HeresTheThing


1:

Here’s the thing. Figuring out how to deal with it would be easier if I had an outline. I could just move from point to point, only needing to fill in the details as I proceed. Knowing what I was doing wouldn’t be necessary. I would always just be following the outline. I could easily convince myself that I was my own person, acting on my own initiative, but that outline would always be there. Once I figured out how to complete the current step, I would know in advance what the next step would be, and the one after that, and the one after that. Maybe not my plan, but I could feel like it was my plan.

But what is the it in figuring out how to deal with it? Unfortunately, there is little difference whether it is life itself or the project I am working on today, whether it is how I spend my week or how to peel a banana. There is always an outline, a set of habitual steps or usual procedures. Most of the time and in most situations, I know what comes next. I need only follow the outline.

Now and then, I come across a situation, circumstance or problem where knowing what to do or how to proceed aren’t obvious. There appears not to be an outline. Nothing is telling me what’s next.

Here’s the thing. When the situation, circumstance or problem passes – and they always eventually pass – I look back at what I did or didn’t do, how I dealt with whatever was going on. From that perspective, I assess my actions or lack of action. I now see what wasn’t apparent. I understand why I did or did not do this or that, what I could have or shouldn’t have done. I am able to retrospectively recognize the outline I followed or perhaps the outline I should have followed. The outline was there for me had I been smart enough, clever enough or insightful enough to see it and then follow it.

I’m not thinking that there is always a best way or right way to proceed. Even so, I do think that there are always better ways and worse ways, more correct and more incorrect ways to deal with things. Sometimes the outline is explicit, including specific step by step instructions; and sometimes it’s little more than guidelines or implicit suggestions. Even so, the outline is there, encouraging me to follow along.

Here’s the thing. Since the outline is always there either prospectively or retrospectively, seeing it doesn’t seem like it should be such a hit and miss kind of thing for me. Even more confounding is thinking that I see the outline but learning later that the outline I picked was the wrong outline. I don’t get it. A good or at least sufficient outline is always there, so why do I sometimes pick the wrong outline or skip over the outline thing altogether?

I’m embarrassed to admit to how many times I have glanced at the instructions for one thing or another and tossed them aside or even worse, didn’t even bother with a glance. Granted, that usually works out but sometimes things don’t quite get the outcome I expect. More often than I want to admit, the outcome is far worse than I could have imagined. That happens with written instructions but also comes up when I don’t listen to the directions or advice of people who should and do know better than I do. I just plough ahead.

At other times, I know I don’t know what to do or how to do things but decide to proceed anyway. I tell myself things like I’ll fake it until I make it or perhaps convince myself that I can get away with making it up as I go along. Since I’m confessing, the truth is that I think I’m smart enough and clever enough to get away with just acting like I know what I’m doing.

Here’s the thing. There are times when the outline is not accessible and other times when the outline is accessible but suspect. The point is that outlines, instructions and advice aren’t always reliable, and following them would be a mistake. Just because I know what I’m supposed to do or how I’m supposed to proceed doesn’t mean that that is automatically the best way to go. It’s that personal judgment and personal responsibility thing.

I suppose it would be easier or at least safer to always use the most familiar or perhaps the most popular outline for everything. I could just keep it between the lines, as defined by someone else of course. If I get a less than satisfying outcome or should things end up in a mess, I have a handy out. I can fall back on pointing out that I followed the rules, did what I was supposed to do, played the game but just had bad luck. The unfortunate outcome was certainly not my fault, not due to my poor judgment, not something I could have reasonably been expected to anticipate or avoid. Sure, it was just bad luck.

The upside of following the outline is that, if things work out for me, I don’t have to give any credit to the outline or to those who developed the outline before me. My success is due to my cleverness, my persistence, and general brilliance. It’s a neat package. When things work out, I’m awesome and when they don’t, I’m just unlucky.

