When is ‘it’ ever right?

possible

“Our doubts are traitors, 
and make us lose the good we oft might win, 
by fearing to attempt.” 
~ William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

Have you noticed what happens when we want to do something that really matters, or else something we have to because we’ll either lose it or end up in a really bad situation…but we don’t know exactly what to do and how, or if we can make it all work…and end up agonizing over every detail, counting all the obstacles we see in ourselves and all around us, making lists upon lists of what ifs, revisiting every failure in our lives and reliving every trauma we can summon?

The answer isn’t ‘nothing’. Something does happen. We may be standing still, but life passes by.

When we’re very young, we can eventually afford to dawdle, but as the years add up, we start to see a deadline hovering in the distance…and it’s the scariest thing in the world. Our kids, if we have them, grow up. Life no longer feels like a slow climb up a mountain but a fast descent on the other side. We inevitably start wondering where we will be in 5, 10, 15 or so years, and the answer threatens with images of old age shadowed by regrets. It’s a wake-up call like no other.

So then the question of when is ‘it’ ever right…the timing, the circumstance, the person, the project, the resource…is a question we can no longer just ask and leave out there, but one we need to grab with both hands and resolve once and for all.

Sometimes we need to act because we have a problem to solve. At other times, we’re faced with a wonderful opportunity. Either way, it seems the more serious the problem and the more wonderful the opportunity, the more we panic and doubt.

The answer to THE question is that ‘it’ will never be right enough if we’re simply looking to settle, fake change or progress by attempting to raise the value of inadequate things to a somewhat acceptable level (or devalue something really special)…when we choose self-deception, complacency, and fear of exposing vulnerability by taking a risk.

On the other hand, ‘it’ is right at this exact moment when we set out to overcome excuses, avoid settling, motivate change and emphasize true value…when we choose honesty, discomfort, a little courage, and recognize the greatest risk is to guarantee failure by not taking any risks. (and especially risks towards a great potential…because those opportunities are quite rare)

Everything I write about reflects personal experience. In this case, it’s what happened two months ago when a bunch of problems hovering in the distance suddenly landed in my lap with a label that said ‘urgent’. In trying to solve them, I’ve discovered at every step that I’m missing what I would ideally or even reasonably require, by my standards, to secure a clear path and a favorable outcome. And there’s no way to “kick the can down the road” either. Out of what seems to me ‘nowhere’ I must, miraculously somehow, figure things out.

But how? There’s just no way.

And then last night, after a significant stress crisis, I suddenly remembered seeing Nick Vujicic‘s wedding photos this past week. I had no idea he got married in 2012, and certainly didn’t know he and his wife now have a baby boy.

So I took a day off today…mainly to smack myself upside the head and dwell in shame over going against everything I’ve learned and tested and trust to work. Which is why I had to write this post.

Given the situation I’m facing, circumstances are not exactly favorable. But any more time I waste analyzing and panicking over what might not work out is not going to take me a step closer to anything. If I’m going to make mistakes in what I have to do, and I’m fully expecting plenty of those, then so be it. We live, we learn, we make ‘it’ right. Necessity is the mother of invention (and success), if allowed. Everything I’ve ever achieved with any measure of success in my life I owe to this cliché.

As someone pointed out in an online talk I was watching the other day, we have all the advice for living, creating change and greatly improving our quality of life all around us. The struggle is not out there…it’s inside each of us. And I know it’s hard. Nothing in life that’s worth our time and investment is easy, quick, or comes without uncertainty. Which is why it’s up to us to create our ‘right’ at every step…to start and keep on going. No matter how rich, prepared, or in other ways blessed we may be, we’ll always come across some disappointments and hardships along the way.

Sometimes even in the best of circumstances we are all so tired and so scattered that it takes a gargantuan effort to focus and lift even a finger, let alone engage with enthusiasm or energy. A few times in my own life, and certainly in the past two months, I’ve seriously wanted to just get in my car and drive…presumably to the edge of the world somewhere…anything to run away.

