My gift is finding patterns. What most people never think about or notice, I question and dissect. As humans we are very attached to our thinking. But one thing I noticed about thinking is this:
If you think about something long enough, you won’t do it.
I was recently presented with an opportunity to take another trip to Egypt. When I first heard about it, I was excited. As time wore on, though, I got to thinking….
Is it practical?
Do I really need to go?
Is the timing right?
Should I be away for that long?
Am I really that into it?
What will people think?
Most people wouldn’t blink an eye at this sort of inquiry. We think it’s practical. We value critical analysis. We are so accustomed to the phenomenon of initially being lit up by an idea or a plan then later deciding it’s a dud that it just seems normal. But just because it's the norm, doesn’t make it normal. And being excited about possibility one minute and deflated the next sucks.
Like all of us, I have had so many great ideas that I shat all over it boggles the mind. But watching this trip slip away brought me to my tipping point. I am so over raining on my parades. I want to stick with something from inception to fruition and feel good about it the whole way through. What makes that so hard? Thinking - normal, everyday thinking.
Before all the ‘normal’ thinking kicks in I am excited, enthusiastic and adventurous when presented with opportunities or new ideas. After giving it some thought I become apathetic, doubtful, cautious and fearful. Thinking sucks the air out of my balloon to such an extent that I end up, frankly, exhausted by the prospect at hand. This process has become so streamlined and I have become such a pro that I actually skip right over the excitement/enthusiasm phase and go straight to ‘why bother’. How depressing is that???
If by some magic I end up getting dragged somewhere, the ‘why bother’ is still so present that the experience is flattened and I just want it to end. My efforts to motivate post-thinking yield the inevitable confirmation that this endeavor was not worth it. And the apocalyptic cycle is reinforced as we learn for next time to trust our thoughts not our joy and stay the f#$* home.
Thinking, what I believed was my one true skill, turns out to be a monumental buzz kill. It has been sucking the life out of my life, and single handedly transforming my enthusiasm into doubt, excitement into fear and adventure into apathy. My life was stagnating in analysis paralysis. There had to be another way.
I asked myself what was missing in my life. The answer required no thought, it was immediate - excitement. I loved how fast that jumped out of seemingly nowhere. I sat with this energy of excitement for a bit. It felt like a long lost friend. In this space I brought the heretofore mentioned trip to mind and realized there was no doubt. I was going. There was literally nothing to think about.
I liked the energy of excitement so much that I decided to take it it out for a test drive. I brought it with me when I walked my dog, went grocery shopping, rode my bike. Each time I presenced the energy of excitement I felt a pep in my step. It was effortless, it shut down automatic thinking like nobody’s business and it changed my experience instantly. The contrast made me realize that on a typical day my activities are rather mundane and my affect is pretty flat. I don’t smile much when I am on my own but somehow when I do this, without changing my routine, I feel taller, I smile, I feel myself come to life.
Today, even while doing something I enjoy - biking around the city - I got lost in thought. It made the hill I was riding up annoying and I was starting to get cranky. I caught it, rebooted with excitement and I was back to pedaling with gusto. Corny? Maybe. But that is what happened and it was powerful enough to get me out of blogging retirement.
And here is a real plot twist. From this experience, I now know that I don’t need to look for excitement anywhere, because I can bring it everywhere. Gandhi said ‘be the change you want to see’. It always sounded great but I never really understood how to do that. Now I get it - and so will you.
Choose Your Driver:
1) Ask yourself what energy is missing in your life. This is one word and it requires no thought at all. This is the energy that will drive you from this day forward. My driver, for example, is excitement, for one of my daughters it is enthusiasm, for the other it is confidence.
2) This week, as you go through your day whenever you remember, presence the energy of your driver. Bring it to work, into the shower, to your conference call.
3) Notice what changes.
4) If you feel inclined, share your experience with me.
5) If you can’t identify your driver email me and I will coach you through it.
Most importantly, the whole point of all of this is to have fun. If you are not having fun it is because you are THINKING. Stop it.
Here is to a little pep in your step!!!