Out... on the road... peddling hard... into the wind! We were about 12 miles out and felt a change of direction might be good... nice. The next paved road would be it. The very next one was.
Left, in lickety-split fashion, we made the change and once tracked in straight line, I looked up and my mouth dropped open with full gaping gasp! Stretched out in front of us, starting at about 300 yards from where we currently rolled, was a hill that appeared to go straight up, almost like a monolith that had been dropped in by an alien space craft! My heart nearly fell out of my chest and my brain was running end-game scenarios faster than Speedy Gonzales could grab Fritos ahead of the Bandito!
We looked at each other (momentarily disassembling the paceline) bearing the same face, and more than one person said, “And we turned left why!?!” Laughter ensued and we immediately took on the task at hand.
Like never before, the most amazing thing took place. With each crank of the pedal and roll of the wheel, the wall started to lean away from us; the closer we got, the flatter it got. In a very short period of time, the whole vision of the encounter changed from virtually impossible to extremely doable!
I realized that some of life encounters are the same; the first look is a bit frightening, but further looks and the last look is more in line with reality.
Principle One: Things that threaten appear larger than they really are!
It is essential that we keep our vision of things in line with the truth, and one of those is that we will be surprised and things will be distorted at first glance. Knowing that will enable us to positively press forward and accomplish the task without waiting and/or wasting time. The closer we get... the flatter it gets. The more time with it... the more familiar it becomes with our connected past experiences.
At the top of the rise, we all laughed long and hard, embracing the joy in the moment of learning yet another aspect to our own thinking and how to protect our perception for living excellence in each moment.
No Choice is a Choice
Your car stalls on the railroad tracks. Everything you try doesn’t work; the car will not start. You hear the sound of a freight train just rounding the bend and it is bearing down on you rapidly at 55 mph and it cannot stop in time.
You have two options, basically, in this amount of time: 1) Get out of the car, and 2) Stay in the car. There are consequences to those choices. If you get out of the car, you live. If you stay in the car, you die. You have the power to get out of the car and the power to stay in the car.
There is a challenge here. While you are making up your mind, you are in one of the choices. You are in the car and you are going to die! For far too long, most people have believed a big, fat lie in the realm of making decisions; making a choice in what to do. It is, basically, wrapped up in this response most often heard: “Well, I just haven’t made up my mind yet?” The never-verbalized rationale in this statement is simple. It deludes one into thinking that there is some safe, neutral zone while thinking about it. The reality is otherwise.
No choice is a choice!
So many applications and so little time! The entire concept of change is noteworthy; people resist it and use this lie under the guise of intellectual and reasonable process. While it is wise to process (calculate and estimate), the wise person processes, knowing that all the time he/she spends in the processing, the same consequences are playing out during it, and will continue until something changes.
The concept of stress is equally noteworthy; people so easily and so quickly blame outside influences, using this lie to stay right where they are, because it is easier to deflect and defer rather than to… change. Hmmm. Back to that.
Over the last two decades, “the convenience of inconvenience” has carried the greatest load (share) of most used excuses, yet cleverly disguised (not now) as being extremely diligent and careful. There is no safe, neutral ground. Either way… you choose.
Positivity Myth 5
One person can’t make a difference.
While together we can accomplish more, one person has made and can still make a difference.
When you take a look at History – and we have over 6,000 years of record – you will notice that there are grand and defining moments in cultures. In those defining moments – and some are positive and some negative – most of the time, if not all, they took place first, and foremost, by one person stating the needed change. From that statement, interestingly enough, three groups are exposed: 1) “Yes… that’s right and I am with you”, 2) “No way, and I will not go along with you”, and 3) “Whatever!”. They were always there, but now, the truth (or the lie) is on the table for choices. One person can change the course of a culture, whether it is a nation, community, or workplace.
It is not by virtue of “making” people do anything, but rather living in a manner that influences and impacts the people around so they see and choose the difference. We are contagious! And it is either in a positive way or a negative way. This does not guarantee a change by others, but it has taken place in history and can still take place today. It will take time, but a right-positive change begins with one person choosing to be it and do it.
Example: William Wilberforce (1759-1833); leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade in the United Kingdom. It took forty years, but it started by him living it and standing and speaking it. Our own country – the United States Of America – came alive in much the same way; someone rose to the challenge and spoke the truth, and we are living the results of that utterance in Positivity.
Over the course of time (with many an ouch along the way), I have learned (after many...) to ask myself Five (5) Questions with each encounter. They are sensible and strategic steps to navigate appropriateness.
1) Who am I ? Without hesitation, "every choice we make can be traced directly bacerk to who we believe we are". It is the driving point-of-reference in our decision-making. Starting here each time, it protects you from acting out of true character; you live IN context and not OUT-of-context.
2) Where am I ? Everywhere we go, we are living who we are, and with each "where", there is a distinct responsibility of "how" we live who we are. Standards are linked to each place you go and by remembering where you are, you are properly linked in how to live your role in it.
3) Who am I with ? One of the greatest blessings in life is that we are all different, and that means we have different needs, styles, and preferences. A person's position is also a true consideration. This remembered awareness gives you a great advantange; it connects you knowledgeably.
4) What is the best outcome ? An outcome takes place all by itself, but if you would like to get somewhere specific, then, you need to determine it quickly, especially when you want the best. By asking up front, the mind starts to open up options to pursue. That mutual purpose is the key at this point.
5) What have I learned that can help me know ? Bring your Historical Experience into the moment! You have experienced so much (think about how old you are) and you already have a great degree of connection with whatever it is that is facing you. Use this expertise and exprerience by drawing from your past. This simple yet sure process helps me chart the right course and stay on course toward the best goal with the right motive.
Positivity Myth 4
Positivity is just easier for some people.
While situations, consequences, and where we are in the maturity process will differ, real Positivity is the result of tough-honest analysis and disciplined-hard choices that everyone experiences. Positivity is not an easy pursuit and it is not a natural process. We all have a natural propensity for selfishness and negativity, and as previously exposed in the number three myth, our emotions run rampant in our face that can fuel the negative process. That being said, the more you choose and live Positivity, the easier it will become. And in time, it will become part of your natural style. By no means does the battle totally end; however, you will get better at it and be more successful in a much shorter period of time.