Showing posts with label change. Show all posts
Showing posts with label change. Show all posts

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Be a Boat Rocker

Douglas Clark
-Head writer, The Inspiration Engine

Sometimes, rocking the boat is just the shake up you need to get your life on a different course. Making a transition can totally alter your perception of life. It's a curious thing to realize that after getting so used to something one way, we can become so rigid and unwilling to try any other way. Life in our modern age is built on routine. This routine provides structure and a foundation we can rely on and expand.

However, if we become too complacent or dependent on that routine, we can become my lethargic and apathetic. I've noticed that as much as I love routine and structure, if I don't break it up a bit and deliberately introduce new challenges, I get demotivated. I think the desire to remain surrounded by the known factors in life can be so strong, it overrides the need to explore new things, especially since deviating from the known can result in great failure, personal pain, or professional setbacks.

Sometimes, however, disturbing up the apple cart is exactly what you need. The last time I switched jobs I experienced a serious amount of change. My morning routine, my workouts, break times, commute, and of course my basic job all changed. It scared me. How could I maintain all that I achieved by screwing with the status quo? Well, the status quo what is the exact thing that needed to change.

Doing the same thing over and over can help you accomplish a great deal, but eventually there comes a need to shift gears and try something new. Otherwise you will only get so far and then stall out. Making that change forces you to try something new, but it also exposes you to alternatives that you might not have ever considered otherwise. Don't let complacency fool you into thinking you are being responsible. Challenging yourself to grow is a reasonable course of action. 

For me, my mind began playing with the idea of waking up much earlier, going to bed before 10 p.m. (shocking right?), I even began thinking about how my diet and exercise schedule would change and how it would benefit me. Now I know change is scary, intimidating and hard, but focusing on the improvements it brings is what provides the motivation and encouragement we need to keep growing and improving.

No one ever changed the world by maintaining the status quo, so how can life get any better with the same old same old? Make a change for the better. It will be worth it.

Thanks for reading.
Questions and comments are welcome.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Change Is Unavoidable

By Douglas Clark

Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.

September! Now is the time when summer begins to wane and give way to the turning leaves of autumn. The warm and glowing sun relinquishes its hold on the day and ebbs toward early evenings and cool breezes. Begrudgingly, children marshal their courage and corral their exuberance and ready themselves for school. We all know it, some dread it. The fall is coming, it’s back to school and we all feel the pangs of change and transition.

How we deal with change can really direct our lives, toward the positive, or the negative. I have been told on many occasions that I can be somewhat negative. I would argue that I’m more of a realist than pessimist. I mean, statistics and averages exist for a reason. I don’t really see how it’s being negative to point out what usually happens in a given situation. Ah but see there’s the rub. Perhaps it’s not just being aware of the norms or averages, but being more aware of the positive ‘what ifs’. Now I know to some that might just be pie in the sky mentality. They might say being overly optimistic is just setting yourself up for failure… but is it?

Think about this: those great men and women of history, the ones that accomplished great things over great odds, do you think they concentrated more on averages, statistics, and probable outcomes? Or did they keep their mind’s eye on the solitary (and improbable) ‘what if’ goal they truly wanted to achieve? I’d say they followed the pie in the sky mentality. Doing the exact same thing everyday only gets you the exact same thing you’ve always gotten. For me, after a while the same old same old becomes like an anchor. It just drags and weighs me down. The thought of change came to me just a few days ago when my daughter went back to school. She started 5th grade and elementary school is almost over. I know for a child the transition isn’t fully realized yet, but as an adult looking back, I understand it. Seeing that change come for her forced me to examine where I’m going and how I want my life to change. But you see, for the most part, I’m doing the same old same old and as you’d expect, I’m getting the same result. Crazy right?!

Sometimes change is subtle, sometimes it’s blunt and brutal. I’d say for the change we can control, directing it in the manner we chose is imperative. I’m working on becoming a published author, but am I making the changes necessary to achieve that goal? Yes and No. I need to focus more, daydream less, stay motivated, and be more persistent. These are the changes I need and have to make to achieve my goals. So now I just have to do it. What about you? Are you focused enough to know what needs to be done? Or are you languishing in myopic malaise? If you are, make a change! Even a small one might knock the cob webs from your mind and let some sunshine it. But hurry, autumn is upon us, and winter will soon be here. The sun will set ever earlier and you’ll have to do your thinking in the dark.

Thanks for reading.
Questions and comments are welcome.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Perseverance vs. Obstinacy

The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't.  

What good is a strong will if you are fighting for or against the wrong thing? I wonder that sometimes. Getting caught up in the mechanics of life, I noticed there are times when simply plowing ahead toward a goal becomes counterproductive. At that point, re-evaluation of the method, tactics, and even the very goal need to take place. All the effort in the world fails to help if the goal you work for holds no merit. So, where perseverance assists in forging ahead through the hard times, obstinacy blinds you to wrong, ineffective, and destructive behaviors that hinder success. 

Coming to this realization is difficult and sometimes painful; it can also be very hard. Admitting that you spend all that time and effort on a goal that proved unattainable is heartbreaking. But think about it this way, would you rather admit a change is needed today and start fresh, or soldier on for another month, year, or decade before that epiphany occurs? In ten years’ time you’ll be no better off, and ten years behind. Making the change now can cause grief, pain, sorrow; any number of negative emotions really. However, you might just realize after re-evaluating your current course that a new path will make things better. You might, dare I say, experience relief, joy, or even excitement at the prospect of trying something new. 

Not every problem or situation needs to be attacked with mindless obstinacy. Obstacles in life should be looked at as challenges to overcome and something to learn from, not barriers to destroy or annoyances to avoid. Life takes a lot of work. It reminds me of a very old saying: 

The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones. 

