“A wise man pays attention
to what is said
but listens to what goes unsaid.”
Enjoy this illustrated video featuring a recorded narration from 1929 of
A.A. Milne reading from “Winnie-the-Pooh”.
What do the symbols you present say about you?
Perhaps in this age of texts and tweets and emoticons, symbols are used more than ever before.
We add ‘xo’ and ‘<3’ to the ends of notes to loved ones.
🙂 and 😦 display our emotions which help the reader understand the many non-verbal conversations we have with one another, hoping to ensure that our meaning is not lost in translation.
Are symbols fairly new to us and based on electronic communications? Many are but in the case of x’s and o’s, these have represented kisses and hugs for generations.
Let’s consider the other symbols that surround us:
Math provides us with a myriad of symbols, both positive or negative. Either adding or multiplying to our experience or negatively deducting from our source.
But what other symbols surround us in our daily existence?
As we age, we develop wrinkles and laugh lines. Someone meeting us for the first time sees these symbols of experience and make deductions. They start to assess our age and place themselves in relation to us. Are we older, younger, by how much?
One of my favourite lines from the song Happy Baby by Shaye is: “These lines upon my face, I’d be a fool to erase ’cause they show my place in this world.” Yet so many of us, women in particular, are obsessed with hiding our age. Who are we really trying to deceive?
What about visible scars? Do they symbolize a difficult life? A serious accident? A birth defect?
Our clothes? Symbols of societal stature?
Cars: Symbols of financial class or moral standing?
Houses: what does the size of our homes symbolize to passersby?
Choice of vacation spots: financial, educational, or a symbol of our stage in life?
The books we read. The movies we watch. Do we play video games or not?
Our lives are full of symbols; symbols that others use to define us and that we use to define ourselves.
As our friend Forrest Gump stated in the video on my post “Life is like a box of chocolates…”, “there’s an awful lot you can tell about a person by their shoes; where they’re going; where they’ve been.” These are images of ourselves that we portray, for the most part, without even realizing it. But you can’t know the whole story until you the know the whole person.
Enjoy Happy Baby by Shaye – great song, great message, great Canadian group.
Life is full of surprises and twists and turns. Some wonderful, some not.
You may start off in one direction and end up somewhere quite unexpected.
You may meet someone who changes your trajectory. They may present options to you that you hadn’t considered and venture down an unexplored path. Perhaps a promotion offers a career direction that leads you to further challenges.
Some of these twists and turns may end up being the things you look back on and categorize as ‘mistakes’. Did you learn anything from your so-called ‘mistake’? If so, then perhaps it should be considered a lesson. Is it a mistake only if you repeat it?
Reaching into your box of life-chocolate, you pull out your favourite one. Do you gobble it up and reach in again for another or do you savour it slowly trying to make it last?
Do you enjoy being surprised by the selections or are you more the type that prefers to check the map and select your chocolate carefully, considering all the options and leaving the unpleasant ones for last, or for someone else?
Some would say that isn’t living; that life should be experienced as it unfolds.
Some would say that is living with intention; you have a plan, desires, and you intend to see that you reach your goals.
Is one method more right than the other? Is one method more right for you?
You may never know what life will throw your way, but if you make a map, there are less surprises; for better or worse, the choice is yours to make.
Are you a read-the-map person or a take-what-you-get sort?
However, there are times when things are definitely easier than others.
What is hard for someone, may be easy for others, and vice versa.
Sometimes we put pressure on ourselves and make things more complicated than they need to be. And then there are times when we don’t try at all and wonder why it didn’t work out or go our way.
Sometimes the best solutions are the ones that are so simple they don’t even cross our minds.
How simple? Think:
Peanut butter and jam sandwiches.
Grilled cheese sandwiches.
Cheese and crackers.
Milk and cookies.
In other words: Comforting. Familiar. Easy.
Can this way of thinking be applied to problem solving? Often, yes.
Sometimes we struggle so hard and long to find a way to:
resolve a conflict;
repair bad feelings;
lift someone’s spirits,
When your child is upset, just sitting beside them holding their hand may be all they need to feel better – to know that they are not alone and they are loved.
Do you have somewhere that you want to be? A career choice? A position in the community? A home in a specific neighbourhood?
How are you going to get there? Win a lottery?
We can all hope for the big freedom-inducing win but for most of us, buying the ticket only sweetens the pot of the winner.
So in the likelihood that your ship never arrives in port, what are you going to do? What’s your plan?
Think about where you want to be in 10 years. Financially. Spiritually. Physically. Socially. Career-wise.
How far are you from attaining that vision?
What are you going to need to get there? More education? A healthier diet? More exercise?
Now, break it down. What are the steps that you can take now to work toward those goals.
Now break those steps down again. Then again. Until you have easy to manage steps that you can start today and which will steer you in the right direction.
Make some sort of reminder for yourself of your goal that you can carry around with you. For instance, if you want to save up for a special vacation but can’t ever seem to put money aside, carry a photo of the location in your wallet. Each time you reach in to make a purchase, look at the photo. Do you really need that latte now?*
Putting one foot in front of the other, even if they are only baby steps, will get you closer to attaining your goal.
Keeping the goal at the forefront of your mind will keep you walking in the right direction.
Plan for success!
What is the first small step that you will take toward reaching your goal?