Burn The Boats

CEH CA Beach

In 1519 Hernán Cortés and 600 men arrived in Mexico, on a mission from Spain to conquer the people and claim the magnificent treasures said to be found there. The Aztec inhabitants were obviously concerned about these invaders, and a battle was imminent. Before his men could comprehend the situation, Cortés gave a rather interesting order:
“BURN THE BOATS!”
Obviously, no boats meant no going home, so the men had to commit completely to their mission. The result was a stunningly successful battle, and Aztec empire’s riches soon belonged to Spain, something that armies of thousands had failed to accomplish for centuries prior.
At its heart, “burning boats” represents a point of no return, a psychological commitment where we recognize that we cross a line and move only forward. Every effort is focused only on success.
Mark Twain is quoted as saying “There are a thousand excuses for failure, but never a good reason.” Cortés did what no one else had for one primary reason: He and his men were 100% committed to their cause. His small army became unstoppable because they only had one direction to go: forward.
When we want to achieve great things, in business, in our personal lives, or in both, we must approach our decisions with a level of commitment that will drive us definitively forward. When we truly commit to a cause, our perspective changes — and then nothing else needs to change, because we do, and that’s enough. Instead of seeing obstacles, we see opportunities. Rather than look for excuses, we look for solutions.
I don’t pretend that every decision we make will be good, and we obviously shouldn’t commit to bad decisions. But if we want to be wildly successful in life, this formula works:

• Gather as many facts as possible
• Measure the risks
• Use the best judgment and the insights of others to guide us

Once you make your decision, be willing to stick with it, and don’t allow fear and second-guessing to derail you.
It is time to burn your boats and lock arms with what you want to succeed in.

Pebble

Being Real ~ Really

HolesI’m a huge believer that you should always bring your whole self to work. You should bring your interests and your passions. You should bring your authenticity. Being real is the only way to be. Otherwise work would be boring, filled with phony stiffs and fake conversations. Can you imagine that – 40 or 50 hours a week? Horrible. Like holding your breath until you get home.

But what about when you DO get home? Should you continue to hold your breath?? Many of us feel like home is where we are safest, where we can truly let our hair down and be who we are, the “me, unplugged” sort of thing. But are you really? Is there a side of you that you keep hidden from your home occupants? Maybe it is your deep-set fears, or your biggest dreams, who you want to be, what you want to become, why you do what you do. Maybe you hide those things, too.

What is so wrong with being real anyway? What are you afraid of? Will someone laugh at your dreams, your goals, how YOU see yourself on the inside?

Perhaps they will.

Is that so crushing, so bad? Will that sting? It absolutely will. Will it kill you – probably not. Will it deaden your relationships? It may, but then again, it may just help them grow stronger, become more purposeful.

So ~ work, home, play ~ take a deep breath, blow it out along with all those doubts, those fears and that stress. Then breathe back in, fill those lungs of yours. And do it. Here’s what I think:

Knotted Wood.jpg

Wood has knots. Lots of them. In fact, it is impossible to make something out of wood without having to deal with the knots. Unless you intend on making toothpicks – then you are probably safe… So where did this come from?? Life has knots, too. And they are hard, and they are awkward, and they don’t fit in well with our plans and they make it really, really tough to get around sometimes. Who gets to live without knots in their life? Certainly not you. Nor your neighbor, or your sister, or that really well put together guy that you know who never seems to struggle guy. Or the homeless gal that waits on a corner with a sign and a hope that you will help. But…

Knots are strength in disguise. They add a richness to the design, a beauty to the soul, those flaws actually make something quite pleasing to the eye. They add color changes and depth, character and personality. They are the trial and the end result is the overcoming personified.

They are Being Real ~ Really.

