Wednesday, January 8, 2014

if at first we don't succeed .... (maybe we are measuring the wrong thing)


In 3rd grade I had to write my motto in the class yearbook (why did we have yearbooks in 3rd grade - I guess we didn't. It was some kind of written something like a yearbook though) and I remember writing "Try. Try again."

(Childhood memories that are truly our own, not the stories we have heard our parents tell again and again, show us so much about what we are made of now and what we are holding on to. Some people misinterpret this as a way to blame someone from our past, but if that is what we do with our memory we are missing the point entirely. The real question isn't what did the other person say or do to me but "what does it mean that I remember this thing? how am I made of this?")

I have no idea why I wrote this in my "yearbook" because even then I knew I was not a Try. Try again, kind of girl. I was more of a "do the stuff I am really good at only" kind of girl.

I was lucky (or maybe not) that the kind of stuff I was good at was the kind of stuff that mattered to teachers. I remember my teacher nodding her head approvingly at my 'motto'.

(that head nod is actually the part of my memory that is important; the approval for saying the safe thing)

Flash ahead a few years and no one would be thinking "Try. Try again." was a good motto. Not that we had become a world full of quitters, but it wasn't try-ers that were running things now - it was the do-ers that made things happen.

The world had moved on to "Do or Do not. There is No Try." YAY for Yoda! Then Nike eliminated that notorious 'try' word altogether with "Just Do It."

hope locket by cuddly rigor mortis and polarity
I still like the word "Try" though. And Hope, I like the word "Hope". I used to make a locket with the word Hope and people asked me all the time to change the word. They didn't like it.

I see the potential pitfalls with these words, but I still love them. Surrounded by people filled with hope that are trying to make things better is not such a bad space to be.

My favorite quote is T.S. Eliot "for us there is only the trying - the rest is not our business."

We can only do what we can do. The process is what we do. The rest is not our business.

I cannot disconnect Nike's "Just Do It" from the idea of winning and the winning part is sometimes (and often) outside our control and I am over the things outside my control (I have been totally over them since Janelle recommended James Altucher's book a couple months ago.)

being any kind of barometer for how I am doing - not because I am a control freak, really! but because I am committed to being about the stuff that matters and not just about the stuff that can be measured.

What do you all think?

(yes, I am channeling Dolly Parton now, I blame my increased bust size due to the 47 layers of clothing I am wearing right now)

xo I still have a winter mayhem update post to write this week, I haven't forgotten! Stay warm!

5 comments:

KJ said...

(Childhood memories that are truly our own, not the stories we have heard our parents tell again and again, show us so much about what we are made of now and what we are holding on to. Some people misinterpret this as a way to blame someone from our past, but if that is what we do with our memory we are missing the point entirely. The real question isn't what did the other person say or do to me but "what does it mean that I remember this thing? how am I made of this?")

WHOA, that is powerful. Like, "I need to lie down and think about that" powerful. Of course, I also need to lie down because it's 4:00 a.m. but we won't quibble about the details.

DancingMooney ♥ said...

Not worrying about the things we can not control, and focusing on the things we can is great mind food. Funny you read that book. I found the guy to be blathering about himself through most of it, but I loved how honest and raw he was too.

Catherine Ivins said...

xo Kathy - I hope you had a nice holiday - why are you up at 4am?!

I got the book on audible and listened while working - I liked him a lot and yes he definitely blathered on - allowing the 'choose yourself' space which is totally on target since we are all here to do what we are here to do and totally supports this new energy we are in - at a time when it still feels like the work waits to be 'noticed' and 'chosen' when it is how we pay our bills ... such challenging stuff

KJ said...

I am the person who tries and tries again and once conquered moves onto the next thing. I have a lot of next things because I like trying new things.

KJ said...

.hmm... two KJ's, now that could be confusing. Good thing I know who I am. :)