Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wisdom from the Great Masters for 2012

Another year ending - the older I get, I swear the faster they go by. According to interpretations of the Mayan calendar, 2012 could be it. We have until December 21st, but that might be the end. Let’s go for it and pretend this is our last year. I’ve brought in some of the best and brightest to advise you and have created a worksheet for you to put their advice into practice.

“We are always getting ready to live and never living.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson is a God in my country and he’s spot on with this one. We all say things like, “We’ll do it when the kids are older; when we lose 10 lbs.; after the Recession”… we’ll do it someday. Do it now. There will never be a perfect time. Decide now what you really want to do in 2012- assume it’s now or never. (You good with never?)

“Know thyself” - said by Socrates, Plato, or some other wise Greek guy. If you are waiting for someone else to bring your life to you, you are in for a long wait. You have to get out there and live and figure out what works best for you. How can you know you love the mountains without having seen the vastness of the sea? How can you make the most of your talents if you don’t know what they are? Try one new thing a month for the next 12. I promise you will learn many things about yourself. Just because you’ve always done (or not done) something doesn’t mean that’s right for you. As another master, George Eliot, said, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” 2013 might be too late - bring it now!

While I’m a little wary of calling William S. Burroughs a great master, I do like his advice, “When you stop growing you start dying.” It’s easy to get so consumed by routine and our busy lives that we don’t keep learning. I get lazy and read too much nonfiction; I work instead of taking time to attend conferences and get better at what I do. Try things outside your field, you’ll be surprised how exciting life is and how vibrant you become when you’re growing.

“Silence is not the enemy!” - Denise Ryan. Okay, so I’m no great master, but I know you need some silence to know who you are, to figure out what you want, to learn. And we have become terrified of silence. We get in our cars and immediately have to call someone or turn on music rather than be alone with our thoughts. We have to post things on Facebook rather than just sit and experience them. Silence lends itself to thinking, thinking makes you a person of depth - a person who knows who they are and what they want rather than someone who just does what everyone else is doing. (Only a complete loss of thinking can explain the popularity of the Kardashians.) Silence really is golden. Pay attention to how seldom you, and especially your children, experience it. Change that - turn off the TV or the computer or the music, silence the cell phone - have some quiet time.

More tomorrow!

No comments: