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Focus on the Rocks or the Water that Moves You to Where You Want to Go?


Last week’s post undoubtedly left you wanting more. Me too.

And so what? So what if you go straight to where you want to go? So what if you move into “that” water?

If we remember the advice given me at whitewater guide school back in the 80’s, that is “move into the water that takes you to where you want to go”, and apply it to our daily lives, we get a chance to makes some changes; changes that can affect our health and vitality.

There are two changes we need to address to “move into the water”. The first is how we think. The second is the relationships we cultivate and the environment we place ourselves in. They really do work synergistically, but let’s strip it down a little more to make it more actionable.

So to our thoughts:

Our thoughts are really the antecedent to our every action or inaction. And granted we are not defined by our actions, but our actions, and/or inaction, do tell a lot about us. What we think about, what we believe, how we talk to ourselves, all tends to manifest in the material world. Strange but true. So we have got to get a hold of the way we frame our thinking. And believing. Let me give you a prime example.

This week I read a church reader board that stated, “Failure is the best teacher.”

Really? I for one can’t believe that. It seem like wrong thinking that doesn’t put me in the water that takes me where I want to go.

I actually think failure is not half as good of a teacher as success. How many diets or exercise regimes have we attempted and yet the changes we seek, “the water that takes us”, remains elusive? Meaning we fail. I’m guessing a lot. Failure only teaches us to be more cautious. Failure wastes time. I’m not saying avoid failure; because we can’t avoid it. But really let’s recognize that what we really want is change, success, not a “good” teacher like failure.

Failure is like looking at all the rocks in the river. Rocks that you want to avoid, but typically hit, because you are actually focusing on them, instead of looking for the channel, the thing that works, the path through the rapid that moves you where you want to go. Let’s say you hit a bunch of rocks in a rapid, and lose some paddlers, and make a mess of things. What have you really learned? Now let’s say that you find the channel, move smoothly through the foaming chaos, because you are focused on the right thing, and guess what, you really learned something. We learned to focus on what we want, not on what we don’t want. I would argue to the point of pounding my first on the table that success is a far better teacher than failure. Learn to focus on the right things!

Enough of that sermon. If we focus on the thing we want and do it in a positive fashion, going from, “I don’t want to hit those rocks and flip this boat”, to “I want to find the channel and nail it”, it’s a big transition. Goings from I don’t want to be fat and sick, to I WANT to be lean and mean, moves us into the water. This is a necessary change. Embrace it!

So how do we accumulate this habit?

Great question.

It probably goes without saying, “Dime con quien andas y te dire quien eres.”

Our high school Spanish teacher was fond of having us memorize the wisdom of the world. Thank you Mr. Savala. And Older Brother Kevin was good enough to remind me of the literal translation, “Tell me with whom you go around, and I will tell you who you are.” We might say birds of a feather flock together, in English. But I like the Spanish.

If we are to ever get a handle on our thinking, we need to find people who think the way we want to think and cultivate those relationships. This may mean a change of environment.

For example:

If you desire to be lean and mean, go to the gym where there are other people who desire also to be lean and mean. And avoid the Golden Corral. (Sorry Gary K., you can go once in a while)

If you desire to write a book, find some people who have done that and find out how they think.

If you desire to be more affluent, find some people who are affluent and find out how they think.

If you desire to be more generous, find some people who are generous, and yes, find out how they think.

You get the idea.

Moving into the water that takes us to where we want to go requires action, between the ears and beyond the ears, to make some success. So don’t dwell on failure because it really is a crummy teacher. Dwell on what you want. And then find someone that wants it too.



2 Join the Conversation

  1. Janie Glover says
    Aug 31, 2018 at 4:36 PM

    Ken, these last two articles have had quite an impact on my thinking, giving substance to what has been brewing inside me. Thanks!

    • says
      Sep 04, 2018 at 8:33 AM

      So awesome to hear!

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