Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Path of Purpose


“The path of least resistance is the path of the loser.”

H.G. Wells


“We turned our gaze from the castles in the distance,
 Eyes cast down on the path of least resistance.”

Rush – A Farewell to Kings


I’m trying to use every spare moment I can to stay in my Purpose and to reach my goal of 150 blogs by July 1.  That’s 16 days from now, which is a little more than two blogs a day.  I’ve never done this before.  I’ve made several goals that I want to meet in the next eight weeks.  I also have personal commitments.  It all seems overwhelming.  In addition, at this moment I’m feeling a little down because I was supposed to meet with a friend who just canceled. 
            This is how it works though.  I have disappointment, fear, sadness and frustration and I have two choices, and only two.  I can be in Purpose or I can be out of it.  The seemingly easier way would be to be out of Purpose.  Here’s what that looks like.
  • I give into fear.
  • I begin feeling sorry for myself.
  • I choose not to write, but instead I choose to eat, even though I’m not hungry, read comic books or watch a movie. 
  • I do something to numb the pain, but because almost nothing out of Purpose will accomplish this, I don’t even enjoy those activities.  I don’t taste the food, engage in the comic book or finish the movie.  Alcohol, drugs or any other illegitimate method of pain relief will also not work.
  • I talk to another friend and focus on how disappointed, sad or frustrated I am.  Nothing really gets resolved and I don’t really feel better at the end of the conversation.  Neither does my friend.
  • I play online video games, but I don’t fully engage in them.  And I lose most of them.
  • I allow my bad feelings to justify why I’m not in Purpose.

Actually, none of that sounds easy or fun.  It’s not easy, but it is the path of least resistance.  I’ve walked down that path far too many times in my life.
Here’s what being in Purpose looks like:
·      I start working.
·      I start feeling better.
·      I allow for my feelings but I don’t let them control me or dictate my actions.
·      I stay determined no matter how good or bad I feel.
·      I watch as my pain dissipates and perhaps even disappears altogether as I move in Purpose.
·      I feel my pain being replaced by joy and gratitude.
·      I remember that either way, being in or out of Purpose, I set an example, but moving in Purpose is a far less lonely way to set an example.
·      I remember that I have gifts and abilities that I am obligated and happy to share with the world.
·      I recognize that my disappointment may not be completely gone, but I’m still going to keep working.

So there are my two choices.  And so far, as I’ve said, I have not found a middle ground.  The following poem has been quoted so many times, I feel a little embarrassed to use it, but it applies.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
             I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
 I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost – The Road Not Taken


Tonight I took the road less traveled by and it has made all the difference.  I wish I could say I feel 100% better.  I don’t.  But I feel far better than I would have if I had decided to feel sorry for myself. 
George Carlin said, “Most people with low self-esteem have earned it.”  While that may seem cruel and insensitive, it jibes with Abraham Maslow’s assertion that we build our self-esteem through accomplishment.  I know that a lot of my low self-esteem was really shame for not doing the things I knew I should have been doing or for not doing my best.  I feel better about my life and myself when I take action.  I do something.  Lisa Nichols said, “Action is the antidote for despair.”
Now, I’m closer to my goal.  I feel better and happier.  As I said, I’m still not at 100%, but now I’ve earned my snack or my comic book or my movie.  Maybe I’ll do one of those things. 
Or maybe I’ll Get Started and Keep Going.