Here’s the thing. I’m fine with following the outline, keeping it between the lines, most of the time, in most situations and with most things. The fact of it is that I’m about ninety–eight percent okay with sticking to the outline. If I make a thousand choices and decisions, nine hundred and eighty times I conform. It’s the other twenty times, that little two percent that is the sticker for me, my fly in the ointment.

Well, I know. I like to tell myself that I only ignore the outline two percent of the time, but that may be a gross under–representation. I don’t know what the right percent is but am pretty sure that it’s more than two percent. Whatever that number is, it has provided ample opportunity to screw up, along with plenty of chances to beat the odds.

It works like this. When I decide not to stick with the outline, I’m taking a chance. My best chance for an adequate or acceptable outcome is when conforming, when sticking to the outline. Tossing aside the outline is risky. Sure, the possibility of a better outcome is there, but so is the possibility of getting a worse outcome, and maybe even the possibility of crashing. It’s definitely chancy.

There is another risk or downside to skipping the outline. If things work out, people are unlikely to think that I’m clever and certainly not brilliant. Instead, they most likely think I’m just lucky. Conversely, if things don’t work out, do they think I was just unlucky? Of course not. They just shake their heads and wonder how I could have been so stupid. If I decide not to follow the outline, the odds of an acceptable outcome go down and, depending on how it turns out, I’ll be seen as either just lucky or stupid.

Here’s the thing. From time to time, I’m tempted to skip the outline, to ignore the path between the lines. Should I resist the temptation? Of course, I should. Will I resist the temptation? Usually I will, but now and then, I’ll take a chance.

The decision to take a chance can get complicated. It has to do with risk and reward for sure, but mostly has to do with the status quo. If the temptation represents no risk to the status quo, I might as well give in to the temptation. If there are no potentially negative consequences, why not? Even if there may be minimal negative consequences, I might go ahead so long as I’m not making a habit of taking chances. It keeps things from being too bland and boring. Besides, it might work out fine or just be a lot of fun. Even if not, things will still be okay.

If the temptation or opportunity potentially jeopardizes the status quo though, the risk versus reward equation comes into play. Like most everyone else, I have sometimes wondered why people stay in jobs they hate, continue living with people who they dislike or who hurt them, persist in behaving in ways that expose them to negative consequences, or more generally, take no definitive steps to disrupt their status quo.

But as much as I wonder, the answer is easy. They fear an outcome for themselves or perhaps for others that would be worse than the status quo. As bad as it is, trying to change would most likely make things worse for them or for people about whom they care. The risk reward equation strongly tips toward risk and bad outcomes.

Although I do ignore the outline now and then, I’m fairly conservative. I need to be dissatisfied with the status quo before doing much that represents any risk to the status quo. Furthermore, that dissatisfaction has to persist over an extended period of time. I need to be sure dissatisfaction is not just a passing thing. Even then, there has to be a high probability of re–establishing a satisfactory status quo after the disruption. I’m okay with a temporary disruption, but I need to have a clear plan for re–establishing equilibrium. I take some risk, but not a lot.

Why? Fortunately for me, the harshest negative driver I’ve had to deal with is needing to change jobs, including moving. Even then, the prospect of an equal or better job was either guaranteed or extremely likely. There was never much threat to what was for me, a quite acceptable status quo. Sure, I’ve been lucky.

Here’s the thing. Things do happen and situations develop that neither I nor anyone else could have anticipated or planned for. Life does have its random elements. Even so, for me and for other lucky folks like me, the likelihood of experiencing one of those random elements that I can’t manage or at least recover from is quite low. Nonetheless, the possibility is always there.

Unfortunately, for other people, the likelihood of random events or circumstances that they can’t manage or recover from is significantly higher. Why? They don’t have the resources or life experience that make me and others like me less vulnerable. There really is a fundamental unfairness that disadvantages some of us more than others of us.

