Sunday, January 20, 2013

Tornadoes, Drafts and other Clues

When you feel a draft in the room do you just go turn the heat up? Most likely we take the easiest, quick fix approach over the more extensive insulating, installing ductwork, and central heating. But avoiding the root cause of the draft has a cost that significantly adds up over time and burdens us in ways we underestimate. 

Let us apply the laws of thermodynamics to our new years resolution: heat moves from warm to cold. This is an important distinction to realize- you aren’t gaining cold you are losing heat. Our action plan needs to take this into consideration. In a business plan or in a personal project you want to keep the heat up. As projects become sidelined or get placed on the back burner that brief blue flame of consistency can flicker out.

We want to maintain the heat at the same time we want to find the leaks in our energy, focus and follow through. But we are faced with a reckoning.  Key moments of profound choice often define the rest of our lives. Everyday we undermine our best efforts in ways big and small. And all the clues are right there beneath our nose. Many we already fully recognize and know not what to do. But in order to preserve our projects or maintain our new years resolutions we need to transform the knowable everyday clues into known facts that we neither hide from, nor hide for. We need awareness but we also need action. 

The living room draft that keeps blowing the pilot light out and leaving our dreams in the cold is a knowable, significant factor. We know its there, but in order to maintain the comfort and avoid discomfort we turn up the heat and downplay leak. Too much comfort comes with a hefty price tag.

Big storms are coming. We can see the looming dark clouds and hear the freight train wind of the tornado. Some like myself are slow learners, some quickly anticipate the next right action, but regardless I’d say 90% of our personal storms and leaks in character are knowable. And great leverage can be gained with a simple daily awareness practice of looking for those clues and paying attention to the details of your life. Astounding losses occur through the littlest of leaks. But the little clues give way to bigger clues and the mind gets more acutely aware with each step out of denial, defeat, and disrepair.

Continued insight builds resolve and momentum to take on more. We need help though. Be honest: if our way of working with the nouns in our life- the people, places and things, isn’t in fact working then we may want to seek a second opinion from folks who have the experience and skills needed in each of our specific situation. Things get complicated quick and we don’t have an instructions manual that comes with this life. Some things may be knowable and we still don’t know the right action. That’s where asking for help and seeking out the right people pays off in the long run.

Access to some of the leaks may be obstructed by someone else’s stuff. But first focus on what you do have control over and leave the rest for now. This is plenty. As you take inventory of the other rooms in your house you will be more able to see the priorities and get help on the things you can’t move yourself, but focus that action in your own room first.

We can predict a lot of the reoccurring negatives that will rattle our windows. With this foresight we can plan and prepare ourselves accordingly. If we let our worst habits, fears, and self-defeating thought patterns run us, we will quickly leak out our brightest dreams and deepest passions until we again are sunk down in a hushed life.

With a systematic, gentle, but shrewd approach we minimize the negative impact of our inevitable fears, procrastination, and self-denial. At the same time we can maximize the quality and quantity of our work—with that, consistency and performance improves.  This multifaceted approach, plugging the leaks and getting the heat turned back on is simultaneously working both sides of the equation, signaling ahead our own determined cry of freedom.

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