Last Monday morning I was enjoying a beautiful sunny walk through the neighborhood before work when I noticed a plant growing out of the asphalt. “Must be a weed” I thought to myself as I approached the spot in the road where the plant was growing. I was shocked when I got close and observed that it was not a weed, but instead, a small, beautiful flowering plant! Its purple and yellow petals a striking contrast against the charcoal colored asphalt. It was a wonderfully unexpected surprise!
I love the tenacity of that little plant! Not only the plant, but the seed from whence it came. That seed was dropped in the least likely place for it to grow. None the less, it literally took root and found a way to thrive within the environmental constraints it had been dropped into. No greenhouse. No potting soil. Nothing more than an opportunity to succeed.
That plant was a great reminder to do my best with the opportunities I’m given. Even when conditions might not seem optimal.
I started playing the electric bass 3 years ago and I’ve really enjoyed the process of learning how chords are made and fit together with other chords to make bass lines and fills. While I’ve enjoyed the learning process, I’ll also admit that I’d been frustrated by the slow pace at which improvement has come. However, I have to remind myself that consistent effort leads to breakthroughs, whereas quitting does not.
For the past 3 months I’ve been focusing on the pentatonic scale and how to use it with other scales. What’s been frustrating is that I’ve been learning and practicing these concepts, but have been struggling to put them together in the context of a song. I’ve practiced the chord shapes, but feel like I have a mental block when it comes to putting it all together.
However, tonight (Thursday) when I sat down to practice, I noticed that the concepts I’ve been learning had come together and I was actually using them in the context of a song! It’s like my brain finally said, “Oh, I get it now.” What a breakthrough! And it’s all the result of consistent practice, even when the results were slow.
Is there something you’re struggling to learn or accomplish? Are you not seeing the results you’d like as quickly as you ‘d like? If so, I encourage you to stay diligent in your practice, even when it seems you’re not making headway.
There are 2 things I know for certain:
If you keep at it, you’ll eventually have a breakthrough
Earlier this week I was having a conversation with someone about recent events. At several times during the conversation, I felt like there was a point I could make about what they were saying. Fortunately, I decided not to, and just listened to where they were coming from. In that circumstance, I think I made the right choice.
Speaking from my own observations and experienced, it seems like people are all over the spectrum with regard to what they think, how they’re dealing with the current myriad issues and how they’re being impacted by those issues. There are so many opinions, world-views and stressors on people, and so many different ways people are handling them, that it’s unlikely you’ll find someone on the exact same place on the spectrum as you are. I certainly haven’t. As such, in our effort to make a point, we could easy turn a conversation into a divisive exchange without even meaning to.
I think it would serve us well to know when the time to make a point is, and when it would be more appropriate to compassionately listen to someone in order to better understand where they are coming from.
May we continually be able to discern which response is appropriate for the conversations we find ourselves in.
There’s so much going on in world and the US lately! Compared to what was happening just 6 months ago, it feels like we’ve been transported and dropped off in a whole new world. As a result, there is so much news coming at us every hour (or very often in real time) in an attempt to keep us informed. While it’s good to be informed, it’s not good to be over saturated.
When I watch too much negative news, it starts to impact my attitude and my thinking. It leaves me feeling weighted down. I’m grateful that I know this about myself, so that I can monitor my news intake and stop watching once I’ve been informed, instead of continuing to watching to the point of over saturation. It’s good to know my limit!
Do you know your oversaturation limit for negative news? If not, pay attention to your attitude and outlook based on the amount of news your consuming. If you too find yourself being weighted down by current events, perhaps throttle back on the consumption. Who knows, you might be able to improve your outlook, and free up some time, by watching less news.