If I think forward to the ‘me’ that I want to be in a year’s time, what might he say were the pivotal moments and changes that led to that particular rendition of me coming in to existence? How likely is he to say ‘well, it all started when I just kept doing what I’d always done with relatively little success, and continued to pity myself for any misfortunes and just, like, wing it’? Probably not very likely. I imagine it would go more along the lines of ‘well, once I realised that I actually had goals, and the only way I’d ever achieve them was by taking action and following through on my intent, things really got going’.
Now, obviously this is all a bit generic but you get the gist. It’s possible to put yourself in any hypothetical reality you choose, and to deduce just how that might feel, and just how you might get there if that’s something you want. Once you drill down in to it and know what you want, it often becomes painfully transparent why you’re not getting there. Painful because you know what you’re doing to hold yourself back, but knowing doesn’t always lead to change or action.
I was chopping ginger the other day for a stir-fry. We’d just got a new set of knives in the flat, which is great because the old ones could barely cut through butter. I was thinking, as I was slicing, of how I was holding the knife and the root after recently coming across a tip on handling knives on some food blog. They talk about curling in the fingers, using your knuckles as a buffer should the knife come too close to your fingers. I was doing this and noticed that my thumb was still protruding and I should probably adjust my grip; but just then I sliced right across the tip of my thumb. Luckily, my mind flashed back to another handy kitchen tip I’d overheard at a bus stop the day before: ginger can be used to treat cuts (how convenient). So I took the discarded end of the ginger root and held it to my thumb until I could whip up a makeshift bandage out of kitchen-roll and masking tape.
The point of this tangent (besides the interesting pathways that our behaviours and thought processes stem from) is that we can often see when we’re doing something that is likely to trip us up, or at least not be that helpful to the situation. It’s putting us at risk, making us less efficient, yet we’re doing nothing about it; and if we don’t change course in time, we’ll pay the consequences. Now, that needn’t be the end of the world (luckily I was cutting ginger and not an onion or something – I don’t imagine that would feel good) if we learn from our experiences and adapt accordingly. You can bet from now on I’ll be way more mindful of how I handle knives, for one thing.
It’s not about doing everything perfectly and nailing it first time round. Some people see failure as a dead end, but when you look at it as a speed-boost on a learning curve you can really change your attitude towards your efforts – even when they don’t go as planned. Learn from everything you go through, and no experience is wasted.