Stop Making Sense
Posted June 6, 2011on:
(happy birthday, blog!)
OK, back to the writing challenge again. I’ll tackle today’s, first. The prompt is lengthy, and it talks about the kinds of risks we might take if we stopped thinking rationally for just a moment…
(monday 6 june) Our arts, our occupations, our marriages, our religion, we have not chosen, but society has chosen for us. We are parlour soldiers. We shun the rugged battle of fate, where strength is born. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Next to Resistance, rational thought is the artist or entrepreneurs worst enemy. Bad things happen when we employ rational thought, because rational thought comes from the ego. Instead, we want to work from the Self, that is, from instinct and intuition, from the unconscious.
A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. Its only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate.” – Steven Pressfield, Do the Work
The idea of “being realistic” holds all of us back. From starting a business or quitting a job to dating someone who may not be our type or moving to a new place – getting “real” often means putting your dreams on hold.
Today, let’s take a step away from rational thought and dare to be bold. What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to accomplish but have been afraid to pursue? Write it down. Also write down the obstacles in your way of reaching your goal. Finally, write down a tangible plan to overcome each obstacle.
The only thing left is to, you know, actually go make it happen. What are you waiting for? (Author: Matt Cheuvront)
Ah, yes. I am a scientist, through and through. Despite my artsy tendencies, I heavily rely on logic and rational behavior, often without realizing it. This prompt was written for ME.
After thinking about this a while, one of the things that’s been on a life-long (eh, partial life-long) to-do list is living overseas again. In 2008, we spent a summer in Copenhagen. I won’t cite that as the best place to live by any means, but it was a fantastic experience, and it really gave me itchy feet to do it again. I’m kind of keen on a Berlin suburb (less expensive, and I liked the modernity of the city, though it might be young) but I don’t know…
What’s holding me back? Foremost, finances. Being injured and out of work for over a year hasn’t been good. At some point, since life is short, you have to just take a leap. We have the advantage of having met a grad student who works in real estate between Berlin and Munich, and when we last chatted at the end of last year, he’d be happy to help us find a place to stay.
I guess my first tangible step is plotting a daily budget, and figuring if someone could watch the house here (and/or rent it out)? I’m also trying desperately to find some teaching work for fall quarter…
Now that I’ve answered today’s prompt, I’ll go for yesterday’s! 🙂
(sunday 5 june) Life wastes itself while we are preparing to live. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you had one week left to live, would you still be doing what you’re doing now? In what areas of your life are you preparing to live? Take them off your To Do list and add them to a To Stop list. Resolve to only do what makes you come alive.
Bonus: How can your goals improve the present and not keep you in a perpetual “always something better” spiral? (Author: Jonathan Mead)
Hm. I was just telling Bruce today about how everything in my life is about preparing in some way for travel or exploration (and, in some ways, my recent business expansion is a sort of “exploration”). Getting stronger and rehabbing from surgery means that I’d be ready to travel again. Every time I read an old book and sell it at the used bookstore puts 25 cents toward my travel fund. Each meal I prepare from items already in the pantry saves money that could otherwise be used traveling. There is a common theme, part of it being “preparing” for living, as Jonathan recommends against.
But in my case, I need to make an argument for preparation. If you are usually active but suddenly unable to walk (like I was for a few months), how can you enjoy traveling to the same degree? Wouldn’t it be fine to postpone for a month or two?
I guess not if you only have a week to live.
So, if I only had a week to live, I’d see as much of the world as I could in whatever condition I was, and drag along the people I love, assuming they could stand each other.
I find myself filing email at least once a week, clearing off my desktop for 15-20 minutes or so. But–this sounds cheesy–it’s almost Zen-therapeutic. I don’t really think of the email. It’s modern-day meditative. So while others would call it “wasted time”, it helps me clear my space and my head. (So… why don’t I just go outside and take a walk instead? You know… that’s a really good question! 😉 )
OK, readers–I’m curious how you’d answer these questions! Get your thinking caps on!