Not Letting Life Get Away

I mentioned back in April that I had discovered, but not resolved, an attitude problem relating to how my life was turning out: that it was getting away from me. When I wrote the blog post, I did not yet have a strategy for transforming that attitude. In the intervening months, I’d basically forgotten about it. It came back to the fore about 2 weeks ago, in a new light.

My transformational “background” generally addresses all of transformation from the perspective that things are the way they are, and I should accept things as they are. This is a valid point of view, but I am not convinced that it will work for what I’m trying to to. The goal here is to built a World That Works For Everyone, starting with myself. It does not work for me that I’ve done as little as I’ve done with my life. This complaint must be resolved.

On the coaching page of the wiki, I outline three possible resolutions for issues:

  1. Sometimes, acknowledging an issue (in other words, listening and validating) is enough to resolve it.
  2. More often, there is an attitude adjustment that can be made–usually in the form of giving up an interpretation of a situation, accepting or creating a different interpretation, or forgiving someone or something for being the way it is–that brings the situation to a satisfactory resolution.
  3. Other times, attitude adjustments won’t be enough. Reality will have to be adjusted. Some adjustments you can make yourself; for some, you need help.

It’s important to work things in this order. (Why? Imagine a circumstance you’re not happy with. As an easy example, maybe you’re not happy with how much money you’re making. Honestly, if you were making twice as much, would it be enough that you’d stop wishing you made more? How about ten times as much? This is a cheap shot, but it illustrates an important point: for some circumstances, there is no adjustment we could make to reality that would resolve your complaint about them.)

Getting back to the case at hand: I’ve thought for a long time that life’s getting away from me. I’d wasted so much time. I had a long list of goals, which I would add to, then remove things I’d given up on. Very little actually got accomplished.

I did plenty of work in #1 and #2 above–trying to accept my life the way it was going. Many times, I reminded myself of what I heard in the Landmark Forum: “Stop waiting for your life to turn out. Your life turned out. This is the way your life turned out.” But at a basic level–a constitutional level–I found myself entirely unwilling to just let things keep going the way they were going. It was a big part of my negative self-talk, and my feelings of depression.

I got pretty distracted working on other things, like my awesome new job, where we use Scrum a lot. I’d heard of Scrum before, but now I get to watch it in action constantly. I’ve been so impressed with it that I’ve started organizing my life into week-long “sprints” with set, defined goals. (You can’t actually “scrum” your own life, as it would present an unresolvable conflict interest with yourself.) Over the course of a week, I’ll have maybe 30 goals, mostly smallish. Everything has to be set up so it can be completed within a week.

Most importantly, I’m letting myself get it wrong much of the time. My first sprint was an almost complete failure. I’m still not doing well enough at splitting “epics” into smaller “stories” that can be done inside of one sprint. Progress, though, has been remarkable. Curious; surprising, even.

So, when I was going back through blog posts to assemble some links, and found my old, untransformed attitude about my failure to launch, I realized that it was almost completely gone. Sure, I can’t program in six languages–yet. I am actually making progress. I could be making more progress, but the progress I’m making (and the increase in how much progress I’m making) is entirely satisfactory to me.

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