In response to my most recent post, Reflection and Resolution, my sister wrote that “it seemed a bit disjointed.” I take her input seriously anyway, but in this particular case she’s managed to capture a larger feeling that I’ve had for some time. I can’t seem to focus on completing individual tasks: I’m always moving from one thing to the next, mentally and sometimes literally.
Do I have adult ADD?? Well, based upon my Wikipedia research, my self-diagnosis comes back negative. Maybe, like Dante, “In the midway of this our mortal life, / I found me in a gloomy wood, astray / Gone from the path direct[.]” Ironically (or paradoxically, or something), I had planned to write a post that used Google Maps, as its framework. (It was also to include references Sun Tzu and Benjamin Franklin. Maybe my sister has a point, huh?)
Clever as I think that post might have turned out, it would have been little more than the “a tale / Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, / Signifying nothing.”
It’s not that I’ve lost my way…I don’t even know where I’m going! It’s not just the blind leading the blind here. You’ve got Captain Wanderlust at the helm, and he’s had a whole bottle of rum before noon!
So I’ve put that aside for the time being, all that talk about “finding the paths formed by the conditions of your success.” Don’t misunderstand me – I still that our working terms of Preparation and Providence hold up. There are numerous ways of saying the same thing(s), which many people smarter and more accomplished than I have done – which leads me to think that my thinking is at least directionally correct, as well as come by honestly.
Rather than persisting in this journey, hoping to bumble way back into familiar territory and the answers I don’t currently know that I’m seeking, I’m hitting the pause button. I want to take a “meta-journey.” Finding my way in order to find my way. If this sounds unnecessarily esoteric and pretentious, well, yeah, maybe. But I’m really concerned with getting all of this – whatever “this” is – right, in the hopes of doing all of us a bit of good for our lives.
Two phrases, borderline platitudinous but relevant nonetheless, come to mind here. The first, repeated to me recently and often by my good friend Deshad, is “Progress, not Perfection.” One day, after discussing that at some length, I told him I wanted to add “Trust the Process” to our list of mantras.
In response to the first, “Progress, not Perfection,” I’ve taken up a challenge, from Seth Godin, to “ship a product,” in the form of a blog post, every day for a week. Read more here: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2015/01/getting-unstuck-a-one-week-challenge.html
Simple, and also maybe a bit trite, but I like it and it struck me at just the right time and in just the right way. Progress. Everyday. At least for a week…
The second phrase, “Trust the Process,” I could attribute to a variety of recently viewed source material, but in the interest of my eternal soul I’ll give it to Oswald Chambers and the My Utmost for His Highest daily devotional, which on January 12 read, in part:
Jesus does not take us alone and expound things to us all the time; He expounds things to us as we can understand them. Other lives are parables. God is making us spell out our own souls. It is slow work, so slow that it takes God all time and eternity to make a man and woman after His own purpose.
It’s slow work, this thing we call life. Even if I thought I could handle the truth God wanted to impart to me, I could not handle it. I’ve got to trust the process. That’s hard.
But wait…are those two statements, and my responses to them – first, to take action, and second, to wait – in conflict? Is this not the palpable tension of Preparation and Providence that is central to this project?
Oh gosh…it’s like this all actually does make sense…I better quit while I’m ahead!
So here’s what we’re going to do for the next few days, and, with any luck (or is it Providence…?), over the coming weeks and months. We’re going to probe the definitional boundaries of the following:
- What is Success, both in your life as a whole, as well as being able to identify what that means in any situation you may encounter
- How to determine your individual conditions of success, elements of Preparation and Providence
- How, once you understand those things, to recognize and apply them in any situation to improve your chances of favorable outcomes
My hunch is this: over time, by going through that process and doing all of that, you’ll stand a greater chance of eliminating situations that you do not choose and find yourself in a greater number of circumstances where your conditions of success are more easily recognized and applied. Now THAT sounds like a goal, one that you can make progress toward each day as well as one that you must trust to a long-term process.
Won’t you join me, Captain Wanderlust, on this meta-voyage?
PS – we’ve assembled quite the crew so far.