Don Paglia | Marriage and Family Counseling. Constellations Workshops


Tip #76:

“Fishing takes anglers to the best places, at the best times of year.”


I love a good joke. I love humor, playfulness and comedy. I appreciate a couple of friends that send me several jokes each week via email. I love comedians who show us see the folly of our life’s dramas and reactivity. They help us to not get so caught up in the absurdity of life. I often jokingly tell others that I am “serious about importance of humor.” That’s because I believe that humor and playfulness are antidotes for anxiousness. Seriousness is an indicator that we are anxious.

I have personally dabbled in some comedy myself. It’s been more of an avocation; I know I could never make a living at it as I lack the skills, aptitude, as well as, the fortitude for such a career.  However, my love of comedy has provided me opportunities to travel around the country, to see new and interesting places, and meet great people. So for a short run it was a real hoot to have such a fun opportunity. More importantly humor has played an important role in assisting me to not become overly serious – and it provides me with a broader lens to see myself and my circumstances with some greater objectivity.  I even use humor in my clinical practice with couples at times, to help them ease up a bit when attempting to deal with serious matters. Humor has been a passion for me for a long time.

It doesn’t much matter what one’s passion may be, it’s the accompanying activities that arise from that passion that invariable open doors to greater adventures and newer vistas – new possibilities – that otherwise might not have manifested.

The silliness regarding how fishing takes anglers to the best places and at the best times of year; well, it’s just a amusing way of saying it is always the best place and best time if you are truly into the thing you are doing.

I have a friend who loves finding new and interesting restaurants. Whenever he tells us about his latest gastro-adventure he always describes the meal as being “AMAZING!” It’s always amazing. I just love hearing him describe some new entree, or the famous dessert he’s discovered, or some unique cuisine from his latest venture. I truly love his commitment to food. I guess you could say he’s a foodie. But the point is he is very passionate and that’s the really cool thing.

Whatever your passion may be, go do it! I don’t care if you love children and have a burning desire to make a difference in this arena, you need to find a way to open your life up toward this very endeavor. If you love stamp collecting get out there and find those places where stamp collectors gather. Today it might mean discovering websites that cater to stamp collecting. That’s great. Do it.

Find whatever you have passion about and take appropriate action(s) toward your passion. Pursue whatever those things are for you like you must do them! Go out and do them as if your life depended on it. It actually does. It gives you a meaningful life. You’ll always find a way to foster this yearning – this itch you have within your core – once you acknowledge it and commit to it.

Also it is never too late to begin. Did you know Gramma Moses began painting in earnest at the age of 78? McDonalds was started by Ray Kroc, when most people his age were retiring. Ray Kroc was 52 years old in 1954 when he opened his first McDonalds. Harlan David Sanders was 65 years old when he started Kentucky Fried Chicken. Today the Colonel is everywhere!

Julia Child was 49 years old when her 1st cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, was published. At 51 years old she gained television fame for her cooking show, which premiered in 1963. At the age of 69, she co-founded the American Institute of Wine and Food. In 1984, at the age of 72, she completed a 6 videotapes series about “The Way to Cook”.

Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates made business lore for creating their multi-million dollar companies in their youth — but data suggests they are anomalies. In fact, the average age of business founders hovers around 40, and people age 50 are approximately twice as likely to experience a “successful exit,” meaning they get acquired or go public, compared to a founder at age 30, research finds.

It is also never too soon to begin. We have sixteen year old grandson who purchases famous brand sneakers, paints beautiful art on them, and resells them on his website. In other words, he’s started his own on-line business. He is an entrepreneur who buys sneakers for $100, paints them, and resells them for $200! Someone forgot to tell him he is way too young to go into business.

With this global pandemic turning our world upside down, many people have been forced into finding new careers, or are choosing to do so and are inventing new ones. Lots of people today are starting up their own businesses and these businesses are more in alignment with their talents and present interests. These people have decided that this is the moment that is offering a great opportunity to follow one’s bliss. As a result they are pursuing their present day passions – some new ones and some they have had for a long time and haven’t acted upon until now.

Another friend of mine who had worked for several years as a master maintenance supervisor for a long-term care facility was recently laid off. He is a very skilled craftsman who can fix just about anything. Due to the pandemic crises within these facilities he was abruptly let go. He was called back a bit later, as well as, actively sought out by other such facilities. But instead he has elected to follow his own long-term artistic passion to become a commercial sign painter. He purchased a bucket truck in order to reach tall walls and large building signs to paint, or repaint, as well as, provide additional artistic finishes, as requested.

In the great film, The Silver Lining Play Book, there is a wonderful quote: “If clouds are blocking the sun, there will always be a silver lining that reminds me to keep on trying.” If you are thinking of yourself as being in a Breakdown, realize that a breakdown is absolutely the very best time for you to have a Breakthrough. The Japanese even have a word for “Crisis” that means “Opportunity.”

There are plenty of problems and terrible things presently going on in our world. We can choose to be either part of the problem, or part of the solution. The onslaught of terrible news and other on-going tragic realities can land on us as overwhelming, and cause us to feel paralyzed.

However, whenever we attempt to use our gifts and talents to make the world a tiny bit better than what it was before we got here, then we are becoming part of the solution. Quite often our gifts and talents are intimately connected with our desires, yearnings and passions. And by pursuing our passions we become a contribution. We make the world better.

It can sound really crazy to suggest that right now may be the best time and best place to be to follow your bliss. What I am really saying is we can choose to think there is a silver lining in these seemingly terrible and troubling times. The so-called crises of today can be shifted into lots of opportunities if we choose to make it so.

So what if we all roll up our collective sleeves and get busy making the world the way we want it to be? We have been dumped a lot of lemons and this means only one thing: we need to start making a whole lot of lemonade!

This, my friends, is what’s called being alive.