On this week’s blog, we share part 2 in a series of guest posts from published author Michael Fletcher. Enjoy :-)
Part 2: You are Already Playing the Game
Hello again to everyone and Happy New Year! Have you set any goals for 2018? I know most of us probably have. At the end of each year, I have always reflected on my goals for the previous year:
What worked out and what did not?
How did I achieve my goals?
Or how did I miss the mark on some pretty important ones?
Let’s drop back for a moment and take a look at what may be part of the issue. Did we play the game properly or did we try to hide on the sidelines?
Some would say we are born innocent and perfect, become imperfect during our early years, then spend the rest of our lives trying to get back to perfection. Early in my life, my dream was to achieve fame and fortune in music. I had a pretty grandiose idea that I could reach that goal and one day be in a position to take care of my family, my parents, and contribute something of real value to the world. I was originally a music major in college, and the goal seemed attainable, tempered with my love of music. Beyond that, I don’t think my mission had much vision or planning behind it. As it has been said by Thomas Edison and possibly others:
“Vision without execution is hallucination.”
My method for reaching my goals was like a rocket, full of fire and energy. I certainly had talent and drive, but my lack of vision and balance proved fatal to the mission and the rocket fell short of the mark.
I am older now, and I’ve had a great opportunity to reflect back on my goals and dreams. I ask myself, what would I do differently? How would I plan better? It’s interesting that there are not many things I would change – except I would have a clearer vision to provide focus, energy and balance for my mission.
As you probably know by Part 1 of my series posts, my fascination of the Rubik’s Cube goes beyond the plastic square puzzle that it appears to be. I first happened across a Rubik’s Cube many years ago and began to play with it a bit, twisting and turning to try to manipulate it into the logical “solved” or “perfect” position with all colors neatly aligned on all sides.
Somewhere in that moment, I realized that this was a lot like my life. I might feel like I solved one part of my life, one challenge, but then up would pop the next challenge and I would be very upset that my “perfect” life was disrupted. Or I might fix one aspect of my life only to mess up something else. Does that sound familiar?
What was I missing?
Why was I bouncing back and forth in this chain of events from which I seemingly could not break free?
Is life a game or a war?
Maybe I was fighting a war when really it was a game? A Rubik’s Cube! Life can be complicated and difficult to solve, and definitely hard to see it from all sides. But I can see a Rubik’s Cube very clearly, and it might be more than a toy in the hands of someone who has the tools to better visualize their own balance, cause and effect, and focus.
The significance of the Rubik’s Cube approach is that it illustrates the concept of "balance" in a whole new way. It can demonstrate "cause and effect", while simultaneously teaching that life’s challenges really are puzzles to work on and try to perfect. My wonderful wife Susan has taught me and still reminds me that pure perfection is unattainable in real life. Nevertheless, I think it is a noble and just pursuit to aim for perfection. Maybe we can at least see the puzzle more clearly and appreciate the game, and may even be able to better visualize one’s purpose and direction in the world. We can begin to solve some issues, achieve goals, and coordinate our achievements into a powerful outcome we have never known before. Preparation, hard work, and baby steps all lead you to something greater. Small achievements were goals you set and challenges you solved.
Like a living growing thing, your personal “cube” has been evolving since you were born.
Rubik's says there are "43 quintillion combinations, and no challenge is ever the same". Doesn't that sound familiar? Rubik's also states that "you would need over a thousand million years, looking at a thousand patterns every second, to see all the combinations possible with Rubik's Cube". Then how much more complicated is my life as compared to the Rubik’s Cube!? I don't know about you but I’d like to speed that process along a bit when it comes to solving some of the challenges I face in my daily life! We are all far more complex than this plastic toy! But how many of us get distracted or lost along the way? We lose our focus, our vision and our mission in the daily grind, and life starts to seem one-dimensional again. We begin to lose focus, veer off course, get depressed or even worse we can get cynical about this adventure called life. Yes it is complicated, but it can be solved in part, or at least we can move toward perfection even if we cannot achieve it totally.
Most of us probably view our lives as a puzzle much of the time. There are a million questions of which we are aware and a million more that we haven't even thought of yet. Each individual makes a decision about these puzzles, determining whether or not they are "battles" to be fought, or "games" to be played. What we do not realize is that either way, we will have to "Work the Cube", and you are already playing the game. Life will come and find us so we really need a game plan.
Maybe you will find that game plan in the Mind Movies materials and training. Creating your own Mind Movie is an excellent dynamic tool for this purpose because it can help you sort through this massive amount of information that life throws at us. There is no gimmickry involved, but a real way to sort through the cacophony of data we take in every day. What is useless garbage, and what is essential to our well-being? That little revelation was something I needed to experience and it was enlightening to me as I went through the USM and utilized this tool.
Recently, an associate of mine came into my office one day to discuss something with me. She works on the third shift so she brought along her young son to our meeting. As youngsters are apt to be, he was curious about some of the various items in my office. When he spotted my Rubik’s Cube he immediately grabbed it. His momma said “No, you need to ask Mr. Fletcher if it’s ok to play with it?” For a split second I looked at the cube in its perfectly solved form. All sides were neatly solved and there was no puzzle to unravel at that moment. Of course I said “Yes – please let him have fun with it.” When our brief meeting was finished, Patty asked her son to return the cube to my desk. At that point she said, “Oh I’m so sorry. He has messed up your Rubik’s Cube.” Gone were the once perfectly solved sides of the cube. Now all sides were a mixed up collection of red, yellow, orange, green, white and blue squares.
My first thought was – “No this is exactly how life is most of the time.” Expect the unexpected!
About the time we think we have something figured out, a new force comes into play and everything changes. It’s a wild card if you will. We can perceive these changes as good or bad, but whatever we decide about that part of it, are we prepared for change?
What can we do to better visualize change and the impact it has on our lives?
Are we prepared to “Work the Cube”?
I can safely say that whether we are ready or not, Our “Cube” will be “worked” by the world, so hang on and go for the ride of your life. As the “perfect” begins to melt away, we will probably find ourselves scrambling to put things back in order again. This crazy, wonderful, multi-faceted life is worth fighting (or playing) for. So let’s play! We are constantly twisting and turning and solving every aspect of our lives that we can possibly “fix”. We work on solutions, we pray for solutions, meditate on solutions, and we seek these solutions to our life’s challenges constantly. That is necessary and encouraged, and it’s all part of the plan and part of solving the puzzle. Now break it down into its smaller parts and start over again if you need to do so.
We never stop "working the cube” whether we know it or not. Although this may not be the right visualization tool for everyone, there are many of us who really need a better way to achieve balance in our lives. Perhaps this is the vision we need to break the chain or to break the cycle of frustration. Sure it can be annoying, but cut yourself some slack. We are all playing the same multifaceted game and it demands patience and skill, balance and vision. Not all goals are reached at the same time. Where are you in your quest to solve your personal Rubik’s Cube? Hints for designing your own visualization cube are on the way…
Until then - I wish you more patience and skill in this New Year, and by all means, get in the game!
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