“There is little that can withstand a man who can conquer himself.” — Louis XIV, 1638-1715, known as Louis the Great, who became king of France at the tender age of 5.
Now that you have a giant on your side, nothing is impossible. Staying with the giant who will definitely move you forward will take courage and, at the same time, will connect you to who you really are and empower you. Once you get momentum going in your life, i.e. changes taking place and progress is obvious, it may scare the bejesus out of you. (That’s an Irish term brought to the South, at least that’s where I learned it.) This will be the ultimate comfort zone test. If your life is moving and changing faster than you can keep up with, you may wish to put the skids on it or at least slow it down.
Question: Why would you want to interfere with movement in a positive direction?
Let’s percolate on that one a while and look at some possible resistances or thoughts that keep momentum in check. These all fall under the category of that thing we are trying to master … attitude.
1. Avoiding risks to stay with what we know even if it’s painful.
2. Settling for less.
3. Could if he/she would be different.
4. I try to change … but.
5. That’s easy for you to say.
6. I’m not rich enough to do that.
7. I’m not lucky.
One thing your giant will do is make you keenly aware of even slight changes in attitude. It’s always been easy to recognize poor attitude in others, but we can justify and rationalize our own day in and day out until we decide to wad those old ways up and throw them away.
From time to time, I have shared with you some of my experiences getting outside my comfort zone. Each time I stepped outside that zone, it has been scary but never painful, and once I accomplished what I thought was scary, I realized the scary was all in my mind. In other words, as King Louis XIV suggested, I had not conquered myself. (I believe this to be a lifelong challenge.)
Looking back over many years, for me, the scary came from the fear that nothing would ever change, and of course nothing can change if we continue doing the same things we’ve always done. I know people who don’t want to change, who are happy as long as there is a roof over their heads and a big screen TV in the bedroom. They have much to offer and don’t even know it. This is similar to the artist who doesn’t share his/her work with the world. Their own lack of confidence stops the flow of blessings and inspiration to those who might see their art.
Can you measure the reward each time you step outside your comfort zone? Can you put a monetary value on personal transformation? Can you buy the feeling you get when you accomplish something you thought impossible? Of course not, it is priceless. When we look at our lives as changeable, movable and not static, we discover value we never saw before.
Hopefully you have experienced relationships that you would call priceless. (Here’s a toast to the latest one with your Edgar or Ethel.) We tend to put value on others more than ourselves, but in successful Nutsville, we are valuing ourselves, our transformation, health and happiness above all.
“That’s selfish,” you may say, but our world will not shine until we offer it 100 percent of who we are. Those we love most will only benefit from this selfishness. If you aren’t healthy or happy, everyone around you lives a compromised life. The purpose of life is doing what brings us tremendous joy. We serve the world when we are doing what makes us happy.
There are many philosophies on the subject of selfishness, and we don’t have the space to go into them all, but I know from experience that once I get my attitude in line, my thoughts then can turn into decided action that is functional, real and constructive. I’m building a life, my life, and only I can do that, unless, of course, I yield decisions (that affect me) to another person. Speaking of this, I’ve always heard and chuckled at the saying, “Aging is not for sissies.” In a few months I’ll be 65, and suddenly the government wants to make decisions for me in the form of Medicare and even how much I can and can’t earn after the age of 65, and my attorney wants me to appoint a fiduciary to make decisions for me “should that be necessary.” Suddenly, just because I am reaching a certain age, things are getting out of hand. Then, I look in the mirror and realize someone or something has absconded with my collagen, and I am helpless in the face of gravity. “Aging is not for sissies” is putting it mildly! I suggest you make getting outside your comfort zone a daily practice so, when you hit the big 65, all the changes won’t scare the bejesus out of you!
This week, make every effort to embrace multiple changes, forward momentum and feeling loss of control. Once we live outside our comfort zones, we realize we don’t have to be rich, beautiful, young or smart to have adventures or a life beyond our dreams. Grab your giant’s hand and say, “Let’s go.”
“He who conquers others is strong; he who conquers himself is mighty.” — Lao Tzu, ancient Chinese philosopher
Join me next time for The Zen Nut!