Fortunate Enough to Be Ignorant….Then and Now

“Ignorance is bliss.” And, you know, it’s true!

Think about it.  When you were in your teens, 20’s and 30’s, you were capable of doing things quickly without much thought or insight.  There were no limitations.

Then, as you look back, you accomplished more and did so quickly and easily.  Now, things seem to take more time. Why?  Way back then, you were fortunate enough to be ignorant; naïve.

That’s not a put down.

No one really told you how hard getting ahead would be.  And, most likely, any advice given you, really did not register or, it went in the proverbial one ear, got lost somewhere in your cranial cavity, searching frantically for the escape hatch through your other ear.  Let’s face it. You had other things on your mind.

You did things automatically, instinctively.  Eventually, you took some direction, put it all together and somehow it all made some sense and, voila, Success!.

Sure, there were doubts and uncertainties along the way, but, you overcame those obstacles and moved on..Now, be fair with yourself.  Look back in retrospect. You accomplished much in your life.  Along the way, you experienced loss, turndowns, disappointments and rejection.   You dealt with it all back then.  No great setback. Youth has an amazing flexibility in rising above impediment.

Unfortunately, resiliency fades somewhat with age. Now, you’re 50 Plus and tough times can take a greater toll.  It’s life.  And, somewhere along the way, things really got tougher.  Plus, nowadays, it takes the mind  an extra beat or two to kick into gear. And, to compensate for apparent limitation, pride kicks in.  Eventually that becomes a confidence killer.

Then, when you’re young, you were fortunate enough to be Ignorant. Now, it takes more time to do what once was accomplished so effortlessly. So now, what do you do?

Author/Speaker Harvey Mackay writes about the time he was preparing for a series of speaking engagements in Japan. So, he and he son, who was attending college at the time, decided to study Japanese together.

His son turned out to be a language whiz while Harvey Mackay struggled.  By his own admission, Mackay was barely getting somewhere on a very slow track. But, he didn’t give up.  He didn’t allow for mission drift.  He stuck with his studies and didn’t compare his speed and efforts to those of his son.

It took Mackay an extra 3 weeks to get the Japanese language fundamentals down.  But, he did it.

And, so can you!

It’s too easy to throw in the towel.  I’ve been there.  It’s frustrating.  You feel like you’ve lost it. And, who wants to think of themselves as a failure. Looking back, you know you’ve accomplished so much then, so why does success seem so hard to accomplish now?

Why?  Because you are not allowing yourself to be fortunate enough to be ignorant.  So, be ignorant!  Take the time to fail.  Yes, FAIL.  Just know that failure is not the end game.

When you were younger, you didn’t keep score on success and failure.  You kept on doing what you were doing and got it right.  Plus, the mind was more flexible then.  It was more adaptable. You didn’t have enough life experience to compare.  So, you weren’t dealing with your own internal failure/success mechanism that sets up metrics for passing judgment on your  personal value and worth.

Be ignorant.  Allow yourself to fail.  Make it part of your Success Plan.  Recognize that failure leads to success.  Recognize that Success today just takes a bit longer.

Life is rough out there.  Get on your side.  Don’t be an enemy to yourself.  What’s the old line about a house divided…..?

Albert Einstein once said, “Great Spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”  So, here’s a reality check:  You don’t have a mediocre mind.

Allow mental connections to take hold slowly and naturally.  Then, once you’ve got it, come on strong like the storm trooper you are.  Do your thing.  You know I’m right.

Give yourself more time.  Stop keeping personal success/failure scores. It’s invalid and irrelevant.  Forget pride and being sooo judgmental towards yourself.

Be a kid again.  Allow failure to lead to success.  If that sounds ignorant, then, I’m all for it!

Simplicity Wins

Ever notice when things aren’t going well and prospects seem to vanish, the mind tends to go into negative overdrive.  It looks wildly for answers when, at the moment, there are none on the horizon. The old saying, “what the mind can conceive, the mind can achieve” takes on unimaginable negative connotation.

It allows the subconscious to run wild.  Then, it acts like roaming rogue elephants. Research shows that elephants lacking direction, tend to act destructively, dangerously and with total abandon.  This creates an atmosphere of license.

The same is true with the mind. It runs wild with no monitor or guidance to help steer and accept a more constructive course.  When you’re down and solutions seem almost non-existent, it takes all you have to muster the strength to re-imagine the thought process to guide us onto a more positive, responsive path.

