It doesn’t matter what chapter we’re on, it’s most important to know what type of story we’re in. Although we can’t control much of what happens, we do get to determine the genre of the story of our lives, because we get to choose how we live through what happens.
We learn from failing. In order to fail, we have to embrace the idea of bracing for impact. For that’s what affords us the opportunity to get back up and try again. If we choose to spend our time dodging obstacles or avoiding what we fear, we are really choosing to allow our minds and experiences to be stunted. We’ll grow old and gray while our minds remain adolescent and inexperienced. Avoidance is no fountain of youth, it simply creates mountains of ignorance that obstruct an enlightened view.
Growing up with old video game systems provided lessons that newer gaming with expansive and seemingly endless worlds and environments to explore don’t afford. If we wanted to get to Level 2, we had to first beat Level 1. They had a linear, point A to point B, design that forced players to figure out how to succeed past where they were getting stuck before moving forward. Getting stuck in life is no different. Continue anew until we get through the obstacle. There are no cheat codes to circumvent our own stucks.
To get the gist of something colloquially means to get the basic idea of it. However, gist is defined as “the substance or essence of a speech or text,” or “the real point of an action.” Synonyms include: essence, substance, quintessence, crux, nucleus and marrow. A far cry from having a basic understanding! We tend to feel that knowing a little about a lot of things somehow makes us cultured or well-rounded. But look to experts in any field and the opposite is true; they tend to know a great deal about very specific things.
Experts spend time gaining a deep understanding of the fundamentals through trial and error in form of practice, experimentation, inquiry, study, discipline, passion, curiosity, and/or experience. There’s a lesson here. Before we pride ourselves on our intellectual breadth, let’s first be sure we understand the gist of our intentions.
At rest, we breathe about 16 times – 20 times per minute. That’s between 960 – 1,200 breaths per hour, 23,040 – 28,800 breaths per day, 691,200 – 864,000 per month, 8,409,600 – 10,368,000 per yer. The average life expectancy worldwide is currently 71.5 years or around 741,312,000 breaths. Every breath we take matters. How many non-renewable breaths have we wasted on worry, fear or doubt? None of those breaths changed any outcomes. Worry, fear and doubt can’t survive without the air that we provide!
Performance is defined as “an act of staging or presenting a play, concert, or other form of entertainment,” or “the action or process of carrying out or accomplishing an action, task, or function.” We can consider every day we live as a performance; not for the sake of entertainment, but as vocation. If we choose to look at our life’s work as self-employment (the state of working for oneself rather than for an employer), then our focus is inward in regards to our performance evaluations. If we only look to the audience for validation, letting their applause or boos judge who we are, we are missing the point of performance: self-expression. The more honest our self-expression, the less we concern ourselves with viewer ratings.
DISCLAIMER: Quasi END GAME spoiler
Sometime it’s difficult to determine when to continue pursuing something and when to decide to pursue something else. Where is the line between “giving up” and “not giving in”? When a medic is performing CPR, when do they know when to continue to revive someone and when to call it? This is something I pondered after seeing Avengers: End Game over the weekend. It comes down to determining the “snap” moment. That’s the line! Post-snap, there’s reason to believe a course can be corrected: There’s still hope. Pre-snap is a lost cause.
Life is all about what happens moment-to-moment. Truth is found in knowing the meaning in those moments: either as they unfold or upon reflection. Discovering the truth and refusing to acknowledge it is the same as trying to raise the dead.