If Your Life Sucked Yesterday; It Will Again Today Unless …
“Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own …” — Epictetus.
No one ethically knows the outcome of a game. We cannot make someone love us. We cannot dictate the weather.
The only control any of us has is around 3 things:
- Whether you let yesterday influence today
- How you let your environment influence your beliefs and
- The choices you make.
When Is A Fence Not A Fence?“We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing. Consequences give us the pain that motivates us to change.” ― Henry Cloud
Alfred Bone retired in 1972. A 65-year-old European living on the semi-rural edge of suburban Sydney. He looked forward to a new way of living: away from daily commutes to city drudgery; away from rules and routines; and hopefully away from memories of repression that dominated his nights.
It was to be his time. Giving space to his creative loves: art and gardening. All in his quarter acre block — his home-made haven.
For the first 7 months he scratched at his canvases and into the dirt. His sun-soaked skin shone, fading the grey of a once cramped life.
His younger upwardly mobile neighbour leaned over the broken-down boundary between the two properties and said, “Time for a new fence, don’t you think Al?”
The fence tilted in places, was patched in others. But Alfred, a man of straight-backed dignity didn’t want his hard-earned savings replacing a perfectly ‘good-enough’ boundary.
Two years later, Alfred was back commuting from his once semi-suburban bliss to the drone of a city. His heart crusted in vengeance.
Retirement funds donated to lawyers siding with the neighbour.
#1. The Choice To Choose You“The only real conflict you will ever have in your life won’t be with others, but with yourself.” ― Shannon L. Alder
>> One event can change your life — if you let it.
>> A childhood of neglect can scar deeply — if you let it.
>> Infidelity can destroy trust — if you let it.
>> Shyness can keep you isolated — if you let it.
>> A business failure can stop you from trying again — if you let it.
The past is just that. Past. A time capsule sealed. Set in time, past.
Yet the future is still to be written. It starts in this moment. A chance to do with it what you will. A literal blank slate.
- If you had 7 seconds to do the one thing that would make a difference in your life — what would you do?
And here’s the problem. The blank slate can be a scary place.
#2: What Fearing The ‘Blank Slate’ Says About You“I like geography best, he said, because your mountains & rivers know the secret. Pay no attention to boundaries.” — Brian Andreas
For many artists and writers — the blank slate can be fearsome to face.
Why? Because it means leaving a mark, one that may determine the as-yet uncharted vision. Worse: it may be impossible to erase. To go back. Regret is expensive.
In creating a mark, our mind plays tricks on us. Linking our mark-making to memories best left alone. Of a failed venture. A lost love. A not-forgotten pain. A regrettable recurring pattern that feels trap-like.
If one commits. To making the mark.
And so tick … tick … tick … another 7 seconds slips away. Another opportunity missed.
A subconscious marker with the power to hold us in suspended animation. If we let it.
It can feel as if caught between two opposing and powerful forces. A magnetised field attracting, compelling us with its allure. Yet when close — we reject the union. Self sabotage. It’s the resistance. The fear of failing. The fear of falling. And not being caught.
And its inscription may already be shadowing you. Unless you choose to make your mark. And stand by it.
#3: You’re Creating Your Mark — Even When You Don’t“When the world becomes a massive mess with nobody at the helm, it’s time for artists to make their mark.” — Joni Mitchell
Each word, gesture or expression you do today leaves your ‘mark’. The literal canvas is merely a representation of it.
Whether you choose to do anything (or not) — you’ve already left your mark.
Hesitation and doubt are noticeable calling cards. The tentative touch transmits fear. Denies your inner boldness. And there’s that 7 second pause of momentum stalling again. Tick … tick … tick ...
Renee Magritte’s famous painting titled: “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” (This is not a pipe) shows that a representation of a thing is not the thing. A postcard is not the place described. A fence is not a fence.