One absurd practice we could all question…

As I see it, the sentiment is quite widespread.

• Offered to someone starting a new chapter, whether it’s a new year of life (hello, birthdays!) or an exciting travel adventure.
• Thought by many a well-intentioned parent, guardian, and friend.
• Hand-written in cards and notes of all sorts.

I feel like it either (a) comes from a good place or (b) is expressed ‘just because’ – it’s socially acceptable, essentially expected at times.

Either way, I propose we all immediately put an end to this ‘polite practice’ of wishing one another “nothing but the best“.

"I wish nothing but the best for you."

Sounds good, right? (Source.)

Why?! It seems appropriate. Kind. Certainly polite. Generous, even.

Yet having and living “nothing but the best” robs us of context – without which we cannot really truly understand, cannot grasp reality, and cannot truly empathize. A life without context is absurd, to me.

Life without context is living in blindness, ‘blissfully’ unaware. If “the best” is all we know, then our perspectives are uni-dimensional, inexperienced, untethered, out-of-touch, unintentionally ignorant… Frankly, I think these skewed perspectives are an insidious danger, to both ourselves and for those around us.

So instead, I propose we all do one another (and ourselves) a favor and take to the habit of wishing one another “enough“.

•  •  •

“(This is) a wish that has been handed down for generations. My parents used to say it to everyone.” (…)

“When we said ‘I wish you enough’ we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them”.

“I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
//
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
//
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
//
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.”

(Modified and abridged from this post.*)

•  •  •

“Enough” reflects reality. “Enough” gives us a well-rounded perspective, encompasses a spectrum, keeps us in check. “Enough” helps bring us to what I consider an ‘ideal state’: head in the clouds & feet on the ground.

Otherwise, we human beings have this pesky tendency to habituate, to compare up, to take things for granted, and fall into the bottomless pit of entitlement. ‘Nothing but the best’ can (and does, as I’ve seen it) spoil us.

Seems like sound advice. (Source.)

Seems like sound advice. (Source.)

So I leave you with “enough”, as a suggestion. Wish yourself enough instead of ‘the best’. Wish enough onto others. Swap out the vocab – swap out the sentiment – and see where it leads.

Humbly,
~ H

What do you think? Is moving towards wishing for ‘enough’ something that you agree with, or is this all crazy-talk? Do you see any applications in your experience? Any ‘exceptions to the rule’?

Connected:
Ivan Illich – To Hell With Good Intentions
Nurture vs. coddling – on a.musing.
How to make everyday great

~ ~ ~

* In curating my inputs over time, I’ve amassed quite a few online resources that inspire me to spontaneously reflect, question, rethink, pause, innovate and integrate. I’ve designed these habit triggers into my everyday, via all my social media channels. My Twitter feed, Facebook news feed, Instagram roll, Tumblr dashboard… each constantly delivers value and interesting content whenever I log on — it’s a cross-pollination haven. I have The Idealist on Facebook to thank for the discovery of this little tidbit.

It’s never the right time

Always Earned | Never Given

Image source: bonusbling.com

We’ve all been guilty of wishing away our time away at some point or other. Wanting, yearning… but never quite getting – something else, something better.

We look forward to the vacation. Graduation. The next stage. The next project. Life after I quit this job. Life after I get a job. When I meet “that someone”. When the kids are old enough. The new year.

*Bubble-pop* There is no perfection period in life where everything just gets easy. I think if you really want it, it’s worth the work. (I feel the need to add: I’m popping my own bubble on the daily. “The Good” and “The Bad” are two sides of the same coin.)

“But…” “That’s a nice thought, but I’m just too ____ right now”. Busy. Cash-strapped. Over-stretched. Under-rested. (Fill in your bit here.) “However” is just a fancy but.

I’ve been lucky – making my way down an unconventional path sans “typical” time & resource constraints, I’d made it easier for my brain to break down (and rebuild) ingrained thinking and monotony by breaking out of routine. No longer a full-time student or employee, now living the life of a freelance / contract worker, I began figuring out this thing called life and how it works for me. And yet it didn’t all just magically come together. (What the hell, life? Didn’t you get the memo?…)

The grass is always greener… It’s like being an adult watching kids that wished they were grown-ups and shaking your head thinking “if you only knew…” (how good you have it / what it’s really like, etc.). In my case, “be careful what you wish for” couldn’t be more true. My life is full of peak highs & deep lows. I won’t bring you through the full roller-coaster today, but I will share the terrifying realization I came to a few months back:

I’m holding the reigns.

For the first time ever, I am actually fully autonomous in the education & career realm of my life. No-one to congratulate – or blame – but myself. Let me tell you, after years in school and work, being truly responsible for everything, including how to spend the majority of my day — is equal parts incredibly awesome and completely petrifying. And it shone the spotlight on a fact that was true all along – what I wanted to be doing, but wasn’t yet (fill in your blank here) had more to do with me than I let on; it wasn’t my situation “holding me back”.

The Lesson
Don’t romanticize. Even if external situations change dramatically, the situation we want to break out of (that uneasiness) can stay the exact same. Common denominator? Us. More specifically, our habits.

So, action plan?

> Start today
Start small, but start. Define “enough”. Define what you even want. Figure out why. Make a plan. Then start.

It doesn’t have to be a massive overhaul. You don’t need to quit your job / drop out of school / sell all your possessions and run away. Life doesn’t work like that for everybody. What does work is mastering the art of tiny shifts. These are actually the most powerful and sustainable. Check out Professor BJ Fogg’s work on tiny habits – you can start this today. It’s free. It barely takes any time. No excuses.

Don’t put it off until school starts. Or until school ends. Not until you land that job. Not until you put a few more years into that job. Don’t earmark it for your birthday, or for the start of the month, or the new year, or the next season. Don’t wait until you have that vague “enough”.

> What is enough?
Define it. I mean, really DEFINE IT. Put pen to paper and write it out: time, money, contacts, knowledge, experience. Even if it’s fuzzy, it’s better than nothing. If that’s all you can muster right now – well, then that’s enough.

> Next steps
Get creative. Get ruthless. How can you start moving towards some of those things starting this week? Break it down. Focus on what you have instead of what you lack. Make it happen. Again, Fogg’s tiny habits are great as baby steps.

An example
> My spending has been, let’s say, lean for the past few months. Other than essential bills (mortgage, smartphone, internet at home, groceries, transit pass, student loan repayments, etc.) I’m pretty thrifty. In short: I can’t afford Bikram Yoga rates.
> I love the practice, and feel it’s on the cusp of want / need — tipping to need. What to do?
> Trade the currencies I am rich in, even when the bank account is lean – time and talent. Toss in a case of right place, right time (mixed with a bit of hustle, and the all-important step: ask) – I brought regular practice into my life without spending a cent.

~~~

Whatever your goal, whatever your style (chip away at it or take a grand leap) – just do it already.  Often the biggest thing standing between that “right time” and the present moment: you owning it.

So the liberating thing about it never being the right time?

It’s actually always the right time.

It’s now and it’s never. “Now” is usually much more exciting…

Humbly, ~ H

The big dots of the post

“Always” takes work. “Never” is easy. The former is worth it, and easier than we think sometimes.
 Today is as good a day to make it happen. Don’t keep waiting for that mythical “right time” — it’s not something that anyone is handed on a silver platter.
Baby step #1 counts every bit as much as a huge leap towards making “it” happen.
Create an environment & situation that helps you get to where you’re trying to go. Start in your head. Work outwards from there.

What have you been putting off for “someday”? Have you ever explicitly defined “enough”? If you care to share, I’d love to hear it.