Yesterday, driving south down the 405, creeping along in traffic at the pace of a severely hungover snail, I was exhilarated to find that I had remembered to bring my Bluetooth speakers. Whenever I magically remember to throw them in my bag on the way out the door, and especially if they actually happen to be equipped with a full charge, it totally turns my day around. It means that instead of listening to the gritty, between-stations radio of my trusty ’81 Toyota, I am able to play NPR TED Radio Hour. (Don’t get too excited, meow!)
With new-found resolve to enjoy my drive to Torrance, I switched them on.
I-phone in the hands-free dock? CHECK.
Bluetooth on? CHECK.
“DING!” (I’m connected!!!)
I didn’t look around too much – just clicked an episode – “To The Edge” (Link at bottom). If you’ve never listened to the program before – DO IT! These hour-long themed compilations of various TED talks cater not only to a hunger for inspiration, but to the short attention span that most of us suffer from these days. NPR picks the most astounding, brain-gripping, eyeball-widening parts of 4-6 talks surrounding a basic theme, and they re-interview the speakers to get deeper into their most life-changing moments.
I settled into my car seat, adjusted my rear view, and prepared to be lifted up and away.
“When I put one foot on the wire, I have the faith – the certitude – that I will perform the last step as well. You cannot have a project, a goal, if you do not believe firmly that it is possible. If not, it’s like, oh…I hope…one day…you know, success will fall from the sky and I will be there to receive it! It doesn’t work like that!”
While many portions of the program inspired me and hit home, this particular quote stuck with me because of its simplicity and clarity. It was one of those things that you hear and you think “HOLY SHIT! That’s Genius!” And then you realize it is TOTALLY obvious. You feel a little stupid at first, but then you realize other people might be in the dark too – especially since it’s groundbreaking and (potentially) genius enough to be put on a popular radio show.
I believe many of us make goals and start projects without consciously visualizing what it would feel like to complete them. Small things – like keeping the house clean for more that 48 hours or getting to your yoga class 5 times in a week – those are the harder ones – the ones we focus on less. But maybe if we visualized and truly believed in these small achievements more, our more daunting projects would seem more possible. Can we build faith, build belief in our own success, by just…practicing?
My theme in class this week was “You master what you practice” – something I was told repeatedly in class by my Minneapolis-based teacher Nora Byrne. This came to mind as I pondered the above. What would happen if we worked to master the visualization of small projects – if we could have faith that we are continuously capable of completing and succeeding in the smaller things that make our life our own?
If you’ve never seen the following blog post – check it out. It describes perfectly how the smaller things in adult life add up – how we courageously commit to changing our ways, and then quickly fall into the pit of despair that is the realization that we have to do it all over again tomorrow.
This humorously illustrates what I think most of us struggle with on a daily basis. We attack tasks from the perspective of “If I go to the gym every day, keep my house clean, make time for my social life, and brush my teeth on a consistent basis, I will succeed at life!” However, as life moves on, other things become important to us and take away from our desire to succeed at the smaller tasks. “Well, if I don’t clean the house tonight, I can go to yoga and go out to dinner, and then I will clean TOMORROW!” (suuuureeeee….)
What if we approached it from the perspective of Phillipe Petite on his way from one tower to the other? More specifically – what if I committed to write in my blog ONCE A WEEK – what if I actually imagined, believed, had faith that it would happen? What if I imagined the day next year…September 18th, 2014, that I sat down at my desk, gently bopped my fluffy bunny-cat Khaleesi on the head, and opened my laptop to see fifty-two entries? What if I imagined what they would say, and how they would evolve? What if I visualized how it would feel to look back, to re-examine my thought process and re-discover hidden gems?
Time for us to take it away from the what if. Time to actually do it. Time to start with the small stuff, to master what we practice.
If I can write once a week in a blog for a whole year – if I can be THAT committed, that consistent, and stay connected through total belief in my own success, who know what else I can do?!