But then running away is simply stepping on our dignity to protect our ego…and eventually, we have to overcome the ego anyway in order to save our soul and live the life we’ve been given honestly, beautifully, with love and purpose.

So yes, ‘it’ is never right, and ‘it’ is just right in this very moment. Just as a garden does not come pre-made, life doesn’t come pre-lived. We all have to get in there, get uncomfortable, get dirty, and create the ‘right’ that’s going to make it all work out.

And for those moments of hesitation or outright despair, consider this quote. It certainly made me shudder:

“And now let us love and take that which is given us, and be happy; for in the grave there is no love and no warmth, nor any touching of the lips. Nothing perchance, or perchance but bitter memories of what might have been.” ~H. Rider Haggard

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Peter says:

    That’s true about the grave, I mean believers believe there is a better life beyond the grave but in the paradigm of getting maximum benefit from this world while we’re here, some say everything should be done decently and in order and criticise the seemingly messy life of those around them, but I’ve found that life is rarely decent and in order.

    It is FULL of mistakes and ups and downs, and doubts and second guessing. How can we possibly be sure that we’ve made the right decision, until we look back at the decision with the benefit of significant hindsight. Some things are obvious, and some decisions we make as a matter of principle because we have already decided what we will do under those circumstances, something which I call setting boundaries. Eg when I was pastoring I set a boundary that no matter how urgent it was I wouldn’t counsel women alone, because it’s too easy for something to go wrong. Most of us have clearly defined boundaries regarding ill gotten gain – that the cost is higher than the gain, so we won’t go down those paths.

    But there are many areas that are not so clear, and where we just don’t know, and I decided long ago that in these situations I would do what I thought was the best solution at the time, after due diligence and researching and asking advice, once the time came to make a decision, and that I wouldn’t second guess myself.

    Admittedly my personality as a risk taker makes this easier for me, but it’s served me well. Otherwise good people second guess themselves and turn themselves in knots when they’ve done nothing wrong and there’s really no way to know at the time if they’ve made the right decision or not.

    They say that older folk when surveyed about regret, don’t regret things that they have done, right or wrong, good or bad, they regret the things they HAVEN’T done and wish they had. Sure they might have fallen on their face, but they might have won too. A man I admire greatly use to say “Have a go, you never know, you might win.”

    You’re right about Nick Vujicic, if he’s not the most inspiring human being on the planet I don’t know who is. 🙂

    Like

  2. Joanna L. says:

    Thanks for the comment Peter. I also believe it’s better to regret having done something than regret not having done it. To not have a go as you say, and do so wholeheartedly, is such a shame and a waste. I too am a risk taker although I am afraid of many things of course…but as you well know, and as I write, I believe there is no other way to live…you have to go with the heart and take chances and really invest…otherwise you lose.

    One of the biggest problems I see and have faced in my own life is that when we have to make decisions, usually there are many issues to consider, and often people as well, and there’s simply no perfect solution in terms of ideal circumstances or pleasing everyone in every way at all times. There are always going to be some conflicts of interest and circumstances, which is why we have to create balance and this involves compromise…which isn’t a bad thing, it’s the only way.

    If we don’t have balance, and focus on just one thing at the expense of everything else, no outcome is favorable, even if in the short term it might seem the right choice.

    People often pick one thing in their lives and become detached from the rest…or else they take on so much and expect perfection, that they end up dropping all the balls they’re trying to juggle.

    Life is hard and messy, but I’m finding that it’s really not that big of a mystery to know what to go for and not so hard to find that courage inside if you really want to create something special and have someone by your side who truly loves, supports you and fits.

    But, some people are very self-centered or looking to make do with minimal effort, and so obviously the easiest choices are always going to be the ones they go for, as all that matters is to put on an acceptable ‘show’ and feed on temporary, superficial rewards.

    To live well and end up without too many regrets over what could have been requires genuine commitment and genuine gratitude towards the opportunities one receives. It surely is quite the challenge for us all, but one I believe we can’t afford to miss out on.

    Like

    1. Peter says:

      Well said glasshopper 🙂

      Like

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