually.
        • As they say, any goal worth having will not be easy to achieve.
        • Often times the status quo takes no effort.
        • Anyone can fail, all you have to do is not even try.  Then failure is guaranteed.
        • As Imagine Dragons says in It's Time, "The path to heaven runs through miles  of clouded hell right to the top."
    • Faith being weak/doubting ourselves.
      • We have to recognize that while God rewards those who reward themselves, He won't usually have achievement or success come easy.  
      • We have to push on towards are goals, but remember that He is ultimately in control and can help us to move mountains if we ask Him.
      • Feelings as if we can't change and/or what difference does it make what we do.
        • It is important to recognize this negative self-talk and to replace it with positive self-talk.  Not pie-in-the-sky, delusional or completely unrealistic, but still positive.
        • Sometimes we are our own worst enemy.
Achieving a higher purpose is not for the faint and often times requires a lot of sacrifice with little reward (at least at first).  But, it is important to focus on the One that created us in His own image and realize that God doesn't give us more than we can handle.  We just have to do our best and then leave it in His hands.


Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Fine Line: Failure takes no effort, success takes a lot of work

I believe if you have been around long enough and reflected a little, you'll come to realize (at least on some level) that life is full of fine lines.  To wit consider:
  • In sports and competition.  
    • Winning or losing a 100 meter swim or sprint by .01 seconds
    • Fouling back a pitch vs. hitting a home run.
    • Throwing an incomplete pass vs. a touchdown pass.
  • With a change of a word or two, something meant as a compliment can be taken as an insult.
  • With a moment of inattention we could be in a major accident on the highway.  
  • Going out a few minutes earlier or later or signing in a few minutes earlier or later could make the difference between finding a companion who treats us well vs. one who treats us poorly
  • A couple answers on a test can mean the difference between getting a scholarship or not or getting into the school of our choice or not.. 
I don't know when I came to it, but having lived my life without much of a safety net or extras or flash tends to make you realize the fine line between success and failure.  I realized that if I didn't succeed in college that I would never have any type of life as I tend to be less handy with my hands and more handy with my mind.   I realize that if I didn't succeed I would not any help to speak of from family.

As I likely have adult ADD, sometimes learning takes a little more effort.  So, while I am very smart, sometimes I have to really bear down and focus to get the job done.  So, I knew success wouldn't come easy for me.

I have seen people around me fail by making very little if any effort at all, but alternatively have seen people succeed by trying hard.  It has become clear to me that failing is actually very simple, often times it is a matter of doing little or nothing.  Like if you take your hands off the wheel when driving, you will eventually crash vs. getting to your destination.  If you don't look for work you'll stay unemployed.  Etc.   Success on the other hand typically means pushing past when you are tired, pushing past when you are ready to quit, pushing past when you are 'done'.  Success often means reaching for that little extra when you are physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually exhausted.  In other words, it is a fine between giving up and failing and success.

I guess the take away is this:

  • Failure is the eventual default position, but success is the position that takes a lot of planning and/or effort.  That is to say failure is the default state and success is the state that you have to work towards. 
  • The difference between success and failure is often a very small amount.  That is, a fine line.


Keep moving forward toward the dream

The difference between failure and success
Is often when you've decided to continue or take a rest

The goal seems too far away
But, if pushing forward you stay

Focused on the prize ahead
Despite all the effort you dread

You will find that as you continue to move forward
Close and closer to you reward

Will you get, until one day you have achieved your dream
Then all the your effort will seem

To fade into the background
But you on the other hand will still be around.