“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”
Sun Tzu – The Art of War
“The man of thought who will not act is ineffective; the man of action who will not think is dangerous.”
In today’s morning writing I reflected upon my tendency to create situations in which people treat me badly or unfairly. At some level I created these situations or at least allowed them. Then I exacerbated them with more poor choices, passive aggressive behavior, laziness or avoidance. In the last thirteen months I started taking creating a better life. I actually did it before then by reading constantly. That led to new possibilities in my thinking. It was, however, the day I met my Muse, the day I knew I wanted to spend my life with her, and the day I took action, that everything really changed for me.
While this is not a new topic, I cannot affirm enough the power of action. The action must be consistent and disciplined though. That is why I write blogs almost every day. That is consistency. Writing first thing in the morning is discipline. Let me state this again, because this is important. To create the greatest amount of inner change, I need to write every day and I need to do it at the same time every day. I’ve been good with the consistency, but not so much with the discipline. I have no writing schedule; I just write when I get time. But a week ago, I started writing first thing every morning. I started this two weeks ago and have only missed two mornings. On one of those mornings, I wrote later in the day.
Life and the world will do its best to keep me from discipline and consistency. This is no one’s fault and it’s often unintentional, but it is unending. Brian Tracy says in Eat That Frog, that we will never have everything done. There will always be something, or several things to do. In my place there are stacks of books. I have read many of them, but there are many more I haven’t read. Most likely, in this life, I will never read them all. So I need to create a reading and study schedule, too.
With most things in life, the more I practice something, the easier it gets. This is not true of Purpose. It never gets easier. There is rarely a day that I don’t get tired or distracted while I’m reading or writing. There is rarely a day when I’m not offered other choices, many of them good ones. So there should never be a day when I don’t remind myself what I want.
· I want a house on the beach where I can live with my Muse for the rest of my life.
· I want to have a healthy relationship with God.
· I want to have a healthy relationship with my daughters.
· I want to make enough money to send my kids and grandkids to college.
· I want to read, write and study every day.
Those are the goals that come to mind immediately. Those are more than enough. Most of those goals are ongoing. They will always need to be monitored and managed. The trick is to do something every day that moves me toward these goals. I find then that if I schedule consistent times for my goals, I have a better chance of reaching them. Brian Tracy says even without writing my daily tasks down, I may still reach my goals, but I will create additional and unnecessary stress and delay.
So self-discipline is another tool I need for success. Others are action, consistency, determination, perseverance and vigilance. Perhaps I will discover more. For now, these are enough. These tools will help me to get to my Muse and to my house on the beach.
By the way, and now I digress, as writer Peter David says, I have struggled with the right phrase:
· House on the beach?
· House near the beach?
· House by the beach?
I’ve decided on “house on the beach” although this is technically incorrect. I don’t want a house on the beach. There would be no good foundation. You can’t build on the sand. It would be too close to the water and there would be too many people walking by and looking into my house. I want a house by or near the beach, two to three blocks away. The picture in my head is that every night I can take a walk and converse with my Muse about my next creative endeavor. I picked the preposition “on” simply because it rolls off the tongue more easily, with the consonant-vowel combination.
All of this, even my use of language, is about my choices. I need to create situations that are better for me so that I don’t react like a petulant child or a victim and so that I can really love and serve others. Responsibility for my actions is another tool I need to use every day. Blaming others only perpetuates unhappy cycles.
I know what I have to do. I don’t even have to say it, but I will. I have to Get Started and Keep Going.