It is essential to, on occasion, re-evaluate your priorities. Your standards. Your expectations and your tools. Sometimes you have to burn it all down in order to build again. Self image can be a trap as much as it is a tool. Clear board and clear minds.

ways and means. standards and self. community and accountability….

comfort is the enemy of progress.

it sometimes takes a shock, an outside force to make you re-examine your situation.

try this – remove yourself.

seriously. take a few moments and imagine watching your own life. your actions. your relationships. your standards –  without your close, emotional attachment. what would you think? is it inspiring? is it challenging? worthwhile?

is it an improvement on the silence?

it is easy to get caught up in ourselves, in how far we have come.  we pat ourselves on the back and forget to look at what is next – at where we are going.  we have built up our narrative, told ourselves the story so many times that we believe it as true. the truth is that we reflect our environment. when it is new and scary we change ourselves to fit, we bend and push, we become –  but eventually that environment reinforces nothing but our current position in the world. it tells us that we have arrived. that we are good enough. we find our place in the pack and accept it. we behave.

the ruthless self assessment is a tool. it is scary. it should be. that is how you know it is working.

sometimes the group itself must be analyzed. as a whole. as an entity. as a construction with a purpose.

is it useful? does it measure up? could it be better? could it change? could it be more than it is?

it hurts to look at yourself, at something you created and be disappointed. to be unsatisfied. to want more.  but pain is not the enemy, it is only a signal.  it tells us that something needs to change.  too often we respond to that discomfort by finding a smaller pond to swim in. we find others who tell us that we are fine where we are, that look up to us only because their standards are even more dismal than our own. we find other people standing on the side of the road, looking back at how far they have come.

what are you doing? why? is it acceptable? why? is it progress? why? are you afraid? why not?

defend yourself.

yes. these questions can be painful, but that means there is something there, something important. we can use that information to keep moving forward. to motivate ourselves. to ask why we ever stopped in the first place.  the journey is rocky, and we all have setbacks. we have such little control in this world, it is easy to feel disheartened, to accept that our actions are too insignificant, that we should just find a way to be happy with what we have.  but is that useful?  does that really help anybody? we may only have a small shred of control, but doesn’t that mean we should execute that control to the fullest extent of ourselves? that we should seek out a community – a safety net and a lever,  a  force multiplier,  a collection of ideas and challenges, of information and inspiration.  of people to ask and to teach, people to push and to question. people who can provide examples of what we would like to become. true community should nurture its members,  but also challenge them. stagnation is fatal. the goal is to find that note, that beautiful harmony of safety and danger – the feeling of being cared for enough to be held to a higher standard.

i am afraid i have grown too complacent. i have become so enamored with the sound of my own voice that i lost sight of what i was actually describing.  i believe daniel quinn said he knew society was doomed because we lie to our children. we show our hopelessness because we cannot stomach being honest with those who it effects most.

well. if you don’t like what you see in the mirror, then change it.

i have said before that i would rather be useful than liked.

i think it is time to follow through.