Sunday, March 15, 2009

You Are Here

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Look before you leap. Plan before you act. Think before you speak. You hear these idioms and it sounds like good advice. What could be wrong with being thoughtful and making plans? Well as it turns out, a lot. Often times what happens is that I end up making plans I never act on spending a lot of time thinking about what I'm going to do and not doing anything. I want to lose weight so I come up with a weight loss plan I never implement. I want to write a book so I write an outline and make a writing schedule and a research notes and plan to work and noting gets done. But I found something out about myself, making plans are important, but sometimes you have to just jump in. Here's why.

Planning takes a lot more energy than it seems. I didn't realize this until one day when I was recalling my struggle to lose weight. I have been trying to do this for most of my life and I would make these plans. I knew how to diet I knew how to exercise and I had made the necessary plans to do it. I would get started, then I would get frustrated and then I was back where I was before I started or even worse off. I never actually did what I planned. Now I go to the gym almost everyday. I eat right most of the time. I've lost 60 lbs already and am confident that I will get to my goal weight if I continue on the path I'm currently travelling. I don't draw up those plans anymore and I'm starting to think that is was those plans that got in the way. I used up all the energy I should have been using to get through the difficult task of implementation on planning.

Not only that sometimes the plan isn't realistic. A plan is like a map. It's a way of telling you where you are and where you want to be. But what happens when you get lost? You look on the map then you look at the world and you realize that they don't match. What do you do? You can "bend the map" to reality; try to rationalize why you're lost and basically lie to yourself. You say "the map is still right this like could have dried up, and this road my be new, or this building may have been torn down." You can try to make the map fit the world. This is a mistake bound to get you lost for good, bound to the map you're unable to see the world as it is. The better choice is to abandon the map and take look around and try to understand the way to your destination.

If the world and the map don't match, abandon the map, not the journey. I used to think that I was going to eat perfectly on my diet. I knew it was going to be hard, but I thought it was possible. But I don't eat perfectly, so why am I using a map that says I do? I look at the map then I look at the world and they don't match and I abandon the trip. What I should have done is pack the map, know the map, but when reality doesn't match the map take clues from the world and keep on the path to my destination. Not only am I going to get where I'm trying to go, I'll enjoy the tip at lot more. Now I lose weight and eat anything I want. How is that possible? Because I have no guilt when I mess up, because that's reality, I mess up and I shouldn't feel bad about it. On my very next meal I go back to my diet as planed.

I still pack the map it does come in handy, but when I notice that the world isn't matching the map I trust the world rather than the map. I take not of the mistakes on the map like eating junk and I try to avoid those pitfalls in the future. But without relying on the map I no longer say the pitfalls "shouldn't be there" when you realize that you don't get to create reality you just accept it for the way it is. The world is the way it is regardless of my opinion about it. I don't judge it anymore I take it into myself and even word er at it's complexity and contradictory elements. I don't feel lost anymore. When you think about it how can you ever be lost. When ever I ask the question "where am I?"I answer "I am here" you can never be lost.
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