And, with no mentoring or directional feedback, we turn to  beating up on ourselves unmercifully.  That triggers an intransigent downward spiral; a mindset of misery and hopelessness.  It’s amazing what we put ourselves through.

Plus, all too often and, in a perverse manner, we feel unworthy of freeing ourselves from this masochistic decline.  It’s like we haven’t suffered enough and are deserving of even more pain.

I speak from experience.  I’m not here sermonizing from atop Mount Olympus.  I get into funks like everyone else.  It can be a struggle. In fact, it’s why I wrote my first book, “Out of the Fog and Into Focus.” As I look back, I realize what a prescient title.

So many of us aged 50 and above, concentrate on past and present failings and under-value previous and recent positive accomplishment.  We do this to the point that just about anything of a self-affirming nature is placed on life-support.  And because we’re in a depressed state, it gives the subconscious license to conjure up past failures and negatively re-interpret positive experiences.

English Author and Poet, Gilbert Keith Chesterton once said, “If you don’t believe in God, you don’t believe in nothing.  You believe in everything.”

Now, hold on.  I am not proselytizing   I’m making a point.

Let’s take this out of the religious realm and replace the word God with spirit.  If you don’t believe in something that really matters, something that resonates with you at your very core, it’s all too easy to go down any path that comes to mind.  And, that’s the point.

You flounder. You’re lost.  You’ll try anything and dismiss core beliefs; the things that “brung ya to the dance” in the first place.

The Solution:  Find the time to take the time to re-evaluate what it is you really want and not concentrate on what you need.

Want is positive.  It is faith.  Need is negative.  Need depletes energy.  It discounts intelligence, talent, successes, drive and dreams.  Need can suck you dry.

The goal is to establish what it is you want and not settle on something for the sake of taking action.  That’s not action.  It’s commotion.

Go back to your strength.  If it’s time to move on, then move on.  But, test the waters allied with your expertise. Recognize those ties to your assets and allow them to work for you as a guide.

Need is negative and breeds Noise, Distraction, Resistance that equal Scattered Potential and a whole lot of Stress.

What I’m saying is don’t complicate, simplify.  Concentrate on simplicity.  At times like this, complication is a power source power drain.

Stick with the old KISS theory.  And, at this time, the only thing stupid is complication. So, keep it simple.


Too Young to Be Old

Vocations which we wanted to pursue, but didn’t, bleed, like colors on the whole of our existence.”                                                                 Novelist, Honore de Balzac

We are over the age of 50.  Most of us have done things we never, ever imagined doing.  We have worked in fields that either didn’t exist or were in the theoretical, gestation stages way back when.   We have come a long way from the impulsive aspirations of youth to the world-weary diminished expectations of adulthood.

And, we are over the age of 50.  Things have changed.  As a “for instance”, the older you get, the less the younger generation wants to associate with you?    If you are a parent, you’ve experienced this kind of estrangement since your kids reached their pre-teens and wanted little or nothing to do with you.  It’s love from afar.

However, In the workplace,  you now find that you are or close to the oldest person in the room with little in common with your peers.  Conversations with them are short, strained and to the point.  It’s as if being older is a contagion.

Face it, we live in the land of eternal youth worship.

Being older brings with it limitations.  The chance for advancement  is filled with too much of “Almost”  and too little of “Likeliehood.”

So, what do you do?  You are too young to be old.  And, you know it.  You come from a Restless Generation.

You don’t give up.  Sure, you’ve been knocked down by disillusion and the appearance of hopelessness and at times you want to say “what’s the use.”  But, you are a fighter.

Perhaps it’s time to Surrender.  That’s not giving up.  Surrender is the acceptance of a new beginning.  And, in this instance, maybe it’s time to revisit what it is you really want.

Do you really want to continue doing something that no longer provides satisfaction and stimulation?  What is it you always wanted to do?  You know, that something that grabbed you at the very core of your being that you put aside long ago?

And, this isn’t “middle age crazies” either.

If you reallllly take the time, you will unearth your many hidden strengths and ambitions.  Take the time.  Do it.  Write it all down.  And, don’t be so judgemental.  Right now, it doesn’t matter how impractical or seemingly ridiculous some of what you write down appears to be.

Make that list and then, come back  to it in a few days.  Give yourself some time to step away from the process and digest it. Then, start whittling away.

Pay close attention to those things that pull at your gut, the things you always wanted to do but never did.

You are part of a restless generation.  Isn’t it time to get on with what’s “Next”  in your life.  You’re over 50 now.

Don’t talk it, do it.  You are too young to be old.