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Archive for May, 2012

An ominous red train

A lot of what I write deals with overcoming adversity, taking on new challenges, or navigating the complex web of human relations. I write these under the assumption that you are able to exert some measure of control on your external environment. However, there will be occassions for which there seems to be no adequate recourse:

Heartbreak. Betrayal at the hands of a friend. A merciless twist of fate.

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A flame in the dark
Part I: Inspiration

Just as a fire needs oxygen to spark, so too your passion needs inspiration to give it life. And yet inspiration is often hard to come by. Artists desire artistry, but paint may be allowed to dry and clay to harden if inspiration is lacking. Writers wish to write, but many sit idle waiting for the spirit to move them. How much sand must pass through the hourglass, how many suns must rise and fall, how many wrinkles must beset upon one’s face before inspiration will take hold?

The fallacy most people make is that inspiration will wash over them automatically. They often end up waiting for either wolves to be at their back to terrify them, or sirens to be at their front to lure them with deceptive songs. A windfall may occur once in a while, but by itself, it is simply not enough. A fire may have even been ignited in such a way, but to keep it burning, the supply of oxygen must be continuous.

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A few minutes before midnight

For the most part, I subscribe to the philosophy of Look Before You Leap. Experience has shown that a single-minded focus on speed tends to result in many small achievements in the short term, while the achievement of long-lasting change is often quite time-consuming. However, there are occassions when we must instead pay homage to the maxim of Ready, Fire, Aim! Time may be scarce and you may only have a very small window with which to land an opportunity or evade certain disaster.

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A clever fox

Two foxes are hiding among the brush watching a flock of chickens feeding in the barnyard. The younger fox says to the older one, “Let’s run over there and kill one of those chickens!” The older fox responds, “No. Let’s wait until they go to sleep in the coop tonight and kill all of them.”

There’s a meaningful difference between taking action “now, not later” versus acting on impulse. In the first case, the emphasis is on not waiting for conditions to be perfect before carrying out your plan. In the latter, on a lack of planning altogether. While it’s true that we should not sit idle while the world passes us by, it may be advantageous to think over your possibilities beforehand.

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