I’m reading a very uncomfortable book right now, called “344 Questions.” It’s written by Stefan Bucher, who I frankly would like to punch in the face at times. If you read wednesday’s post on creating space, for example, what you didn’t see was the mention of the space I was somewhat terrified of. It’s page 10 of his book, where he has the temerity to ask the question “What do you want?”
Really. What on earth gives him the idea I actually want to write down that? Writing down what you want can only lead to one of three things:
- You feel bad because you don’t have the things you want.
- You feel guilty because you haven’t gotten the things you want.
- You might actually get what you want.
Seriously, the space did make me unusually uncomfortable, which is somewhat ironic given that I spend a lot of time both personally and professionally helping other people figure out – and get – what they want. I’m pretty good at it, too – I’ve got emails from happy clients to prove it.
But rarely do I turn that particular set of instruments on myself. Luckily, I had a heart-to-heart conversation over dinner with my best friend, and the sudden realization came of one thing that I want. I wrote that down while seated in an airplane yesterday, and it triggered a whole bunch of other things. Space conquered!
Decisions & Money
So did I fall victim to any of the three dire consequences that I listed above? Not exactly. No guilt, nor did I feel bad – mainly because most of the things on the list are simply things that I don’t have yet, like a hernia operation or to play blues guitar in a band. If those are my primary problems, then I’m definitely in a First-World life, because I don’t have wants like “eat a meal today” or “get those people to stop shooting at me.”
Of course, wants and needs are all relative, and there’s no reason I shouldn’t have those wants satisfied. In particular, there’s a “want” I have which is to spend more time with my loved ones. And there I have almost the same difficulty as any other person: “spending time.”
Stefan points out in a different section that time is the one resource we have that is not renewable. We can’t make more of it; all we can do is allocate it more efficiently towards the things that we want.
Part of that can be through the judicious and wise use of two very renewable resources: decisions and money. “You don’t need more time,” the saying goes, “you simply have to decide.” So a simple example: I want to see my grandsons more. That means I need to find a better way to get to their house, which means I need to use some money to get a reliable car. Or I need to forego some money by accepting fewer out-of-town engagements so that I’m in the vicinity when they are free to romp with grandpa.
Which seems like a catch-22, doesn’t it? I make more money traveling to gigs; but if I had the money to invest in a car I wouldn’t ever be home to actually drive it. There’s no way around it, right?
Bullshit. I’m sorry, but there’s no other word for it. No, what I need to do is simply decide. That, as I say at every Open Space I run, is just part of being a grown-up.
The point of this post is not to make you think about money and time or even about things that you want that you don’t have. But it’s simply to remember this: there are things you love, opportunities to bring more love into your life. And there may be much more real and concrete barriers than I have to getting what you want. Go ahead, make a list of the barriers you have to what you want.
You have just as much time as anyone else to get these things. We all have the same amount of time. So the question is: can any of those things on the list be changed through two of the renewable resources you do have?
Decisions and money. I don’t know about you, but my first thought was that it would be much easier to increase my supply of the first than the second. But you know what?
Not so much.
Something to think about this weekend. That is, when I’m not wishing my future friend Gwendolyn a happy first meeting with her parents. Congrats, Karl & Amanda!