Most of us start off with the best intentions: We walk up to a stranger because we feel drawn to present them with love. We talk to potential business partners in efforts to contribute our own quota to a working world. We begin a medium of expression, a blog for example, because we want to remain authentic and inspire change. And for a time things go well: The stranger, who becomes our soul mate, reciprocates our love. The business partner offers a generous package impossible to refuse. The blog receives fans who inbox their support.
But then life happens.
It becomes clear that the best intentions and the repercussions which follow from them are far from symmetrical in their delivery. Our intentions fail to serve as adequate boats needed to keep us afloat the oceanic current of life. The business commitment demands a long distance trip, and it becomes clear that to entertain the commitment would be to inject a dose of strenuous unhappiness into our romantic life and into the life of our soul mate. And the time to entertain our mediums of expression becomes more and more constrained.
So what is there to do?
The one thing to not do is fight against life, not throw at it everything it throws at us in a bid to conquer. We must flow with the dynamism of life.
One of the biggest sources of frustration comes when we make attempts to control things impervious to control. Take for example the will to control sexual urges. History proves that to attempt to lay (direct) control over urges is to meet with a frustrating kind of failure. Yet we might ourselves ‘persisting’. We might find ourselves trying to stop masturbating and/or stop seeking and getting yet another round of sex but find ourselves smacked by the reality that the urge for sex is a powerful force.. Despite our sweetest intention of wanting control over our life we fail.
Of course, this isn’t a suggestion that intentions are useless. The solution isn’t to disregard intentions. Without them we are swept away by life’s powerful currents. But we are better off trusting the delivery of repercussions on something else, something a bit more causative. In taming horses, for example, we tend to avoid forcing them down in a bid to ride them. Even with our best intentions, forceful attempts to tame a wild horse proves remarkably difficult. To tame a horse, we secure it with a particularly lengthy rope and let it run free. And them rein it in bit by bit, by gradually pulling in the rope. We are indirect in our bid to lay control on uncontrollable things.
The same approach must be brought into the quest of life.
When it comes to persisting, it can be useful to keep in mind that persisting isn’t about repeating. It is about adapting, in a dogged effort to achieve something. Those who first put in efforts at taming horse veered from repeating forceful attempts. They adapted their approach to suit the challenge of the steed problems. To have repeated the same set of actions in expectation of different results would have been unwise.
Reining in life bit by bit might be slow. And it can be difficult to identify the ‘ropes’ we can use to rein it in. But its the only useful way. We might have to live through arguments with our romantic partner about the need for a trip. We might have to endure difficult (and sometimes boring) meetings with business folks. We might find ourselves turned away from our mediums of expression, say a blog for example. It isn’t because we are bad people ill-equipped at managing intentions. It is that life happens.
To Opeyemi, Rock and Leo. Thanks for being there.
You are awesome.