It’s important for me to emphasize the point that infrequently there is no outline, no way of knowing how to proceed. The truth of this is real and unfairly disadvantages some of us more than others of us. This harsh reality not withstanding, my interest here is on choices and decisions I make and not so much on the randomness and chaos that rarely is at play for me and others like me. My point relates to those times when I knowingly and intentionally choose to ignore the outline, disregard advice or guidance from people who have relevant experience and expertise, choose to listen to my intuition and judgment, those times when I think I know best, whether others agree or not.

Here’s the thing. When I ignore the outline, don’t keep it between the lines, decide that I know best, I don’t proceed willy–nilly. I still need to know where the lines are that I need to keep between, what my personal guidance tells me I should do and should avoid. This is not the same as an action plan or knowing what specific steps I will take. Rather, it’s the template I always use when I have decided that I know best, know better than those who might advise me. I like to think of this as judgment mediated by experience.

There are a few elements in my When Taking a Chance Template that are not open for debate. They have no preferred order or priority. They just are what they are.

The status quo does not have a warranty. I have no assurance that things won’t change unexpectedly or adversely.

My status quo is organized and functioning perfectly to get the outcomes I am getting, no more, no less, for better or worse.

Circumstances and conditions necessarily change over time. I have no alternative but to adjust to and deal with those changes.

Before I make any significant changes or finalize any important decisions, I need to know the worst possible outcome and how I will deal with it if it happens.

Before I make any significant choices or important decisions, I need to know the likelihood of success and the potential harm or risk for me and for others in my circle.

There is a critical difference between managed risk and gambling.

Irreversible choices or decisions rarely have to be made right now. There is time to think about it. If I am feeling pressure to choose or decide immediately, my default response is, “No.”

Never discount the echo effect of choices and decisions, especially those that don’t work out as hoped. This means that negative outcomes frequently spawn negative outcomes which in turn spawn negative outcomes. It can sometimes take a long time for the repercussions to extinguish.

Here’s the thing. Making choices and decisions is not optional. Situations come up, circumstances develop, things happen. The river keeps flowing. We could just not make choices, could decline to decide. We could let ourselves and others in our circle drift wherever the currents take us. Of course, that would itself be a choice, a decision of sorts. Not an attractive option for me, but still a choice, a decision option.

Since not choosing or not deciding aren’t actual options, I prefer my judgment mediated by experience. I consider my options and opportunities and then bring out my decision template. Keeping the process inside the parameters of the template, I fall back on my judgment and experience to come up with what I think is the best choice or decision I can make at the time. At that point, it’s time to take a deep breath and follow through with what I think is best for me and for the others in my circle.

If things work out okay – and they usually do – all is well. If not, I already know what I’ll do to manage that contingency. That possibility was covered in my decision template.

Here’s the thing. All there is for me –– or anyone else for that matter –– is to do my best to do my best. Most of the time, I keep it between the lines, counting on the experience and wisdom of others. But now and then, I believe that I need to move out on my own, depending on my judgment mediated by experience to keep me between the lines I’ve defined for myself.

Is that a perfect strategy? Does it always get the outcomes I want and expect? Is my strategy the best there can be? Am I an expert at keeping it between my lines? No, but I’m getting better and better at doing better and better. I think that’s about as good as it ever gets.

Now you know, so there you go. Trust your judgment mediated by your experience. It’s your best shot at success.

30TipsForBetterPersonalRelationships


1. Be Accepting

This means you are okay with me as is, with no interest in trying to change me.

2. Be Affectionate

This means you find opportunities to be warm and close with me.

3. Be Ambitious

This means you are always on the outlook for chances to improve our lives.

4. Be Assertive

This means you speak up about what you want and need.

5. Be Attractive

This means you work to be someone I want to be with and do things with.

6. Be Considerate

This means you care about my feelings, interests and needs.

7. Be Consistent

This means you are always appropriate and predictable.

8. Be Dependable

This means I can always count on you.

9. Be Decisive

This means you are comfortable making choices and decisions.

10. Be Energetic

This means you are usually ready to participate in whatever comes along.

11. Be Fair

This means you don’t think everything is about you and what you want.

