Saturday, May 30, 2015
On Goals, Excuses, Reasons and Positive Attitude - Why Some Folks Have More Challenges Than Others
Here's the post to which I've just referred:
Although I'm a big one for writing "to-do" lists, I wouldn't write my more meaningful/serious aims/goals in life down. The reason for that is that, for me, those things that mean the most to me (and particularly those that can't afford to be "diluted" in some way) keep their "full power" and strength by not being "diluted" by anything in "the outside world". I think of a line from Barry Manilow's, "I Made It Through The Rain," a song about how "dreamers have a way of getting through the day". The part of lyrics about which I'm thinking came to mind as I wondered why it is I feel as if it's so important not to write down, or otherwise share (even if only with the air) those goals/aims that mean the most to me. Those words are, "We keep the feelings warm, protect them from the storm, until our time arrives."
In his post, which shared some real-life stories about people who have reached their goals after putting them into words/writing, the author notes that so many people, when asked if they've written down goals (etc.) will come up with a "but". He, like so many other people who are generally correct about the subject of having clear-cut aims/goals and following through on them, mentioned how people will so often say they "have a situation" or "having a situation that someone else doesn't understand". Also, it was pointed out that all kinds of people have their own situations, so it was essentially suggested that having a situation isn't a good reason for not adopting those practices so often known for facilitating having and/or reaching goals.
Please understand that the following thoughts aren't (AT ALL) intended to come across like "reading the riot act" in reply the particular post I've mentioned above. Instead, the post inspired me to think about all the issues and implications associated with the subject of achieving goals by putting them (and also some plans to achieve them) into writing.
While I don't argue with the general ideas presented in the post, I have to say that some people live long enough, and/or live through enough, to learn that not all "situations" are equal. They're not equally simple or equally well understood or equally common (no matter how complex or difficult they may be). There are situations - lives, issues, other things - that might best be highlighted with a very few, isolated, words from a different song, which is a song from the Broadway production of Jekyll and Hyde, "A New Life" (and I don't mean all the lyrics, just those few words). Those few words are, "...a new day, bright enough to help me find my way."
Yes, most people have had their "situations" to overcome. Only some haven't had those BUT, as I said, not all situations are equal. They just are not.
Some people may think that other folks use having a situation as an excuse for not having, taking steps toward, and/or reaching goals. People who live with the more extreme, complex and/or "suffocating" (or otherwise overwhelming) of situations most often discover, I think, that contrary to using their situation as an excuse, they've instead found the strength and skill to develop some habits and positive thinking that surprises (maybe occasionally amazes) even them.
If there's one thing I've discovered about some types of situations, it's that some of them can best be compared to, say, having one's hands tied to a heavy chair; and then having other people in this world say, "All it takes is a positive attitude, and getting up out of that chair and moving out into your life and future." There are times when some situations (and sometimes some mult-faceted, multi-layered, situations) amount to a person's having his hands tied - at least for the present time.
There are people - some of whom start out strong and are made stronger and wiser by those extreme situations. Then there are others of who start out strong enough but are weakened or exhausted by their own situations (and I use "situations", plural, because the most complex ones can involve more than one simpler situation). There are lives that - no matter how many bright spots and/or profound meaning may exist in them - are so battered by one type of storm or another, so darkened by a seemingly endless string of gray clouds, and so relentlessly lived on shifting sands that a person may have no choice but to spend most, or all, of his energy and attention on just surviving all the storms, trying to find solid footing in shifting sands, staying whole (and if the person has children in his life then staying "better than whole" for them, as well as trying to get them safely through all the storms) and surviving mentally, emotionally and sometimes even physically.
Yes, I'm among those whose lives have involved the kind of situation(s) to which I've referred. And the "storms" to which I've referred aren't necessarily about money (although money can certainly bring some stormy weather in ways a lot of people who haven't done without it might never realize). No, though; the kinds of storms to which I'm referring can have nothing whatsoever to do with money. That can be what makes some of them such a challenge and often completely resistant to the usual kind of things that positive-thinking people do in order to get through some challenges.
I borrowed those few, isolated, words from "A New Life" to make a point here. I want to be clear that the last thing I'd ever want is a new life. There's so much about the life that I have that I wouldn't trade for the world, that's made me strong and positive, and that make me consider myself one of the most blessed and fortunate people there could be. No, I don't want a new life. I'd just like - for more than a day and a half, maybe - one of those days that would be "bright enough to help me find my way". Please don't make the mistake of thinking that "find my way" implies that I'm lost. I'm not lost and never have been. Also, please understand that I wouldn't want sympathy if someone knew the details of my own situations. I'm a strong person and a survivor; and I'm kind of proud of, and very pleased about, beng both. I wouldn't be either, I don't think, if I weren't as skilled with positive attitude as I've always been.
Positive attitude is something that many people discover is a good idea. It's something, too, though, that many people have little choice but to develop; because if they don't they aren't going to survive, or at least come through those storms whole.
It's just that in a life of so many storms, or else so many coming so soon after the previous one that there's been no time to clean up one storm-ravaged mess before another one comes; and in a life when I've had to try to get four people - not just one - through it all (and through it all with as little damage/hurt as possible), a person can find himself exhausted a good part of the time (and when he does have those times of not being completely without energy, or when he finds ways to get a little back when he's running on empty, he's likely use those "good moments" for aiming to do all those things I've mentioned above.
I don't want to come across like I want to be viewed as "some martyr", and I don't want the proverbial medal for not having a sunnier life than mine seems to have turned out to be and for living it, and staying whole through it, anyway. Still, in a world in which I now I'm far, far, from alone in my situation of unrelenting and destructive life-storms (even if some other folks' storms have been different from those in my life, I just wish there weren't so many people who look at those folks who have overcome situations and believe that because they've overcome those particular situations then all situations can be overcome as well.
By virtue of having been overcome, it is clear that overcoming some types/degrees of situation or obstacles is doable. The fact that SOME types/degrees of those things can be/have been overcome, however, says nothing about whether other types/degrees of them always can be - because as a lot of people have discovered, sometimes they just cannot be (at least at the present time, but sometimes at all).
What I've discovered about pasts, presents and futures is this: Pasts don't become "pasts" unless/until the weather changes and makes them "the past". And, we can't turn presents into futures unless/until presents have been differentiated from pasts.
"I made it through the rain. I kept my world protected." - That's why I won't take out my protected aims and goals and toss them out, in the form of putting them into writing, into days that still aren't "bright enough to help me find my way".
Posted by ME Whelan at 10:51 PM