Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Next Level

"From this point on, the race's advancement will come from the efforts of its individuals."

Shelby Steele

Sometimes we turn a corner.  There’s a difference between understanding something intellectually, even being able to discuss it, and really experiencing and knowing something.  Yesterday it felt like the latter happened to me.  And it’s not the first time.  I’ve written about my struggles with organization and clutter.  This is a problem I’ve had all my life.  Then I heard T. Harv Eker say, “I won’t work with someone who has a messy car.” 
The next day, and for the next few days, I cleaned out my car.  Then I cleaned my garage and then my work area.  I threw away, gave away, sold, or recycled literally hundreds of items.  I’ve done this before.  Once I worked for four nights in a row, from 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. completely organizing the office space in my classroom.  It looked great…for about two weeks.  Soon it was back to its previous cluttered look.  And it stayed that way until I left that job.  So what makes this time different?  Won’t I soon go back to my old habits?  No.
What’s different this time is this:  I visualized, in my deepest heart, what my life could look like if it were more organized.  I visualized a clean trunk, glove compartment, and garage.  That’s something I’ve never done.  There was, in my mind, an instant understanding of what I needed to do. 
It wasn’t intellectual.  It wasn’t about tips or systems or structures to get and stay organized.  I’m not against those things, but I needed something deeper.  And it came to me in an instant.  I stopped telling myself, “I might need this some day,” and began freeing myself of clutter and stuff.
At the moment, my trunk and glove compartment could stand a little work, but it would only take three minutes, not three hours, as it once did.
Then yesterday, I visualized something else – my future home.  It’s white and spacious and beautiful.  It has books.  It’s clean. I realized again, in an instant, that I would not only have to do things differently; I would have to be a different person.  I would have to go to the next level.  (On a serendipitous note, one of my daughters is on a softball team called “The Next Level.”)
What does “the next level” mean?  It means exactly what it says.  There is a level of life, financially, spiritually, emotionally, and physically.  We can be at a lower level before, due to a lack of maturity, wisdom, or experience, but through growth and work, it's possible to move up.  To get more  out of life, you have to move up again.  This means the following:
·      Have a clear picture in my head about what I want.
·      Begin treating fear as nothing more than a thought, instead of a reality.
·      Stop entertaining any and all negative thought patterns, especially irritations or disappointments.
·      Keep your mind focused on what you want, rather than what you don’t want. 
·      Trade old thoughts for new ones. 
·      Stop complaining.
·      Stop complaining.
·      Stop complaining.
·      Take care of yourself so you can live a long life and fulfill your mission.
·      Take risks.
·      Get Started and Keep Going.

Get to next level.  It took me a long time to get where I am now.  It took courage and patience and mistakes. I’m glad I’m here, but I’m not meant to stay here.  Neither are you.  There is world of promise out there.  Others have it and you can, too.  If you don’t get what you want, then it may be  because you have chosen to stay at a certain level.  Maybe one day that will be okay, but today it isn’t.  The next level is waiting.  It’s time to Get Started and Keep Going…to the next level.