Tips for Fishing and Living # 16

Tip #16:

“The difference between fly fishers and worm dunkers is the quality of their excuses.”  Anonymous

In life you wind up with one of two things: either getting the results you were seeking, or having the reason(s) why you didn’t get those results. Results don’t have to be explained. They just are. People who don’t produce results or many results, instead, have their various excuses – or their reasons. They are reasonable people.

What I mean is these are people who reason away not getting the result(s) they said they wanting to get.“I wanted to lose 10 pounds, but the holidays came and I went to all these parties.”Or “I am trying to be a safe driver but these crazy people who speed, and cut and serve, and do all sorts of dangerous things, make me see red!”

BUT, but, but… Whenever we interject the word but into a sentence we rescind the first part of the sentence. It’s like saying, “I love you BUT I hate you.” So which is it? In this case it could be accurate to say, “I love you and I hate you.” Both are true. The and lets both parts of the sentence stand, whereas the BUT does not.

I can say “I want to lose 10 pounds AND I went to holiday parties without a plan to change my old behavior so I dropped my weight loss goal. At least I am owning what I did. By taking responsibility I can now formulate a better action plan for the future. Maybe I can reset my goal, take more decisive steps, and not need to rely on REASONS for not reaching this stated goal.

Successful people are UNREASONABLE. They do whatever it takes. They go the extra mile. They persist. And they begin by taking full responsibility for their outcomes.

Then there are those who don’t set goals for themselves. They tend to just go with the flow. They often take the path of least resistance. They allow circumstances to dictate how their lives proceed. These are the people who are good at being a Poor-me. They tend to live like victims.

None of us gets to choose the circumstances of our lives. We do, however, get to choose how we respond to these circumstances. And to this extent we get to have a powerful say in the matter of our lives, whether we realize it or not. While some would say they simply had good luck, I suggest it’s also a matter of being prepared to act when the so-called good luck appears.

There’s a very old adage: “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will do.” In his book: The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren takes on a Christian perspective where our lives are seen as a spiritual journey. He uses the Bible to unpack his belief that God directs our lives with purpose. Other disciplines contend similarly that we’re here for more than simply our own happiness. Our life’s meaning has to do with something greater than ourselves and with making a contribution. Fulfillment is the byproduct.

Quantum Physics also points to the realization that each and every one of us is connected. Failing to see this and solely pursuing things exclusively for ourselves, is delusional. It is also short sighted.

Whatever philosophy or life perspective one prescribes to, setting solely self- indulged goals and achieving these will never be fully satisfying. Our accomplishments will not carry the day. They’ll feel great initially, but this satisfaction fades rather quickly. What is fulfilling is when these goals are meant to reach beyond our own self-centeredness. When we make a difference in other people’s lives we are rewarded with much deeper joy and contentment.

Simply put: If you want to be happy do something for someone else. Some people know this. Some discover this along the way. For some it is sooner; for others it’s more gradual learning process. Unfortunately some people don’t ever seem to learn this important lesson. Instead, they remain doomed to keep going for that next material goal or next prestigious marker, only to be soon looking for the next, and then the next, unfulfilling, briefly satisfying goal.

Worm dunker are not bad people. Money, success, prestige or fame won’t make you happy. Maybe the difficulty is we need to be asking better questions.

Questions like:

  • Am I making a positive difference?
  • Is the world a tad better because I am here?
  • How can I best use my gifts and talents to be a contribution?
  • What am I most passionate about and how can I express this passion best?

There is a huge difference between wanting to make a million dollars, and wanting financial freedom in order to accomplish something “purposeful” for humankind. When we know our life purpose then there’s no longer any need to ask ourselves, “should I or shouldn’t I do this purposeful pursuit?”

Love what you do; do what you love. Once we know this, it’s a matter of finding the best means towards achieving it. Our gifts and talents are for the sake of others, and there is inherent joy in expressing them. The people who do great, bold and powerful things – the things they set out to do – start with (a) a clear goals, and (b) remain unreasonable in the pursuit of them.

Gene Kranz, Mission Control flight director of Apollo 13 mission, when the flight had a major problem that would have ended in the death of the astronauts, is said to have told the engineers at center they needed find a solution to the problem aboard Apollo 13, and that “failure is not an option.” So they set out to solve it. And they did. Apollo 13 came home safely.