12. Be Flexible

This means you are open to changing your plans and opinions.

13. Be Gentle

This means I can always be comfortable with how you relate to and treat me.

14. Be Giving

This means you are quick to share your time and resources with me.

15. Be Hardworking

This means you always do your share and consistently contribute to our success.

16. Be Helpful

This means you are always there to lend a hand and pitch in when I need you.

17. Be Honest

This means I can always trust you and believe what you say.

18. Be Involved

This means you always stay tuned in and participating with me.

19. Be Loyal

This means you always have my back.

20. Be Moral

This means you always try to make the right choices in our world.

21. Be Open

This means you don’t withdraw from me emotionally or socially.

22. Be Patient

This means you hang in there with me when I am having trouble getting my act together or just having a bad day.

23. Be Playful

This means you are fun to be around and spend time with.

24. Be Positive

This means you are usually looking on the sunny side of things.

25. Be Predictable

This means I usually know how you will act and how you will feel about things.

26. Be Relaxed

This means you seldom get up–tight or anxious about how things are going for us.

27. Be Responsible

This means I can count on you to do what is needed.

28. Be Spontaneous

This means you come up with ideas and suggestions for us without needing prodded or cajoled.

29. Be Supportive

This means you are on my side with whatever I want or need for me.

30. Be Tolerant

This means you quietly put up with my little quirks and idiosyncrasies.

Now you know so there you go.

Secrets Of Proactive Leadership


Secrets Of Proactive Leadership

1. Proactive leaders are cautious without becoming paralyzed by the potential downside of action. They pursue their goals continuously but incrementally, testing/evaluating progress toward the goal. This approach assures movement toward the goal without exposing the organization to unnecessary and avoidable jeopardy. They don’t play it safe but do play it cautiously.

2. Proactive leaders focus most of their time and energy on organizational stability and goal attainment. They minimize time and energy absorbed by worrying about unlikely contingencies and maintaining the status quo.

3. Proactive leaders make decisions and take action thoughtfully but quickly. They don’t delay or postpone decisions or actions, try to avoid or defer doing what needs done, and they don’t hesitate or proceed reluctantly. Their actions and reactions aren’t impulsive or ill considered. They are, instead, decisive and timely.

4. Proactive leaders don’t shirk or avoid responsibility and have little tolerance for people who do. They are committed to the welfare of the organization and to its mission. From the perspective of personal responsibility, they do everything they have agreed to do to the best of their ability and accept additional responsibility to the extent necessary to assure the organization’s success.

They may decide that they are unwilling or unable to continue accepting the responsibilities they have agreed to accept. In that event, they will be up–front about their decision and in the meantime, they will do what they have agreed to do at the highest level of which they are capable. The organization always gets their best effort.

5. Proactive leaders take calculated risks and carefully considered chances with hard resources such as capital and soft resources such as political support. Before taking such risks, they first determine the cost to the organization of paying the hard or soft resource bill if their action is unsuccessful. Next, they determine the extent of total organizational resource reduction that could result from having to pay that bill. How much worse off would the organization be if the bill is paid? That is “X” or the downside cost of action. “Y” or the upside benefit of action is similarly calculated in terms of the level of increase in total hard and soft resources if the action is successful. Action then gambles “X” against the possibility of “Y.”

Two additional factors are then considered: the likelihood of getting “y,” and how much the value of “Y” exceeds the value of “X.” They don’t gamble a lot to only gain a little.

For the proactive leader, then, taking calculated risks with organizational resources means that the potential value of attaining “Y” justifies the risk of having to pay the downside bill (X). In either event, contingency plans are in place to manage the outcome.

