Monday, June 13, 2011

Alternative Paths.

When good is near you, when you have life in yourself, it is not by any known or accustomed way; you shall not discern the foot-prints of any other; you shall not see the face of man; you shall not hear any name; the way, the thought, the good, shall be wholly strange and new. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

The world buzzes about goals and visions. Focus. Create a vivid picture of exactly where you want to go. Dream big, then don’t let anything or anyone stop you. The problem, as Daniel Gilbert wrote in Stumbling Upon Happiness, is that we’re horrible at forecasting how we’ll really feel 10 or 20 years from now – once we’ve gotten what we dreamed of. Often, we get there only to say, “That’s not what I thought it would be,” and ask, “What now?” Ambition is good. Blind ambition is not. It blocks out not only distraction, but the many opportunities that might take you off course but that may also lead you in a new direction. Consistent daily action is only a virtue when bundled with a willingness to remain open to the unknown. In this exercise, look at your current quest and ask, “What alternative opportunities, interpretations and paths am I not seeing?” They’re always there, but you’ve got to choose to see them.
(Author: Jonathan Fields)

In the recent future, I feel that my ambition is not necessarily “blind” in order to get to one goal as quickly as possible, but “blind” in the fact that as much as I’ve been trying to plan things out, that is just not the way it will end up going.

I’ve had to do a lot of regrouping and reorganizing and pushing things back and rescheduling and saying no to a few friend outings because I simply needed to lay in my bed and do nothing for 20 minutes. Sorry friends.

I think that one of the best parts of working in a nonprofit is the fact that you never know what will come up or what you might be called upon to do the next day. This is also one of the worst parts. I mentioned awhile back that I went to a class called “Achieve Your Highest Priorities.” A very large chunk of this class was teaching us how to, very specifically, plan out our lives. Using a planner, setting big goals, understanding that email takes up a large chunk of time, etc. I honestly tried to use this system for 2-3 weeks. Every single day that I went back to it and was really excited about having planned out my day and “this was the day this is going to work!”, something went incredibly awry. Like people leaving because of a family emergency and me needing to step in awry. Like last minute calls for sponsorships that takes the entire morning awry. Like “hey I thought I sent you this email but actually I didn’t include you and a firm deadline for everyone’s extra information needs to be in the online system by tomorrow…system down right now but should be up in a couple hours” awry.

This is not due to me not planning. This is a larger power working against me. I’ve been trying to go with it, keep a positive attitude, etc. but it is starting to get incredibly hard. Like the state of Minnesota isthreatening to shut down causing for us to have no support on campus our first week of camp – hard. This is not a joke; this is a reality we are currently facing.

Don’t get me wrong, I expect little road bumps. I expect obstacles. But when do they stop?

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