The “ABSOLUTE” No-No

Have you ever realized that some of our most structured, thought out, and specific plans are the ones that fall through the cracks and never get done???

WHY IS THAT???? I asked…

Have you ever tried to put a bundle of stick together using a steal band???

Well, I haven’t, so let me know if you have… but if I was to imagine that, it would go something like this. I would want to figure out how big around this bundle of stick is going to be and then I would have to build that steal band to fit just tight enough around the bundle so that it’s not too tight or too loose. Perfect!!

In my mind, this bundle of stick would stay like this forever and ever and EVER and then we will live Happily Ever After, THE END! Right?

What do you mean, “No!?”

Let’s say, with my luck, it rains and the sticks I’ve gathered happen to be very easy in absorbing water…
or the sticks dry up and then start to fall apart…
or one of the sticks gets pulled out by a stick eating monster…

Now what!??? Now it’s either too tight of a bundle of wet sticks, a withering away bundle, or a lose  bundling just waiting to slip out it’s steal band. Now what did I do wrong there? You probably have an answer for me.

Here’s my real life example.

I have been working on my health. Eating better, fun exercises, good social life, etc…
I was content with working out at home and to my surprise with only about 30 minutes doing random things like jump roping, free weights, pilates, push ups, sit ups, etc… I was able to go from a size 36 to a size 33. I can honestly say I was proud of myself.  Then I decided that I might need to step it up and start working out at a gym too. And so that’s exactly what I did. My rationale, was there were a lot of equipments that I couldn’t afford financially nor space-wise at home.

Within 3 weeks after I started my gym membership, I stopped working out at home and started working out just at the gym. I mean, they got everything I got going at home and more! This is THE PLACE to do what I needed to do, right? Am I wrong?? I didn’t think so. LOL. So my exercise equipments started moving into the corner of the house and my exercise time moved into jogging to the gym (10 minutes), working out at the gym (30 minutes), swimming at the gym (30 – 60 minutes), then jogging back (10 minutes). Now my schedule got a little flustered and I stopped going to the gym regularly but never considered starting back up the exercises that I was doing at home.

Now once I’ve gotten the gym membership, my mindset shifted from Exercising when I can to simply just exercising at the gym. And when I wasn’t able to make it to the gym, I wasn’t even able to consciously think of doing the exercises that I have been doing for months prior at home. All that was going through my mind, was… well, I guess I’m just too busy to go to the gym, so let me just find something else to do. Well, that something else could have been a little 15 minute exercise at home, but nope, it was let’s watch an episode of this show, or cook something, or go online, etc… for whatever reason the thought of exercise has been associated so much in my mind that the single factor of the location not being available made everything else fall apart.

SO WHAT MESSAGE DOES ALL OF THAT TRANSFER TO??? Well, You may or may not be looking to lose weight or get fit, but there are plenty of other items in your life that involves time, work, effort, and focus.

HERE WAS WHERE I WENT WRONG. I shifted my thought into an absolute, a big No-No in my book. What absolute? “That working out was only to happen at the gym.” But Jay, you started working at home, you couldn’t have shifted your mindset to that. Here’s why I believe I did. There were plenty of times where I could have done the same exercises I was doing before I started the gym membership, at home, but I never did. The dialogue was, “Well, I need to get to the gym to get the best work-out and I can’t get the best workout at home.” An excuse that caused me to actually did nothing because I wasn’t able to find the time to go to the gym. But Jay, you mean you couldn’t have just gone to the gym and spent like 30 minutes on something and then leave? The dialogue here was, “Well, it wouldn’t be worth while if I spent all the time and effort to get to the gym and all I could pack in was 30 minutes. That wouldn’t be worth it, I’ll just find time to go where I can spend enough time to do everything I want to do.”

Bam! BAM! and I never found a time after that to make it to the gym. It was sad, to think that I could have been making some progress if I was just to allow myself to say, “Well, I don’t have time for that… What else could I do in it’s place, no matter how scaled down?”

Just like the bundle of sticks held together by a steal band. One piece became missing and it started falling out, I was no longer able to hold it together anymore. At least, until I was able to realize that the steal band is not what I needed, but instead something more easy flexible or changeable. All our plans need room for change forward and sometimes a step back and an alternate route some days. When we create “Absolutes” for ourselves, whether it be consciously or subconsciously, we can only win when we begin to allow for more flexibilities.

I had to become aware of the dialogue that I was having and seek out other possibilities instead of just the ones I am seeing in my head. The Questions that I remembered asking regularly were:

  • Is there anything else I could be doing?
  • What have I done before that was working and I am no longer doing now?
  • Can those things be done again and still be as productive as they were, until I can find something better?

Absolutes can get us stuck in being able to move forward in our lives, just like if we say love means life with this specific person with these specific behaviors, work means working at this specific job doing these things at these times with these benefits, health means following this strict regiment and not seeking anything else, etc… and when things don’t go accordingly we must only rely on those things that are on the current list.

We will find ourselves shifting and changing and whether or not we move with it or are dragged along we will have to go along. If we are not prepared for the changing of the sticks that we have banded together, we may one day find ourselves empty handed without any sticks to hold on to… wondering… if only, these specific events had happen then I wouldn’t be empty handed.

Free yourself from your own absolutes and you may find yourself one day with a wealthy bundle of sticks that is with you regardless of whether or not you hold them.

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