6. Proactive leaders have a high tolerance for and acceptance of differing personalities, traits and characteristics, personal styles, individual values and beliefs, and for the idiosyncrasies of people. Similarly, they easily manage fluctuations in people’s moods, points of view, and interests. Alternatively, they have little tolerance for sub–standard work, less than complete attention to the task at hand, or lackluster performance. They always give their best effort and expect others to do the same. 7. Proactive leaders expect others to do things correctly, to give everything they do their best effort, to succeed. They are surprised when people make mistakes, give things less than their best effort, don’t succeed. Since they expect success, they assume personal responsibility for mistakes of others, lackluster effort, non–success. Their first take on the situation is that they haven’t been smart enough or skilled enough to effectuate the right outcome. They then work with the person to identify the deficiencies, to modify their (the proactive leader’s) performance so that they better facilitate the person’s success.

Of course, the Proactive leader occasionally determines that a specific person either can’t or won’t perform as expected no matter what is done but typically, the proactive leader assumes shared responsibility for assuring the success of others.

8. Proactive leaders accept people as is. Their goal isn’t to change anyone. Rather, they focus on encouraging and facilitating in ways that enable each person to achieve optimal performance within the context of their skills, abilities, and interests. Concurrently, they expect people to expand and improve their capacities and are ready to help with that process however they can, within the resources and constraints of the organization. People aren’t expected to change but are expected to grow and develop as organizational participants. 9. Proactive leaders aren’t stingy with praise nor are they lavish with it. They are quick to recognize and acknowledge the successes and accomplishments of others but don’t confuse praise with simple good manners. Please and thank you and noting that someone did a good job or was helpful are not examples of praise. They are, rather, merely examples of good manners and are integral to the proactive leader’s habitual deportment. Alternatively, praise is an intentional and thoughtful action which privately or publicly acknowledges and commends excellence. Proactive leaders reserve praise for exceptional or extraordinary performance, never missing an opportunity to praise when individual or group performance meets that standard.

10. Proactive leaders understand that holding people responsible and accountable on the one hand and blaming and accusing them on the other are not the same. Holding someone responsible is a performance standard. Holding them accountable is a performance expectation. Alternatively, blaming and accusing imply negative opinions and perceptions of the individual. To blame someone or accuse them represents a pejorative assessment of them. Blaming and accusing are always subjective and personal while responsibility and accountability are performance elements that can be objectively evaluated and, if necessary, adjusted. Since the individual or group are accountable for their performance, the level of responsibility extended to them may be increased or decreased, depending on their performance.

To blame or accuse are counterproductive and incompatible with proactive leadership. Holding people responsible and accountable are key elements in the proactive leader’s approach with people. It starts with holding himself (or herself) responsible and accountable and then simply extending the principle to everyone else in the organization.

11. Proactive leaders resist the temptation to either focus on what is not going well or on what is. It may be a function of human nature to attend mostly to the negative or to the positive, depending on ones personality. Proactive leaders understand that this is not a simple matter of choice or personal preference. The key to success is seeing that neither focusing on the positive nor on the negative is advisable. At a more fundamental level, the reality is that the organization is continuously transitioning from a past state to a future state. The primary responsibility of the proactive leader is to affect the transition so as to actualize the desired future state. To do this, the task is to reduce and eliminate the disparity between the present and future states, without redefining or compromising the future state. Focus then needs to be collectively on the cluster of elements that affect the future state either as contributors or as Detractors, understanding that neither is more or less important than the other. Focus must be on the gestalt.

12. Proactive leaders demonstrate their respect for and are pleased by the successes and accomplishments of others. The key here is twofold. They both respect the achievements of others and actively demonstrate that respect and the pleasure they experience when others do well. Respect in this context includes holding the person and the action or accomplishment in high esteem, feeling delighted, and actively expressing approval.

. . . . .

Proactive leaders are cautious without becoming paralyzed by the potential downside of action. They pursue their goals continuously but incrementally, testing/evaluating progress toward the goal. This truth introduces the twelve secrets of Proactive Leadership. This article reveals these secrets and shows you how to incorporate them into your leadership practice.

Self


I think I was probably eleven when my dad told me that I should find something that I was good at and then spend my time getting really good at it. His point at the time was that for me, it probably wasn’t football. He was definitely right about me and football, but was even more prescient than it might first seem.

