Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

Ever since I was a kid I’ve occasionally had a kind of recurring fantasy: leaving everything and everyone I know behind and either surviving in the wilderness or moving somewhere far away and completely different.

Often that fantasy is preceded by recognizing some kind of lack in myself or something I want to improve. I like the idea of being able to go work on myself alone for a while. In fact anyone who’s ever gone on a retreat to figure out a problem or find a spiritual solution probably knows exactly what I’m talking about.

In “Imagine: How Creativity Works” there are a few examples of how changing your scenery or situation can spark a moment of ingenuity that enables you to overcome an obstacle or even just get your creative juices flowing. The idea is that if you remove yourself from your day-to-day situation you (at least temporarily) break free from the preconceptions and assumptions you have made about yourself, or that others have made and you’ve chosen to believe.

The problem is that eventually you have to come back to “the real world” and get back to whatever life you live. Hopefully you can start integrating some of the things you’ve realized or learned, though that’s certainly not always the case. There are a few great teachers out there trying to help people bridge the gap between these amazing realizations and how you apply them in day to day life, but it’s still a difficult journey.

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The Bridge

It’s hard to accept that you will never achieve the perfect realization of your dream or vision.

A topic I’ve found myself discussing frequently this last week is how it’s difficult to get yourself going towards a goal or action when you want to achieve that goal or execute that action perfectly.

You can end up spending years plotting your startup and never do anything about it because “you aren’t quite ready yet.”

One of the conversations I had with a friend recently revolved around that issue and the question of when enough would be enough. The outcome of the conversation was a fairly simple metaphor: “You’ve been waiting for this boat to get closer so you can jump to it from the one you’re on, but it’s gotten so close that now it’s just incremental. You had two big barriers to entry and they’re both gone. Now the boat is within a few feet, easy jumping distance, and every day it’s only getting a few centimeters closer. It will never get right up next to you… Just jump already.”

Of course not everyone wants to jump from one boat in life to another, but that’s different. If you don’t want to jump, don’t! But accept that you don’t. No sense in looking longingly at the other boat wishing you “could” – you always can, but you have to decide to pursue it or let it go.

Another great conversation recently revolved around artists and led to this quote: “an artist is a person who can accept the difference between what they see in their head and what they create. Most people who say they’re not an artist can’t accept that difference.”

I’d say the same rule applies to a lot of things. If you want something you have to be able to accept that it will never be as you imagined… Not exactly anyway. continue reading…