Saturday, October 24, 2009

No shoes

Something wonderful happened to me recently. It seemed too good to be true. And so I started thinking "when will the other shoe drop?"

So many of us spend far too much time wondering about when and how life will take a turn for the worse. This isn't healthy. And it's counterproductive.

Worrying about the future degrades your ability to live in the present. And not living well in the present degrades your future opportunities. So from a purely rational standpoint, it is far more productive to live your best now than to worry about the future. Let me be clear: I am not advocating an irresponsible worry-free life. This is not about "let us eat and drink for tomorrow we shall die." That is simply irrational escapism. It is no more intelligent than covering your eyes while driving so as to avoid an accident. What I am saying is that living life excellently will open up many doors to you and that you can only live excellently if you focus on what you are doing now. Distracting yourself with thoughts about future possibilities pulls you away from the very excellence that will ameliorate your future.

But worrying about the future does far more damage than simply to reduce your future value. Your present experiences are not just the keys to open doors you will chance upon in the future. Your present experiences become part of your soul. More accurately, your perceptions and interpretations of those experiences become part of your soul. When you are worrying about the possibility that there may be a chance that someday something bad might happen to you, you cast a shadow on everything you experience. You make it much more difficult to see beauty. And as life rolls on, your soul becomes gray and listless.

There is an alternative. You just refuse to focus on this. You take what comes your way and deal with it. When beauty crosses your path, you enjoy it. When you have occasion for laughter you grab it and shake loose every little peal. When love comes your way, you wrap yourself in it and luxuriate. And, when hard times come your way you deal with them too. But when you deal with them, you will be armed with a strong, vibrant soul.

And so, I have adopted a policy. The no-shoe policy. I will do my best to not think about or worry about any dropping shoes. I will live my life as best I can. Enjoy what the world graciously provides, try and accept whatever real limitations inhere in me or in nature. I will try and be smart and do what I can to create a better future but I will live in the world as it stands now and not in some imaginary world that might never come to be.

I invite you to adopt the no-shoe policy as well.

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