Of course, he was also right about most other things that consume our time and effort. It doesn’t make much sense to give less than our best effort to whatever we commit our energy and resources. Hobbies and casual pastimes may not need or warrant our best effort, but whatever truly matters assuredly does.

I was certainly long past being eleven but am not sure exactly when I understood that Dad’s point also applied to something much more fundamental. As hard as I tried emulating or imitating my heroes and role models, I was never going to get it quite right. As good as they were at being them, I was not going to ever be good at being them.

Sure, I went through some discomfort and self–doubt as I struggled with what I believed might be some inadequacy or personal deficiency. To borrow a phrase, I feared that I just didn’t have “the right stuff.” I think it was about then when I questioned whether I was on the right track. Perhaps trying to be someone else was just one of those things that I wasn’t very good at doing. Maybe for me, it was just another version of football.

Julius Charles Hare said, “Be what you are. This is the first step toward becoming better than you are.” Walter Kaufmann put the idea this way, “Rabbi Zusya said that on the Day of Judgment, God would ask him, not why he had not been Moses, but why he had not been Zusya.” Barbara Cook’s version of “Be the best you that you can be” went like this, “Find out what is unique about yourself and get in touch with it. If you are able to be yourself, then you have no competition. All you have to do is to try and get closer and closer to that essence.”

I think you likely get the point. Perhaps you got it a lot more quickly than I got it. Even so, I did figure out that I was already a lot better at being me than I would ever be at being someone else, hero, role model or super star. They were good at being them and I was good at being me; and my edge was that I could and would get even better at being me. It was something that I could get really good at.

E e cummings’ advice here is worth a moment’s thought, “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. Raymond Hull added the down side of not fighting, “He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away.

Judy Garland cuts to the chase with the point I am pursuing and that Dad would similarly pursue were he here to advise us, “Always be a first–rate version of yourself, instead of a second–rate version of somebody else.” Fanny Brice beats that drum equally loudly, just in case we still aren’t hearing the message, “Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be, because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where are you?” I suppose it might actually be true that good things come in threes so let’s let John Mason fill out this hat trick, “You were born an original. Don’t die a copy.”

I find that I have arrived at one of those decision points that come up when writing or podcasting or perhaps when doing most anything else. Is it time to stop or do I have just a little more? I think the answer is probably Yes and Yes; so if you are on the “enough is enough” side of it, feel free to stop. If you are on the “keep going until your done” side of it, I have just a few more instances of wise people making the point for us.

• “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” (e e cummings)

• “There is just one life for each of us: our own.” (Euripides)

• “If God had wanted me otherwise, He would have created me otherwise.” (Johann von Goethe)

• “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” (Steve Jobs)

• “The strongest force in the universe is a human being living consistently with his identity.” (Tony Robbins)

• “If you are ashamed to stand by your colors, you had better seek another flag.” (Unknown)

• “Best be yourself, imperial, plain and true!” (Robert Browning)

• “What I am is good enough if I would only be it openly.” (Carl Rogers)

• “There lurks perhaps in every human heart a desire of distinction, which inclines every man first to hope, and then to believe, that Nature has given him something peculiar to himself.” (Samuel Johnson)

• “You must have control of the authorship of your own destiny. The pen that writes your life story must be held in your own hand.” (Irene C Kassorla)

Now you know, so there you go. And what does it take to be who we are? For each of us, if it is to be, it is up to me, no exceptions, no excuses.

RenegotiatingYourLeaseOnLife


Want to Renegotiate Your Lease on Life?

May be you are totally cool with your lease on life and have zero interest in renegotiating your lease. If so, right on. You are definitely one of the lucky ones. It’s also possible that you think you own your life and are not reduced to leasing or even worse, certainly not to being just a renter. I suspect you also have the perfect answer when asked how many of you it would take to put in a lightbulb. You know don’t you? Sure you do. It would only take one of you. You could just hold the lightbulb and the world would revolve around you.

