When the lottery zoomed to $750 million over the weekend, I bought into the fantasy and picked up a ticket.
Then I started thinking about what I would do if I actually won all that money or even a good portion of it. The dreams were distracting me, so I sat down and made a list of nine things.
Here’s my list:
- New apartment with view of sky and water
- Cleaning service
- Put money aside for nieces, nephews, family members who are not as lucky as I am
- Personal trainer
- Summer house on the lake
- Give back – help save the environment, encourage kids to read, help those in need
- Find an artist and publish the kids books I have written
- Go back to school – study history, archaeology, mechanics (?)
After I made the list, I went back to what I had been doing before I had been hijacked by my fantasy life. But something kept nagging at me.
Look at the list. Maybe, being an outsider, you can see it faster than I could.
Of those nine things, only two really require me to have more than what I already have.
I might have to give up something to get something – defer my yoga membership while I work with the personal trainer, for example. And family will get the money I can put aside for them only after I’m gone. But everything else is possible. (Even the two real estate fantasies that would require more money than I currently have are not impossible – but I would have to change my life considerably to attain them and, while they would be nice to have if money fell in my lap, I refuse to reorient my life around raising and sustaining the money necessary to attain them.)
How often do we do this to ourselves, not just denying ourselves things that are already possible, but overlooking what is already inside of us?
Often we tell ourselves that we don’t know how to do things that we are successful at every day.
We don’t know what we’re good at — but when we do things well every day and love doing them, those are the things we’re good at. A friend tells me that he doesn’t know how to explain to his new boss what exactly he does in the department. I ask him to tell me, and it comes out something like this, “I started in break/fix and that gave me a good feel for how the organization functions because I was working with the people on the front lines, and that connected me with the mission of the organization. Now I work in the PMO where I provide customer service to the project managers on the team, helping them figure out how to get the software to do what they need it to, so they can focus on their projects and the end users that are our reason for existing.” I thought that pretty much did it.
Or we tell ourselves that we suck at yoga, which is an oxymoron. If you go to class on a regular basis: if you focus on your breathing and the movements instead of the voices in your head telling you that you can’t do it and that you’re not as good as the yoga-bunny next to you; and if you just do what you can, expanding that when you can — then you don’t suck at yoga. The only time you suck at yoga is when you stay home in bed instead of practicing.
Or we tell ourselves we don’t know how to make friends. But then we remember that we took a class once, where we met someone who became a friend. So, instead of staying home and feeling sorry for ourselves, we take another class or join a club and meet people, and listen to who they are, and ask questions about their thoughts about the topic at hand, and exchange ideas and start chatting. And eventually, maybe not the first class, not the second, but eventually we find someone with whom we want to continue the conversation after class ends. Someone suggests coffee, and eventually we have a new friend. Is it always that easy, no. But sometimes it is.
Or we tell ourselves that we want to start walking regularly again after our sprained ankle but we remember the really long walks we used to take and it seems overwhelming. Then we remember that we started with shorter walks, so we start to walk 15 minutes every day, then 30 minutes, then an hour. We give ourselves the reward of walking in the park or ending up in the neighborhood of a good friend we ahven’t seen in a long time and meet them for breakfast — and eventually we are back up to the long walks we used to love.
So the next time you start to tell yourself that you can’t do something, look inside yourself. Perhaps you’re already doing it and just need to do more. You may already have everything you need to move forward.
Hey, ya never know.