Do you play the comparison game?

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Apples and orangse

 

[Image credit: Suvro Datta]

Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

Lately I’ve been reading myriad materials and thinking, I wish I could whip out prose that eloquent, or I can write better than that. Of course, when the latter thought crosses my mind, the one immediately following is: Then why don’t I!? Sometimes during a Bikram yoga class, my eyes wander to the practitioner executing an effortless asana beside me. Why can’t *I* touch my head to my toes? And then, But did you see my rock star warrior pose? Each comparison we make to our neighbors ends up wasting precious time. Our main focus should be fixed on becoming the best we can be with what we’re working with today. And that might just look like a book-signing tour or nailing standing head to knee.

In what area(s) do you compare yourself to others?

Whose idea was this anyway?

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Whose idea

 

[Image credit: cuteimage]

It is our choices … that show what we truly are,
far more than our abilities.

~ J.K. Rowling

Ever wake up and the solution to a dilemma is on the tip of your tongue? Or ever crawl out of bed and not have a clue as to what you’re doing with your life? Both examples are snapshots of me over the course of a few days. In one breath, I successfully solved a web-formatting issue, and in the next I can’t recall why I want to pursue my master’s degree. Something about time passing whether I’m in school or not. Which leads to my next question: Ever jump on the band wagon of someone else’s dreams and think, “Oh, that’s *my* dream!”? But then partway into the planning and prepping you realize yes, time will pass, but whose passion am I really pursuing? If that happens, step back. Regroup. Be gentle. And allow yourself permission to change your mind.

What choice(s) are you at odds with today?

Great accomplishments begin here

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Accomplishment

[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

The greatest accomplishment began as a decision
once made and often a difficult one. ~ Michael Rawls

Recently I decided I want to pursue my master’s degree. I’ve attended seminars, ordered study materials, created a timeline, charted my plan and begun the prep work to apply. Only I still don’t know what I’m doing. One program offers a teaching assistantship and doesn’t require standardized testing. Another focuses on composition and rhetoric (my passion!), which means countless hours of study time between now and test day, my funding uncertain. There are people to meet—it’s *who* you know, not what you know—and events to join. Half the time my mind is filled with more questions than answers and I wonder how I’ll find room to add one more vocabulary definition. Or find time for one more meeting or to study for one more hour. It always begins with a decision, however. To make it happen, or find an excuse to look the other way.

What’s your greatest accomplishment?

My starting point begins now

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Starting point

 

[Image credit: pixtawan]

The starting point of all achievement is desire…
Weak desires bring weak results, just as a small amount
of fire makes a small amount of heat.
~ Napoleon Hill

A few years ago, I started this blog to chronicle my journey as a “non-traditional” undergraduate student, then as I changed careers mid-life after graduating from college. Next it became a forum to ramble about anything and nothing. Over the past several months—years even, I’ve felt restless, like I was on the cusp of a big change, a new season—the butterfly awaiting its metamorphosis. This feeling grew into an idea, followed by desire to embark on a different journey. I invite readers to join me as I work toward getting accepted into grad school, and whatever happens beyond, while I juggle this thing called life. I’m ready to put the old adage and my belief to the test that “it’s always the write time to teach an old dog new tricks.”

When does your starting point begin?

Bankruptcy of a soul

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Bankrupty of a soul

 

[Image credit: 2nix]


Disappointment is a sort of bankruptcy—

the bankruptcy of a soul that expends too much
in hope and expectation. ~ Eric Hoffer

In Stop the insanity¸ I write about doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. Yet once again I find myself repeating that familiar force of habit—of pinning my hopes on expectations I’m foolish to entertain, merely to have them dashed time after time. If only this would serve to remind me to avoid these follies of the heart. Maybe then I would get in the habit of tossing the day to chance, rolling the die as if life is one big crap shoot—instead of thinking the universe owes me a rub of the Genie’s bottle. Incidentally, I’d settle for just one wish, not three. The secret to keeping my soul from withering, my optimism from shriveling with hope deferred, eludes me still. Oh, to follow my destiny before the sands run dry.

What is your secret to surviving hope deferred?

Settling for less in life and love

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Escape

[Image credit: Usamedeniz]

I was talking to a friend the other day and mentioned how I keep trying to fill the void in my life. “Writing doesn’t do it for you?” she said. Admittedly, writing is only a temporary fix. And then I ran across an article about the telltale signs you’re settling for less in life and love. Ask yourself these five questions to determine if you are settling: 1) Are you constantly drained? Engaging in activity that contradicts your purpose is exhausting. 2) Do you make dangerous compromises? Settling on preferences is one thing; settling on values violates your core. 3) Do you feel stuck or restless? Being grateful for what you have is wonderful, but doesn’t negate an unmet purpose. 4) Are you secretly envious? Settlers wish they were bold enough to live out their dreams. 5) Do you rationalize playing small? You make excuses for why things don’t turn out. Turns out I need to make some changes of my own.

Are you settling for less than?

Flirting with freedom

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Flirting with freedom

 

The term freedom stirs up multiple meanings. In the case of my cat, although he lives a charmed life, I imagine he still yearns for life “on the wild side.” Or at least a fleeting taste of life outside the confines of our yard. A student on break finds a brief reprieve from tests and papers due. When on vacation, deadlines and everyday responsibilities temporarily cease. How rare to be afforded a chance to not just flirt with freedom, but to test drive it. Freedom from fear, from debt, from a relationship or job no longer serving its purpose, from illness or whatever it is that limits our potential—before making a life-changing decision. If we were only guaranteed success, wholeness, satisfaction, a cure. But we aren’t, so we remain in our own yard and never see what’s on the other side of the gate. One day we may gather the courage to open it and walk through to the other side.

What do you desire freedom from?

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