Just Say It!

“There is value in stating the obvious. What is obvious to me is not obvious to others. What seems simple and clear to you is confusing to me.”  Teresa Colón

We live in a world where everyone presumes to know about everything and everyone else.  We think we know what the next person is thinking. And why not? We live our lives connected to social networks, email, TV and telephones.  Viral videos circle the globe in the time it takes to boil an egg. We work and socialize with like minded people so we all think alike, right?

My_Wife_and_My_Mother-In-Law_(Hill).svgWe just don’t see things from the same perspective. My past and my priorities cause me to focus on things that you don’t because of your perspective. What for me is ‘common sense’ might not be the same for you. While the article that caught my attention (link below) has its focus more on the business/work environment, it is also very true in any relationship. I can’t read your mind and you can’t read mine so please tell me what you are thinking.  Not telling me will lead to errors in judgement, anger and resentments. You see the young woman, and I see the old lady.

Here in Costa Rica we have teeny ants that appear out of nowhere to feast on even a single crystal of sugar. Obviously you don’t leave the sugar out. But not everyone knows that. Guests in my home are blissfully unaware of the little critters. I try to make a point about this whenever I pull the sugar bowl from the fridge. My ‘obvious’ isn’t yours. If I don’t tell you, you’ll never know.

Ask couples living who’ve just starting living together about the importance of stating the obvious. Hanging the roll of toilet paper with the end over the top seems a no brainer, unless of course you have a cat. Do you take the garbage out the night before or early morning is a question of how adaptive the racoons and monkeys are in your neighbourhood. Leaving the keys in the deadbolt at night might just save a life in an earthquake. Don’t feed a dog chicken bones. I know these things, but you might not because your experience may be very different from mine.

State your expectations. Many a family trip has been ruined because what the parents want for their children is way different from what their children have in mind. An open discussion before leaving on the trip about the various details can resolve many issues before they even arise. There’s a whole generation between parents and children and that gap still exists between adult children and their parents. This makes a world of difference in perspective and values.

It just make things a whole lot easier if we stated what we think is the ‘obvious’ because: ‘it isn’t’.  Human relations are hard enough without adding to the burden by leaving things unsaid, by making assumptions and by having expectations. As the saying goes, when you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME. Just say it.

Here’s Teresa’s complete article from Medium.com:

Become the Exception

My next birthday I will turn 60. Hard to believe that I came into this world so long ago, though apparently, I didn’t want to: I was a breech birth (sorry Mom). Soon I’ll be eligible to collect a pension and receive all sorts of discounts.  So I am supposed to be winding down my life and live comfortably in retirement. Only, that’s not what I want to do.  I want to be one of the ‘exceptions’ that comes into my own as I enter my golden years.  Fair warning, I am not planning on slowly fading out of this life by preparing for the next!

I have been doing a lot of reassessment of my life and where I want it to go.  What do I like? What do I see myself doing? Where do I see myself doing it? The type of questions that I answered back 40 years ago when it was suggested that I would make a great teacher (I spent many years involved one way or another with education) or mortician (oh yeah…like that was really going to happen!) I just want to know where I want to go in the next chapter of my life.

I have never been known to follow the regular path. I have been an exception to the rule.  As a teen, I complained that my younger brother didn’t have as many responsibilities as I did when I was his age. My father would look down at me and tell me it was because I was an ‘exceptional child’.  I really didn’t appreciate his response then, but I guess I was. Throughout life I gravitated to various positions, not really having a full-time career since I left teaching elementary school at 28. Lots of contract work, freelance, seasonal business and now settled in the south as a landlord and B&B owner in a country where I had to learn a new language and culture.

What I have been discovering in the past few weeks of investigation is that I can choose to be an exception to the rule. I can forge ahead and create new pathways for myself rather than follow well trod path of others of retirement age. Recovery had taught me that if I want to fulfill my dreams, then I had better work for them and not expect them to arrive at my door. I have some longevity in the family and I don’t want to spend the next 30 to 40 years twiddling my thumbs waiting for the grim reaper. I want to be the exception.

I am working on the next phase. I am working on my writing. I will continue to question and seek new answers because that’s what an exception does. I want to be the guy that the devil worries about when I awaken in the morning and I want to die sliding into home plate in a well used body. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t happen if I’m sitting in a rocking chair watching Netflix all day long.

There are exceptions to every rule in life. Some kids make it out of the ghetto. Some horses with lousy odds win the race. Some ‘seniors’ begin a new career late in life.

Dare to try. Change beliefs. Step out of the comfort zone. Be the exception because, as far as I know, this is the only life we get; I intend to really live it.

Where will your road take you?

Perseverance

The person standing on the mountain top did not get there by falling…Neale Donald Walsch

Getting to the top of the ladder of success involves actually climbing the ladder.  I can’t get where I want to go just by sitting down and watching Netflix or surfing Facebook.  I don’t know how many self-help books I have read, but there are many I never finished reading and even less that I applied to my life. I see that I am pretty good at starting, but my follow through leaves a lot to be desired. Buying a gym membership alone won’t get me into shape: I have to do the work to get the results.

A dream is just a dream unless it is followed up by action. How many people seeing a Jackson Pollock canvas say, “I could’ve done that!” And they could have, but they didn’t. I need to work my dream for it to become a reality.  How does an artist become an artist? By working at his art. Perhaps some of us are born with innate abilities.  Perhaps all of us are born with great abilities and we just haven’t discovered them or we are lacking in the confidence to develop them. The point is, if I don’t act, if I don’t move, I am not going anywhere. And yes, we do fall as we go up the mountain, but we can pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start all over again!

To get to the top of the mountain is, as they say, 10% inspiration and 90% percent perspiration.  I have to keep telling myself this over and over again.  Why? Because I have this entitled belief that it should just fall into my hands and if it doesn’t, then I am not worthy of it. I don’t believe the Universe/God/Source works that way. I have to keep reminding myself that my faith in a Higher Power can move mountains, but it is up to me to bring a shovel and a wheelbarrow.

Falling as you go up the mountain of whatever you define as success is just part of the process of getting to where you want to be. But it doesn’t have to signal the end of the journey. I have to persevere and persist in my quest to get to where I want to go and keep faith that I will eventually get there. I need to do the work and give myself a kick when I don’t.

I want to be a writer so I have to write…a lot! The words don’t just magically appear on the page (or screen). I have to plan, organize and think through. There’s one workshop I took that basically said that everyone’s first book is crap, so write it and get it out of the way so you can move onto the next one. Those are really difficult words to digest to someone who is a perfectionist. But they are probably true. Yes, it may happen, there are prodigies in every field. I don’t count on me being one of them. I need to take action to move forward toward my goal.

Enjoy this cute Youtube video, and then get to it!  Diana Krall: Pick Yourself Up