Sunday, May 03, 2009

How's your River of Life Running?


Earl Nightingale had a great recording, I think it was out of his "Lead the Field".

He talks about "River People" and "Goal People". The latter work incessantly toward a fixed goal, and the former swim in a river of interest.

Nightingale gave several examples of each.

It came to me gradually over the course of several days, that you really need to be working at what you like to do best - what turns your crank, what makes you happy, your passion, your purpose for your life.

For when you do that, you are just completely involved and no task is to onerous or too involved.

Some are incredible at merchandizing. Sam Walton of Wal-Mart, as well as the original J.C. Penney - where Walton got his earliest training in the field. Others are incredible at manufacturing, like Henry Ford. Some have logistics (UPS, Fed-Ex) as their bent - others work at computer programming (Microsoft, Apple). Some simply write entertaining and educational or enlightening stories.

But they have their "rivers" of interest which are ever flowing, never stopping currents which keep them fascinated all the time. I'm reading a story right now where a psychologist is fascinated with the mental ease with which Jesus met life - the human side of him was constantly intrigued with how people around him met life and how he could help them achieve their own peace by no more than talking with them.

In every life, there are the eddys and tidal washes, the still pools at the edge where a snag has slowed the current. When we seem to get into one of these scenarios, a person starts to question their life's purpose. Did they go wrong somewhere, is the way they are traveling still the right path for them?

In all cases, the action is still to reaffirm the river you are swimming in and then get back out into the faster current. As you do, you'll find your interest in life picks up and everything becomes far more enjoyable. Sure, there's lots of work, but it isn't a drugery, onerous, or taxing. You simply fly through your work, staying up late and then rising early - inspired by yet another idea.

For me, when I'm in that river, it's the point of constant inspiration - so much that I often mis-prepare breakfast (still edible, but oops...) or tend to space out in the middle of a TV program with some riveting notion turning in my head while I scratch notes onto a handy yellow pad. Yes, I was trying to catch the weather so I knew what I should be planning for over the next few days of farm work, but - oops...

Life in those times is fascinatingly smooth, cheerful, full of expectant ideas and solutions which appear just a moment after you get the question just right.

And as I write this, I'm bringing myself out of some sort of back-water eddy I had slipped into. Sure, I knew that this was an exploration when I started - but I didn't know that it was going to show me so much about my own interests and what I knew I really should be doing.

So - ask yourself these questions:
  1. If you didn't have to work for a living, what would you be doing all day?

  2. What activitie(s) bring you the most joy in your life?

  3. What situations have you been in where you found yourself remarkably calm, assured, content?
Answer these honestly for yourself. Take a few days or weeks or months to actually answer them if you have to.

Once you have those answers, cross-compare them to isolate what your true "river of interest" is. And then plan carefully to wrap up whatever you are currently doing, getting your replacement grooved in, and this new (or current) occupation really streamlined and financed and set up so you can devote yourself utterly to it from here on out. (Of course, you don't neglect your family and friends - but you'll find that they bring you part of this calming internal peace, don't they?)

For some this river is a series of goals achieved, one after the other, a new one starting as the last one is finished. But a river, nonetheless.

- - - -

And you can always leave me a message here or on one of my other blogs about how you've found your river and how to swim in it.

Or you can have your own blog - and post calmly, serenely, and actively. Posting all the things, ideas, activities which you find fascinating.

Good Hunting!