The Long and Winded Road v2

In the whole grand scheme of things, you’re stepping on my foot

Posted in Life, Uncategorized by enochlau on 12 November, 2008

One thing notable about the way that I find myself or the people around me doing things is how we usually end up being at either extreme of the scale of short- or long-sightedness. I don’t mean the physical vision aspect, but one where we are able to look at both the short and long term with equal, or at least acceptable, consideration.

Some people would be the “pioneering visionary” type, where they have idea after idea coming but either don’t care or are simply uninformed about the execution of their plans and the people who have to work drive the ideas. The others — and these are usually the majority — are those whose actions are for the short-term, reactionary and sometimes urgent; these people often working without any inkling of the big picture or, sadly, a couldn’t-care-less attitude about how their work fits into the big picture.

You might, on occasion, hear of people talking about tactics (short-term, present) and strategy (long-term, future) and how they might apply to, say, business and marketing. Sure, it’s also covered a lot in organizational behaviour and other topics you might cover in business school.

The interesting thing is how people end up looking to you if you consider their actions, thoughts and plans with this in mind. For example:

1. Evaluate yourself — are you the kind who thinks for the moment, finding people who talk about long-term and “big picture” annoying? Or are you one of the dreamers/visionaries and find people who bring up details nitpickers and obstacles to your ideas? I hardly think that many can deftly switch between the two at will, but hey — I’m no psychologist.

2. Pick a person, and pick a focus area — easiest example: finances. Is the person a live-for-the-moment sort, or are they always putting purchases (or non-purchases) into perspective?

3. Now, does this person behave completely the opposite in another area?

4. How do you feel about their behaviour when compared to your method of thinking?

I think there are some people who are fully capable of being at both extremes in different situations, but finding someone who is a good balance of both within the same topic or area is a rare find.

The greatest life-changing event that ever happened to me… a piece at a time

Posted in Life, Musings, Uncategorized by enochlau on 11 November, 2008

I believe that as a whole, life isn’t permanently changed by the One Time Where Something Happened And I Was Never The Same Again moment. To me, it’s the total effect of daily, small choices. Little ideas that you pick up on, small decisions that you make, tiny “aha!” moments that somehow prod you towards a certain direction. It’s like you’re at the wheel, and you get to where you’re going by making minute adjustments — not a single big 180.

Sure, if you’re spending your days waking up in a pool of your vomit as you pee the rest of the alcohol out of your bloodstream and through your pants, you definitely need a 180. For the other 99.99% of the time though, the 180 isn’t going to come. There won’t be a totally awesome moment where you find yourself broken down, on the floor weeping and swearing to change Whatever so that you’ll be a Better Person overall. Even if it does happen, but the change doesn’t happen there — only the decision to change; the real stuff happens only through small, minor decisions made over time.

Small corrections, little adjustments. But with consistency.

The times when I find myself seeking That Big Moment, I never change; I never develop. It’s like I’m in a state of limbo, waiting for that spark to ignite Something in me to cause Something to happen. It never does.

The times when I realize that every change ripples down over time, it puts a different radio station on in my head. When I realize that I’ve learned Something, no matter how small, and just working it in to my M.O. is all that I need — without worry about how big an effect it will have on my development.

Those are the awesome moments — finding an idea that just changes a mental preset that I’ve always had, or an inspiration for an idea that’s just small enough to do. Who knows what will change in the future?

I read another great idea today: How To Be Creative. Someone ordinary with an extraordinary idea, summarizing his life’s learning (so far) into 26 lessons. It seems like just another article, with another generic application. But I’ve learned not to underestimate the power of a single thought that breaks a mindset.

From the article: #7. Keep your day job. It’s just a simple statement (you can read the article’s explanation on your own), but one that has really taken on my problem with balancing what I have to do with what I want to do. In short: there will always be a divide; accept it.

I won’t write about what I’ve learned from it, simply because we all learn and apply different things from what comes before us. The lesson for me is not whether this is a “life-changing” event or even its eventual significance, but what I’m able to apply personally, and what I’m able to change now, no matter how small it is.

And one day when I look back, it will be “OMG my life was TOTALLY changed by this one event, but it was actually over years, time, pain and actually made up of small ideas that all came together.” No big testimony, no flashy story – just time.

Richard Branson put it aptly as the title of his book: “Screw it, let’s do it.”

Let’s think about the effects later.

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