”Today will never happen again. Don’t waste it with a false start or no start at all.” Og Mandino
You might have heard the story about the great escape artist. This man could not be confined. He could extricate himself from any prison, any sealed enclosure within a very short amount of time.
This man wowed the crowds the world over with his unusual talent.
One day, he received a challenge from a small town sheriff: Try and flee from his jail. To make it more interesting, the lawman said the town would pay him one million dollars if he could free himself within 20 minutes.
But, there was a caveat. If the breakout specialist was unable to flee his incarceration within the 20 minute period, the artiste would be forced to remit one million dollars to the town.
Needless to say, he was up to the challenge. The offer was accepted readily by the performer.
Now, there was much angst, consternation and fear coming from the town’s people in this small, poor village. If the great escape artist freed himself within the allotted time, the municipality would be on the hook for one million dollars. That would force the town into bankruptcy. So the agreement by the community was far from unanimous and was ushered along with much uncertainty.
The great escape artist arrives in town. He is greeted by the locals with much fanfare and hoopla accompanied by a high degree of underlying apprehension and concern.
Then, after brief welcoming remarks, the lawman, the escape artist and the assembled crowd, walk over to the sheriff’s office. The performer is escorted to the holding cell by the officer who then slams the door tightly shut.
It is now Showtime!
The great escape artist gets to work. For him, this is a “no brainer” payday.
Five minutes pass and the great artist is hard at work. He has freed himself from the most escape-proof institutions all over the world.
Ten minutes into the challenge, he is showing signs of concern.
Now with only five minutes left, he is laboring furiously.
With only one minute left, the great artist is sweating profusely and can’t understand why this particular jail door is so hard to unlock.
The twenty minutes have expired. For the first time in his career, he has lost a challenge. He is crestfallen and he is out one million dollars.
The town folk are both shocked and relieved.
He is totally frustrated. Still imprisoned behind bars, the great escape artist asks the lawman what made this particular jail cell so escape proof.
While waiting for a response from the lawman, he leans against the cell door and, suddenly the jail door opens. The cell gate had never been locked in the first place.
The moral of this story is don’t allow yourself to be incapacitated by pre-conceived notions.
False Starts, Broken Hearts.
These are tough times. That’s a given. We are over the age of 50. By this time in our lives, there’s been a bit of soul searching and reevaluating what is really important in life. Not only that but, along the way, we have even picked up some smarts bestowed upon each and every one of us, compliments of the gracious and peachy wisdom fairy.
But, even with all this going in our favor, most of us don’t take advantage of our talents and gifts. Why? I’m not sure but I’ll take a stab at it: It takes time and lots of introspection.
Here’s the kicker: Recent findings show that most of us would rather inflict pain upon ourselves than endure 15 minutes of peace and quiet.
Silence, meditation, prayer; call it what you will, it’s the means of opening wisdom’s door. But, it’s not held under lock and key. It is there for the taking; just open the door.
In the past, I have written about my formula: Noise + Distraction and Resistance = Scattered Potential and a World of Stress.
We can’t stand the pain of failure we are experiencing, even when it lacerates the very essence of who and what we are. The sad truth is it’s much easier to accept, endure and prolong current suffering than to hazard another course of action. It’s easier to deal with the devil you know than………………………………….
Perhaps, it’s the dread of facing fears and dealing with our own inner contagion.
This is not religion. But, there must be some truth to the time tested old saws about the devil in details and the road to hell being paved with good intentions.
Dismissing these alerts creates a climate of prolonged and needless torment.
But, some people don’t want to be happy. They revel in the questionable delights of disenchantment and schadenfreude. They do not want help. They are not ready for assistance. That’s not abandonment. It is not “writing them off.” It’s just the truth. Helping people who don’t want help wastes precious time that should be devoted to helping ourselves. It’s deflection of personal responsibility.
Let me go back to an old theory of mine, “People hear what they want to hear and only hear what they need to hear when they are ready to hear what they heard.”
And, it’s so much easier to get lost in pandemonium and diversion. That is here and now. It’s an anodyne.
On the other hand, success and accomplishment have total disregard for immediate needs. These are the bitches of serendipity.
They come and go as they please, leave no posted time of arrival or departure and convulse with laughter at our frustration with their delays and cancellations.
Thus the certainty that accompanies the temporary reprieve takes precedence over the ambiguity of the unknown.
It can be compared to the quiet before the storm or the suspenseful scene leading up to the appearance of the monster or villain.
It’s like we have been trained to distrust silence. That upsets the apple cart and places an expiration notice on the acknowledged status quo.
Perhaps, it’s the worry and agitation. They come in tandem with the false assumption that doing nothing leads to nothing; and that’s considered a waste of time. Or, it could be we are afraid to take the time to find answers and solutions in order to experience a more productive and meaningful life.
Half-hearted measures of the past have a way of magnifying in reflection thus impeding further discovery and resolution.
It is as if we become so addicted to the endurance of pain, that it is actually easier to continue with the burden and torment we know than surmount the uncertainty of the unknown; even if it renders a more positive result and outcome.
Yes, we are over 50. We are wiser. But it’s the implementation of that wisdom that takes a while to kick-start into motion.
We have to rise above our inner demons.
All of us have the distinct ability to make our lives a living hell.
We also have the manifest capacity to rise above our immediate circumstance and achieve what it is and where we want to be.
Yes, life is hard. But, what choice do we have.
We brand ourselves with failure when failures, flops and fiascos are only steps on the way to success.
The journey has not ended. So, why stop now? Take a break. Get into silence, prayer, meditation. They will guide you to answers. Don’t deride it. Don’t dismiss it. Don’t give up.
You’ve tried everything else.
Don’t anticipate. When you least expect things to happen, that’s when they always do. So turn attention to other things in life.
Let it happen.
Follow through by giving yourself a break. No more false starts and heavy hearts. The future has its own disclosure process. You have done all you can.
Life can be similar to a boxing match. There is no fighting in-between rounds. That’s the time to rest and regain strength.
Excuse the mixed metaphors but you have been running so far, so fast and so long that it’s time to allow opportunity to catch up with you.