The action heats up in our fourth installment as I call on Julius Caesar to help me cross the Rubicon that we all have to cross--whether we're writing a novel, continuing a quit or hanging in tough to a diet.
In the third chapter, I addressed the central problem of personal change:
If you're human, then you know we all begin like gangbusters...then feel the wind go from our sails. We'll need to row a while, we know. And we're okay with that...we think. But every time, without fail--no matter the port of our choosing--the Sirens start to whisper: The journey's too long...You're not ready to quit smoking or work on your big novel yet...You're too busy...There's just too much stress in your life...Next year you'll be ready...
And I made a bold move in the next batch of five questions: Each day I tackled one more zone where I was still a pussy. I got a rush from doing this, and accomplished a couple of pretty cool things. But--I've got to be honest and tell you: I found myself facing a new kind of cat: a vision of a lifetime as nothing but withdrawal from the cozy little ruts that had at least offered the comfort of routine. Nothing but hard work and sweat? Nothing but advancing without ever really arriving? Where the devil was the fun?
Suddenly, I cried: "Oh-ho! Oh, Reb, you wicked devil, yesssss!" For I'd just found my new line of attack on the 5-question list I was working: How could I have fun each day while working through serious issues? How could I have fun, fun, fun while taking bigger baby steps away from crap that had plagued me for years?
For your entertainment, and personal use, here was the new list of five, one per day:
1) How can I party with the remaining items on my list of Don't Wants?
2) How can I party with the list of Do Wants that still seem far away?
3) How can I can party with the top items on my list of things I need to 'clear'--or work out--if I'm to be free?
4) How can I party with the intentions that I most need to see as already achieved?
5) How can I party with the things I most need to let go of?
As you can see, I'd shifted the emphasis to play--not suffering or work. Even the keeping of my log became a daily high. I did not ask myself--not once--What do I have to do next? No, I asked: What do I get to do next? Where else can I party with the things that plague me?
A few specific examples? Of course.
From day one: 'I don't want to be out of shape or get into daily encounters with bums that I meet on the street.'
Party time: Hit the gym three times a week, regardless of my work schedule--and hit the abs six times a week. See each workout as a party, a chance to grow in bulk and strength. Eat well, and eat a lot, treating the proteins and carbs like royal transfusions.
From day two: 'I do want to create a more elegant personal persona.'
Party time: Celebrate by throwing out old clothes that don't meet my new standards. Shop carefully, as the budget allows, each item reinforcing the image I choose to create: Ruby Reb. Party with far more attention to hair, absolutely impeccable grooming. Never wear anything cheaper than Armani Code cologne.
From day five: I need to let go--let go NOW--of people and places that still bring me down.
Years ago, because of a business disagreement, someone put my name in a black box. There, he said, it would remain--never looked at , never spoken. I felt a little spooked back then because of the voodoo implicit in the cruel remark. But, damned if he didn't do just what he said--ignoring any efforts at reconciliation. Well! The other day I chanced upon, wouldn't you know it, a little black box from a Swiss Army pocket watch...
Party time: I quartered two pages from my trusty Moleskine notebook. And on each piece I wrote the name of a person or a place I would bury for keeps. I'm proud to say I didn't put my ex-friend's name in my black box. After all, he'd given me the party hat I needed.
Tony Robbins referred to his better strategies as 'elegant technologies'. I plan to borrow that term from now on, with all due credit to Robbins. This breakthrough at the end of my fifth rotation has brought me onto higher ground. And from this new vantage point I can see things that I couldn't before. More elegant technologies.
Today I begin my sixth 5-day rotation with a still different tack: How will I feel when (I've completed the following list)?
Onward and upward now! See you next time.