Rock Solid

I was reading today and came across this sentence that I lingered over for quite a while. It struck a pondering chord deep within my soul actually. It was this: “The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones.” It got me to thinking about the reality of that thought. Bricks are an okay building material – they are generally uniform and easy to work with. Another plus? We can alter their appearance at will. They are easy to maneuver, stockpile and apply. They appear to be sturdy at first blush ~ likely, but upon further inspection we note that they are not all that they seem. They are constructed with tiny grains of sand – the tiniest fragments of stone that there is. To a microscope they are majestic ~ but in reality, they can flake apart and weather away bit by bit. Seemingly imperceptible, but erode away they do almost from the very beginning of their lifespan. A far greater building material is a solid piece of stone. Stronger, less flaws, better for foundations, more pleasing to the eye, longer lasting – that is a hewn stone. Stones are built tough Mother Nature style. Durable, purposeful. A masterpiece really. Much more difficult to obtain, to work with. How does this apply to us? Sometimes we settle. We settle for what is easy, what looks good for the onlookers in to our lives. We use the lesser quality things perhaps out of necessity or maybe it is out of trying to pull a fast one in our fast-paced lives. Sure, bricks look good. Tidy. Uniform. Looks like everyone else. But stones are heavier, tougher to wrestle into place. Stones are permanent. Sculptors favor them for their long-lasting works of art. But isn’t that what we hope our lives wind up being? Lasting works of art that inspire others to be better, live better, strive forward despite the daunting odds that face them? What are the stones in your life? Is it your family? Your character? Your habits? Your goals? Which of these life builders ~ bricks or stones ~ which one endures greater stress, has better longevity, is more desired? Stone. Rock solid.Stone Fence 1

Littering Is Allowed Here…

Littering Is Allowed

           Littering Is Allowed

 

Littering Is Allowed Here…

25 December 2015

There are signs everywhere – moral and otherwise. Don’t litter. Keep your trash picked up. Hefty fine doled out upon your bank account if we catch you littering. This roadside is cleaned up by <insert your local do-gooder here> and the like. Your mother hassled you about keeping your stuff clean. So did your roommate. Maybe even your spouse. Let’s face it – littering is bad. Never has anyone ever said to us that littering is allowed here or anywhere.

But I beg to differ.

Getting rid of unwanted stuff is a common enough thing in our lives. I have ditched that funky container of cottage cheese that’s been lurking in the back of the bottom shelf of my refrigerator for who knows how long now. In fact, I am so afraid of it I sometimes pitch the thing without even cracking open the lid just to be sure. If I don’t even remember buying it, there’s a strong possibility that this is the most solid, not to mention sane method of disposal available.

And email. There are dozens upon dozens of emails that I never even get close to opening. I get eyebrow lifting offers from lonely Russian women (I know, right??), incredible ways to make buku bucks with this one simple method, how to lose those pesky 50# by tomorrow, ads to buy everything under the sun – some of which I was not even aware they even make, not to mention the why involved in that one. Phone calls I field that make me crazy. I throw most of them out by just looking at the number on my view screen and thinking to myself,” Hmmm… Do I even know anyone in Oregon??” I have been known to throw away things that mattered once a loooong time ago, but now are just taking up space around here. I’ve got reams of magazines that I thought I’d catch up on reading someday. But then I don’t. That one is harder for me than it looks – throwing out an interesting magazine before I’ve even given the thing a just and proper flip through just to say that I did look at it. For about 1.4 seconds… I have even devoted an entire sorter section on my desk to “Stuff to Read When I Have Time”. I routinely give away clothes, cooking paraphernalia, snacks even! 

But. The littering that I really mean to tell you about is deeper than these things. In fact, I believe that the Straight and Narrow Path is the only path that I am aware of where Littering is Allowed. And now is an excellent time in our year to ponder over your life and conduct that inner review of What or Who is good to keep in your life and Why. There are those items, be they living or non, that are simply put – dead weight. We keep them around for lots of reasons. I’m sure you could easily spew forth 13 really good reasons why they are still there in less than half of the time it takes to think of them in the first place. I’m not saying that you should just ditch everything that bugs you – but then again, there is stuff that you would fare much better without. Maybe the future is scarier to face without the crutch of them. Maybe the thought of what in the world would take it’s place or tide me over until I get stuff figured out stalls me. And then there’s the classic of “But that’s what we’ve always done/had/used/said/believed/pursued” thing. Or perhaps it’s a habit that you know full well is not a good one to keep. You have known this for quite some time now.

Have you ever unloaded something heavy in your life and then much later still felt that fresh breath of relief again and again? This is what I’m talking about. So I guess what I’d like to say is that littering is allowed in our lives. It really is okay to deep clean your soul, your thoughts, habits, your emotional inbox. Delaying it (yet again) is of no service to you or yields a spiffy star sticker on your forehead either. And you will live to tell about it.