Potential energy

posted by Jeff | Sunday, April 8, 2012, 12:09 AM | comments: 0

I've been seeing the world a little differently lately. I generally accept that the world has constraints, and that those constraints cause you to get creative. Constraints are almost a good kind of barrier, that introduce challenge and might lead to more meaningful accomplishment.

But what if the constraints are largely the product of your own doing? I'm starting to think that I might invent a lot of my own constraints, that I think in a single dimension that causes me to believe that things are harder than they really are.

Let me explain where this is coming from. A friend of mine is about to make a leap similar to the one I did about two and a half years ago. Watching him do this, it brings back a flood of feelings and excitement that I experienced. I think some of it may have been obscured by the other major life event that came shortly thereafter (namely parenthood), but there was a kind of optimism there that I've never felt before.

Indeed it was a sense for the potential that my life had. Uncertainty brings with it a certain amount of fear, but if you've experienced enough of it, and have seen positive outcomes, the uncertainty starts to feel like limitless potential. That energy, I'm realizing, is like crack to me.

So my line of thinking, as of late, is that the potential for asskickery might actually be very high if I toss some of the self-imposed constraints I feel. For example, moving back to Cleveland was a decision based largely on financial constraints. Spending half of your income on living in two places sucks. Living in the place that symbolizes the very reason you left a place you liked is pretty awful too. When I look carefully at the constraint, I see it melting away. I see a path away from it that includes careful money management and improvement to the house that makes it more sellable.

There are other things, big and small, that I encounter every day. Look at my new fascination with tennis, for example. I used to put up all kinds of issues that prevented me from diving in to it, like being out of shape, not having time because I'm a dad and husband, or whatever. The constraints were made up. Remove them, and the potential is high. I could be pretty good at tennis.

It's a great lesson for me. Now, I ask myself what I truly want, and honestly challenge any constraint that I think gets in the way. If it's bona fide, I work it. If it's not, I toss it aside. It's funny how you can try and talk yourself out of things, and that's a waste of energy.

The world feels so full of potential right now. I wonder what I'll do with it.


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