The beauty of zen sand gardens is inherent for a fundamental reason: zen gardens exist, so we can exist in them. There is no other purpose than to place ourselves back in ourselves.
No one tries to get through the process to the other side. There is no other side – only ourselves and the sand. Since there’s no “Right” way to rake the sand – no great sand artists to emulate, we can create in the most original and honest way possible. Because we’re truly present in the process, beauty emerges naturally as the chaos of the sand gives way to the serenity of our peaceful, purposeful, interactions with it.
It’s a deeply satisfying metaphor for our lives and our work. Shoddy things happen when we try to get through them, as if they’re not worthy of our attention, or our time. Cutting the onions, painting the fence, raking the lawn; all great opportunities for art – great opportunities to exist in ourselves and to create something beautiful. If only we could stop ourselves from thinking they’re obstacles, that there’s really something else we’d rather be doing.
I don’t think it’s any surprise then that those doing the best work are those having the best time – that truly love their craft, and thus exist in every moment of it. Never rushing any one part of their job in favor of another, they know it’s all connected and it all comes with the package. There are parts more exciting, sure. But even the small parts are paid attention to, the true beauty in them is found. The goal isn’t to “get through the day” but to greet the day with a smile, and gratitude in their hearts for the opportunity to do something that so compliments their nature. These are the rare people, but they can be any of us, at any time.
Rushing into action, you fail.
Trying to grasp things, you lose them.
Forcing a project to completion,
you ruin what was almost ripe.
― Laozi, Lao Tsu: Tao Te Ching
Great video of Simon Sinek talking about the Circle of Safety – why we should take care of one another and why it’s a leaders highest obligation to make sure that they take care of their team. It’s a shame I missed this as it was filmed in downtown Gainesville.
I have a confession: I love Mondays. Yeah, you heard it – Mondays rule.
Mondays suck for some people. They used to suck for me. I first learned “TGIF” when I was in elementary school. First heard my parents play drive-time afternoon radio on the way home from school about how awesome it was that one didn’t have to work for two days. It seemed, well… normal.
If you work for someone else and you view your work as something that’s just a requirement and not a huge opportunity, then TGIF makes sense as a mantra. Me? I’d prefer not to go through life that way and you don’t have to either.
Hat tip to Eric Thomas (the super intense guy in this video) for coining the alternate term, “TGIM.” If you haven’t seen his other videos, I highly recommend them as opposed to a shot of 5-hour energy. His passion is infectious and worthy of imitation. If you care about being the best version of yourself possible, then this is what you need to get behind. To hell with YOLO, all you need to know is that Monday is the starting gun of awesomeness.
Monday is where you get to shake off two days of lethargy and open up an early lead on the rest of the pack. Well rested, you can hunker down and attack the week, making Friday hope you never arrive for when you do, you’ll surely slay it with the intensity of an apex predator.
Any work, even work for someone else, should be in the service of your ultimate goals. Where do you want to go and who do you want to be? Working gets us there and Monday is a damn fine place to start. Fridays often piss me off as I wish I had another day to get more done in that week. In fact, regardless of how much we got done, another day would always be welcome. Monday guarantees you four more whereas Friday promises none.
JFK once said, “Don’t pray for easier lives, pray to be stronger men.” With the same sentiment, don’t wish for easier days, wish for greater opportunity – and nothing has more opportunity in it than a Monday morning, pregnant with possibility.
So how’s that working out? The future I mean.
Everything you hoped?
Oh. You don’t think this is the “future” or better yet “the FUUUUTTTTURRRREEE?” Just imagine a deep ominous voice announcing it. Or is that how you already imagine it? Like, maybe to qualify as the future it needs to be properly announced and fawned all over?
Make no mistake my friend. This is the future, and you are here. If you were alive yesterday, or a year ago, or 20 years ago, this qualifies. No, we’re not all living in Jetson-style cloud dwellings with robot maids, but that doesn’t change the fact that a significant portion of time has passed. I know, nine-year-old Rob is still pissed about his lack of a working hoverboard.
So what do you think? Happy with your place in it? With your station in life, with your previous selves’ choices? Because you’re living here and you should be. Odd, because nothing you can do at this moment will change your immediate situation. Only, things you can start to do to change your new future. The good news is, for most of us, you get to have new “futures” all the time. Until you don’t.
What do you want to do with this future to set up the next one, and the one after that? Every day, every hour is a chance to do something new – or more of what’s working for you. How will you use it?
The yacht doesn’t show up magically on your 50th birthday. The 30th wedding anniversary surrounded by adoring friends and family just doesn’t materialize out of thin air when you turn 60. The promotion, your business, your slate of memories of doing amazing things doesn’t just plop from the sky.
Odds are, when you hit those milestones you’ll likely feel like they won’t be the “future” either. They’ll feel just like this. Just like right now. After all, you’ll be there, and you only think you live in the present.
I guess what you should ask yourself is this: Do you, only live in the future? And if not, what do you want to do now to make the new future what you’d like it to be?