Everything worth the effort takes time; just make sure you are putting your energies in the right place.

Thanks for reading. Questions and comments are welcome. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

How Do You Deal With The In Between Time?

Douglas Clark
-Head writer, The Inspiration Engine

I heard a story once where someone said “Live the dash”. The sentiment here comes from the notion that when you die, your grave stone would say something like 1975-2075. That little dash in the middle encompasses all of your life: every little thing, every big thing, every sadness, every joy, all your relationships and accomplishments, the failures and triumphs, the crushing defeats and the wonderful experiences, all you’ve ever known and all you will ever do. The advice here was to live that dash to its fullest, with the deepest of meanings and the greatest appreciation possible. That’s a pretty nice sentiment isn’t it? But I’m wondering something. Not every moment of your life is a mind-blowing experience of joy, or a heart wrenching assault of painful sorrow. You can’t fill every moment with some really cool experience, it’s just not possible. Even if you tried (which might be cool for a while), you’d be exhausted and need some down time anyway. No, what I’m thinking about is those moments, those days or weeks, even years perhaps where what you want and what you are striving for are still in the distance.

The day-to-day minutiae of your mission might not be exciting, or news worth, hell it might even seem boring. Working hard for a goal at times may seem arduously tedious. So in that situation, how do you relish the time you’re spending when it’s so banal? For me, I’ve noticed that sometimes I’ll daydream of that better day, imagining just when things get better or when I actually do achieve that forthcoming milestone. For example, writing my thesis was in fact the hardest academic endeavor I ever undertook. Let me tell you, I went through so many reviews I thought I was going to go insane. I read and re-read that thing so many times I knew the narrative by heart and could recite it without even reading it. So even though I knew the entire endeavor was worth it, that tedium seemed a bit much to try and appreciate as having great value. Obviously the work was necessary, but it’s hard to live that dash in a situation like that. So I imagined the finished product, the final version of my thesis and how awesome it would be. Doing that got me through. I guess in that case my daydreaming really paid off. Daydreaming can’t always be the answer, but is it realistic to think there’s a simple answer to dealing with tedium and boredom on your way to living the dash? Probably not, and my guess is a lot of trial and error is necessary to find the proper answer.

I do know one thing, concentrating on the negative aspects of your ‘down time’ is never going to help. The one constant in life is change. Regardless of whether or not you want to, you will change, physically, mentally, emotionally; it’s a product of being a living being in a dynamic society. That’s why the dull drums and boring minutiae of life are not things to concentrate on while you are striving toward your goals and living your mission. They won’t last. But they will change, whether you seek it or not. If you can recognize that change fast enough, well, you just might be able to make ‘living the dash’ something someone will want to write about in your obituary. And by the way, it just might make your life’s experience that much more awesome. Who wouldn’t want that?

Thanks for reading. Questions and comments are always welcome.  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure

A friend of mine asked me once, what I thought of the past and what would I do to change it if I could.  Now I thought about that for a while and had a lot of different exotic and strange ideas.  My natural tendency to lean toward Sci-Fi and fantasy stories led me down a path of great adventure and amazing story telling.  But then I stopped and really thought about what it would mean to change the past, I mean really alter what has happened in my life.  How would I know what would be different if I chose not to go to college, not join the navy, not get married, not get divorced, not have a child. 
The more I thought about it, the more it dawned on me that even though I had regrets and have made some massive mistakes, I couldn’t change a thing.  You see, I have come to understand myself in a way that is much more profound and true as compared to when I was younger.  I’ve been through some really hard times, emotionally.  But I’ve learned from those experiences.  All this contemplation led me to answer my friend thusly:
"All of my regrets, all my failures, all my successes and wins, everything I've every said, felt, every relationship and friendship, my feelings, thoughts, actions, desires and dreams, my experiences and perceptions make my life what it is today. Although at times I might begrudge too harshly the negatives and under-appreciate the positive, All of these things create the essence of who I am. If I tug at the loose strings of the tapestry of my life, it would unravel into the chaotic turmoil of the unknown. Who I am would be lost. In its place would be a void. Trite and fanciful fantasies of altering my life by rearranging my past only stands to cast shadow on my future..." (I felt so strongly about this answer, I put it on my quotes page on fb, in case you find it there.)

My past isn’t perfect and neither will my future, but I’m getting better at being me every day, and in the end, that’s a pretty good thing.  I hope that you can say the same!
Abstract 3d art

Monday, April 23, 2012

Stay positive, it's worth it!

There are highs and lows in everyone's life.  It's a fact and there's pretty much nothing you can do about it.  Good times and bad times.  It can be amazing and shocking just how fast things can turn around from bad to good, or good to bad.  There's an inherent unpredictability to life that is unavoidable.  And the more you try to control your life, and life around you, the more closed off you can and will be to that sudden and dramatic change.  Why is that bad?  Because when you control you become stuck; stuck in patterns and attitudes that insulate and protect you from things that seem harmful.  But there's a price for that false security.  And it's your happiness. 

Keep and open mind.  Fight everyday against the rigid and cold mindset of security.  You must believe that things will get better, you must believe that it won't always be hard, sad, cold, lonely, and depressing.  Change doesn't happen overnight, but the direction of your life can, especially if you keep an eye out for the good things.  Stay positive!

If you have a question or a comment feel free to reply.  Thanks for reading!

sunrise over smoky mountains

Understanding Pandemics

By Doug Clark Head Writer -  The Inspiration Engine With all that is going on with Covid 19, I thought it would be a good idea to help ...