I’m sorry. I know that’s not you. I just tossed that in there to put off any of those high–and–mighty types who might have unintentionally pressed play and started listening in on our conversation. They think they are above the rest of us. You know the type. They aren’t above anyone but sure think they are. They also think they are entitled and don’t know that they are only leasing the space they have among us and can have their lease canceled without notice at any time. But we know, we totally get it. So let’s talk about our leases.

What are the terms of our lease on life? Yes, there are always terms. The space each of us occupies is by contract only and it’s important for us to know the terms of our lease, terms of our contract, for if we don’t hold up our end of the contract, we will sooner or later get evicted – an unfortunate outcome indeed. Let’s give some thought to just what the terms of our contract to get to live among the rest of us actually are.

Our lease on life has both basic and premium provisions. Here is the catch. The basic provisions apply to each of us and are not negotiable. They spell out what is expected of us. Failure to comply gets us evicted from our place and usually gets us downgraded. Conversely, the premium provisions are the benefits we get from our place in the scheme of things and are usually at least somewhat negotiable but can be changed or taken away without notice or negotiation. We are held firmly to the basic provisions and have to comply. We have some choice about the premium provisions but have to cope with the reality that our lease on life comes with no guarantee whatsoever.

Even so, some premium packages are much safer than others, much closer to a guarantee. Think about it like this. Suppose my place among the rest of us is to watch movies. That is the basic provision in my lease. The premium provision specifies the movies I watch. There is a sub–provision that requires me to actually watch every movie I am given access to. It really is like life, since we also have to actually live through every day we have.

Getting back to the movies, my safest bet with life and the uncertainty that comes with my lease on life says that leasing one movie is safest, especially if I accept a really old movie that everyone else has seen and no one wants. The chance of losing access or having it taken away is near slim to none. Hopefully, I at least get a chance to pick a movie I like, but again there is no guarantee.

But I want more than one old movie to watch. – Stay alert, the fine print starts here. In my one movie space, the basic provisions of my lease only include keeping track of my one movie and making sure that it does not get rendered useless and does not get misplaced or taken away. Sure, it’s boring, tedious and definitely not fulfilling after a while. Even so, my space is reasonably safe and I can certainly handle it over the long hall. You can likely think of a few bad outcomes, but for the most part, my life is pretty safe and predictable.

But would you be okay with a one movie place in life? Me neither. One old movie is not nearly enough. I want to renegotiate my lease on life. I want an upgrade to a better life space.

Here’s the rub. An upgrade in the premium provisions has a corresponding ramp up of the basic lease provisions. Concurrently, the upgrade requires us to take on greater risk. Sticking with the movies, Remembering that we have to watch every movie we choose, selecting more movies requires more time and energy to select and exposes us to more risk of having to watch movies that we hate. Do we stick with what we have and know we can handle or to we take a chance?

Within our life spaces, our options for renegotiating are about more than movies. Do we stay where we are or relocate? Do we keep the job we have or change? Do we stay in our current relationship or move on? Do we exercise more or stick to the couch? Do we eat less or deal with being fat? Do we become more active in our community or just continue letting others do the work and make the decisions? Do we save for that rainy day or do we just hope that it never rains? Do we renegotiate our lease on life knowing that the basic provisions will change and the risk will likely increase or do we settle for the status quo while figuring that things always work out in the long run?

You may be hoping that I have a startling conclusion or helpful advice for you. If so, now would be the time for it. The truth of it is that I don’t know what you should do. What I do know is that if you decide to renegotiate, you should be prepared to manage the changes in the basic provisions or requirements in your lease that will come with your new life space and be ready to take on the increased risk that will unavoidably also show up in your life.

Let me share a little riddle before I leave you. If there are two flies in the kitchen, which one is the cowboy? … … … It’s the one that is at home on the range.

If you plan to renegotiate your lease on life, just be sure you are comfortable with settling into your new home on the range, knowing that things can heat up without notice.