Those of us who live in Los Angeles are constantly aware of the city’s draw for those seeking fame. People come from all over the world to develop careers in show business. Their sheer ambition of wanting to become famous is often raw and sometimes scary.
What has been your relationship to fame? Is it something you have ever wanted? Do you understand it? Do you respect it, despise it, pity it, or scratch your head over it?
If there were an equivalent in your life to ambition for fame, what would it be? Do you desire to be known and held up on a pedestal by anyone – even one person or a small group of people?
What happens to people who achieve fame? Do you find their ambition worth their effort? In a culture that holds celebrities up as demi-gods, what are your points of view about a desire – an ambition – to be famous?
What could you learn that would transform your life experience? Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
You may be out of a formal educational structure, but learning continues to be the best way to create positive change.
As our world grows ever more quickly to connect more of us to each other – AND as more knowledge becomes available on the web – both the opportunities and the requirements for learning will also grow.
What learning do you have planned for the balance of 2010 that could transform your personal and / or professional lives? How can you create a learning plan for yourself that predicts that you will successfully engage positive change?
Transformation is often not much fun in the moment. Consider the necessity of changing a professional situation that isn’t working. You might have been giving and giving – to the point of imbalance – in a business or client relationship. The giving wasn’t reciprocated, and after you’ve tried all kinds of ways to change it, you have to take decisive action.
The others involved may resist – they may even attack you because you’ve changed what you’re willing to do and be.
Gail Sheehy says, “Transformation also means looking for ways to stop pushing yourself so hard professionally or inviting so much stress.”
Have you had the experience of needing to pull back from stress and imbalance as a means of transforming a business dynamic? What have been the consequences? Did you experience support or resistance from the others involved? What did you learn about getting yourself into that situation and how it could potentially be avoided in the future?
One of my dearest friends is moving to a new home that is deliberately smaller and simpler. The move is part of a simplification of her life that she began two years ago – as part of a specific intention to transform her life into being more spiritually-driven.
Writer Anais Nin wrote:
“To change skins, evolve into new cycles, I feel one has to learn to discard. If one changes internally, one should not continue to live with the same objects. They reflect one’s mind and the psyche of yesterday. I throw away what has no dynamic, living use.”
How are you with simplifying your life by reducing the amount of “stuff” that you have? That “stuff” could be anything from boxes in the garage – to long and deeply held resentments – to pining for a lost relationship – and on and on.
What kind of simplification and discarding would it take to transform your life? Where would you start? What have been your fears and concerns about identifying and eliminating the extraneous in your life?
Do ALL humans have a driving desire to transform something in their lives? In my profession, by definition, everyone with whom I come in contact is seeking positive change – but I don’t assume that that applies equally to all of us.
How strong is your desire to transform? What are the burning issues that you know would alter your life for the better if you were able to transform your relationship to them? “Everyday” examples like health, diet, exercise, work-life balance, finances, romance, career, family . . . these are the primary places where most of us strive to make progress.
What is your number one, absolutely most important area of transformation? Most likely, that’s an area where you not only desire transformation, but mastery.
Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote:
“The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions.”
What does your primary area of desired transformation have to do with mastering your passions? Assuming that you agree with Tennyson, which of your passions are most relevant to your intention to transform?
The literal definition of “transformation” is to change form. We humans transform from one stage of growth into another. Some transformations are painful, of course, but it is the nature of a living being to change, grow and transform into successive stages.
A useful question for those who wish to move forward is how to transform the world. Marianne Williamson writes:
“Personal transformation can and does have global effects. As we go, so goes the world, for the world is us. The revolution that will save the world is ultimately a personal one.”
Do you consider yourself a person who seeks transformation, or is it something that passively happens to you? What kinds of experiences and events have transformed you?
Have you noticed whether it’s the so-called positive dynamics that are more powerful transformers? Or is it the “negative ” ones? What do you think of Marianne’s perception that your personal transformation will have revolutionary effects on the world?
Wikipedia serves up a fascinating perspective on hindsight:
“Hindsight bias is the inclination to see events that have occurred as being more predictable than they were before they took place.”
It’s natural to want to explain why events occurred the way that they have; and it’s understandable that, if one believes hindsight is 20-20, that one would have a bias for believing in a high degree of predictability. What hindsight bias suggests is that some humans believe in a world that is almost mechanical in its “cause and effect” nature.
Yet, events are most often more complex than simple, “If A, then B. If B, then C, etc. In the words of the Talking Heads:
“And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself-Well…How did I get here?”
So, this weekend, ask yourself: “How did I get here” and see whether or not your answers are satisfactory. Examine the ways that you analyze the ability of the past, after it’s already happened, to predict a certain future.
The benefits of hindsight have generally to do with learning from mistakes and the purported ability to develop complete understanding (as in 20-20 hindsight) of the past.
What happens if we’re wearing less than perfect “lenses” as we review the past? I’ve known many people who carry what I call a “cup of worry” that needs to be filled up anytime its level goes down. The phrase “it’s always something” applies to this world view.
To the extent that we view the past from, for example, the habitual perspective of being a victim of circumstances, or not having sufficient understanding, or a feeling that “that’s just my luck”: all of those “lenses” of hindsight will be guaranteed to bring us down.
How would you assess your ability to use hindsight in favorable and useful ways? Are you closer to 20-20, or has your hindsight been negatively impacted by patterns of understanding the world? Where did you learn those patterns?
What steps can you take to more consistently learn well from the past? How can the history that you are assessing be used to your advantage? Have you noticed that your ability to learn from the past has improved or diminished over the last few years?
Not everyone shares the same sanguine view of hindsight. Author Diane Halpern is downright contrarian and writes:
“Hindsight is of little value in the decision-making process. It distorts our memory for events that occurred at the time of the decision so that the actual consequence seems to have been a ‘foregone conclusion.’ Thus, it may be difficult to learn from our mistakes.”
This is the opposite of the 20-20 school of thought. What is your opinion? Have you observed hindsight mis-serving you or anyone else? Perhaps “selective memory” describes something less than perfect vision about the past?
If you wanted to have your memory be most useful by truly learning from your mistakes, how would you use it? What kinds of things would you focus on? What habits and ways of looking at and evaluating events would you put your attention on? How can you make hindsight and remembering the best it can be so that you can avoid or minimize old mistakes?
The old saying is that hindsight is 20-20, but is it really? Perhaps in an ideal world, we’d learn from our mistakes so well that our analysis of what happened would be perfect – but life experience teaches that often the same kinds of analyses that produced the “mistake” in the first place are at work in almost any intended 20-20 examination of it.
Be honest. Is your hindsight 20-20? There’s no question that we can learn from the past – and we often learn significant lessons. But 20-20? Consider that if you’ve been repeating the same mistake, odds are that your hindsight has not been 20-20.
Where has your hindsight been 20-20 to the point that you not only understood what happened, but you took steps to remedy the flaws in the future? Do you consider “hindsight is 20-20” to be an accurate statement? Why or why not?
If hindsight in general is 20-20, what about yours? Does it rise to that level? How do you know?