Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Climber or Surfer?

I have a beautiful, deep red rose on my desk in a plastic cup with water in it. The petals are starting to fold back and create the perfect, brilliant shape we associate with a rose.

I was marveling at the fact that the rose doesn’t seem to work at its beauty, it just is. I certainly understand that it took thousands of years to evolve to the point that it looks like it does, but I also know that in a generation or so man has cultivated this type of plant to look like we want it to look. But, it just doesn't seem to work at it.

The rose helps me understand that there are two ways to look at life: You work at it, or you don’t.

If you work at it life can be a constant struggle, or race, or climb, or whatever metaphor you want to use. Working at it means setting goals, planning and plotting, and celebrating small wins until, hopefully, you get the big win. If you do, great. If you don’t, it’s time to create more goals.

If you don’t work at it it means you kinda take what comes to you and ride the wave. The essence of this philosophy is learning to want/love what you have.

In fact, those two metaphors might be the best ways to think about life: you are either climbing a mountain or riding a wave. Both ways require balance, stamina, and the ability to find joy in the accomplishment and deal with loss.

Each philosophy seems to work, they just don’t work for everyone.

I’ll be the first to admit that most lives are a combination. But, just as some people are right-handed and others left-handed; and some people yell when happy while others simply smile, everyone has a dominant style.

Are you a climber or a surfer? Knowing which works for you can be a big help in your pursuit of happiness...and The Perfect Workday.

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