Getting things done

What it is that translates a day to something special is by no means predictable. Yet there are standard indicia which over the years I have found to be reliable. For one thing – and I confess I consider this crucial to one’s well being – it is adherence to the adage, “First things first” or doing what has to be done before doing anything else.  While this might at first appear to be a simple mandate, it is however sometimes – indeed often – knotted by the failure to acknowledge that what is of primary importance in one’s life is as frequently what must of necessity be accomplished. This in turn regularly conflicts with not only what one may otherwise consider to be a priority but also what others consider to be of importance.  Hence the conflict; namely, does one persist in pursuit of one’s own heartfelt requirements or, in the putative interest of accommodation or other social generosity, bend to whatever other popular or associated alliance commands? Not to mention the barrier of one’s own catalogue of desires. We are after all as frequently driven by passion as rationality.

For one such as I – that is, one who is complacently and selfishly devoted in spite of almost any other competition – there is no contest between what I know should first be done and what anyone else might imagine or prefer ought to be done. And, in my defence, the reason for this unrepentant smugness is the full awareness I have learned to accept that doing otherwise spells doom and dissatisfaction all around.  This is not however to suggest I haven’t a shred of misgiving for being what some may define as perilously puffed-up. Au contraire.  In fact this repeated conflict is as often a source of much handwringing and initial dissatisfaction.  But as I say the dominance of selfishness prevails.  And in the result I have unwittingly learned to accept the cleverness of my disposition in achieving successful results. Part of the reason for the success is that the enterprise is seldom as formidable as I at first speculated.  Or, to be more exact, nobody really cares in any event.  There are in short few circumstances in my life which have an ovepowering influence upon the happiness of others.  They too may be following similar road maps. And most certainly they seldom follow my own.  The worse that customarily arises from this seeming insensitivity is a conflict of agenda or mere disinterest.

Oddly enough when once one has submitted to the utility and intelligence of listening to one’s inner inertia (because after all what we’re here talking about is seldom more than visceral instruction), it is practically axiomatic that one’s day is gratifying.  You have achieved the goal of doing what you knew had to be done!

The removal of this preliminary obstruction to a day well-spent is what lays the platform for the subsequent prescription of activity; that is, the way is cleared for further nutritious application.  Indeed more often than not the mind and body are animated by the triumph of the small steps forward. And what better way to free oneself of any lingering doubt about what ought to have transpired? This gusto must not however be allowed to overtake one’s smoothness of contemplation. A review of what further may be done throughout the day (to make life worth living so to speak) must include an element of verifiable rationality. It is so easy to slip out of the stream of intelligent thinking into the twirling rush of water that is mindless application. Quite often the dissolution is a jump from the edge of keenness to the valley of misunderstanding or inadequacy; metaphorically, a lapse of thought for the allure of appetite. Both are compelling. And yet both are to be controlled if one wishes to avoid dissatisfaction. Thus here one must opt for a reasoned choice of behaviour. This means for me to adopt a quick summary of where it is I wish to go next. A pause is therefore relevant. The sequel to which is usually a re-evaluation of things, essentially comparing desire with need (the two frightful poles of contentment). Surely it is easy to escape the dutiful review of these matters; but once again experience has taught me to do otherwise.

More often than not – like most things in life – the answer lies somewhere in the middle. It has to be an advantage of being bipolar (or, apart from the psychiatric definition of manic and depressive disorder) that one is at least aware of the extremities in life, something I suppose which enhances the choices available. Recognizing that achievement of one’s goals is often enhanced as well by being postponed or set aside temporarily is but another way of saying that the most provocative feature of a day is at times the missed opportunity. The effect of the limitation is curiously the broadening of the avenue along which one treads. And again it is apodictic in the same way as illustrated by the adage, “Less is more”.

Finally the recipe for a fruitful result must contain a measure of unqualified approbation of one’s current state of being; that is, being thankful for what one already has. This too may appear to be a simple platitude; but it is fraught with a host of challenges, among them ingratitude, shallowness, lingering remorsefulness, egotism and generally narrowness of thought. Make no mistake, none of us is alone in this world.  What separates us from others is nothing more palpable than the air we breathe. We are all bred of the identical cloth and it predicts the mantle we wear, distinguished only by how well we wear it.