adaptation, Beliefs, dreams

Shaken and stirred.

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I like James Bond movies.

I think I am not alone in this department. A lot of men probably love him (and most women, too). They probably love the idea of him, more than anything else.

He embodies the alter-ego of almost every man on earth. I think every man secretly harbors thoughts of playing out a James Bond fantasy act at one point in their life or another – the fast, slick car that turns heads. The constant jetting in and out of countries. The object of desire of women wherever he goes. And more …

But it’s a dream for most men. Not all, I must add.

A dream to live for.

My son – Zachary (we call him Zach or Zachie) has made me aware of many lessons in life so for. I was made aware of another ‘life lesson’ over the last two weeks. Well, he had been trying to teach me something but I stubbornly and blindly missed it for two weeks and it was only yesterday that it dawned on me.

You see my son has just turned three years old recently and I have noticed that he had been quite rebellious over the last two weeks. Well, that’s how I viewed it. That was my perception of the behavioural changes I had noticed. He wouldn’t respond when called, sometimes, even after being called multiple times. He would blatantly disobey any requests that his mum or me would make of him. He would regularly, cheekily do the exact opposite. He would test our patience with many daily situations and raise our tolerance level for disobedience.

He was and still is ‘testing the boundaries’. He was challenging our authority, questioning the norm. Fair enough!

Children begin at a very young age to take control of their lives. Many children I suspect, just like mine, learn how to control their parents’ lives as well, long before they know how to talk in complete sentences.

Whining receives attention. Crying receives consolation. Begging begets goodies. Tantrums create havoc. It is easy to incite mummy against daddy and sit back and watch the show. Just like on TV!

All relationships have a ‘power and control’ button and just like the tide of the sea, ever-so constant, the ‘ebb and flow’ represent the delicate balance of the ‘give and take’ of the relationship.

It is the life-blood of all good long-term relationships. Learning to be a better master at managing this skill is essential to any relationship.

Anyways, I have finally learned the life lesson he was trying to make me aware of and this is where James Bond comes in. You see, James Bond always states the way he likes his martini drink, saying “shaken, not stirred’. That’s the way he likes it.

Sufficient and appropriate for that particular type of drink but not the best option when it comes to life.

Zachary’s inquisitive and rebellious behaviour these last two weeks was one that not only shook but he also stirred it. Hard. With no fear. Without order. No systematic approach adopted here. Nope!

He questioned the status quo. He challenged the way we were doing things. Our current beliefs.

You see it got me thinking about life. This is a very important practise for everyone in life: To question over-riding theory and paradigm of the day. To question where you’re headed in your life. To reflect on the life you have lived so far, to learn whatever you can from the mistakes and failures you have experienced. But, it is the future and how you will live it that is of paramount importance.

Nope, it is your dream and idea of the future you would love to live  – now, this is what is of paramount importance.

You can only do this by firstly, questioning your philosophy in life, in particular, questioning your ‘belief systems’ that got you to this point in life. It is your belief systems – consisting in part of, your values and principles you adhere to in your daily life, it is this that is the compass that guides you. Your GPS as you chart your course through the sea of life.

As Captain of your ship.

That is exactly what my son Zachary was doing. He was questioning, through his actions and behaviour, the limitations of ‘the way we did things’ with regards to certain areas in our life (eating with his hands rather than use his utensils). He was questioning the relevance and the basis of certain beliefs we adhered to. His inquisitiveness and zest for life was stretching the boundaries we had placed on him. He was, in effect, challenging the ‘status quo’. Rocking the ship.

And its ok. It is vital. For him. For us as a family. Asking questions and thinking of alternative solutions is vital to our country. Our world. It is through this questioning attitude that new beliefs are spawned. New ideas created. Ideas, when implemented, results in innovation. Innovation that leads to better life – better education; better health; better communities; better relationships; better quality of life.

A Better attitude to life.

I guess, just like any child his age, it is their imagination that drives them. Belief systems have not been imprinted on their brains yet. Belief systems have a significant impact on an individual’s life and how he/she turns out in adult life and goes as far as where he/she ‘ends up’ in life.

It is your GPS for your life.

Your thought patterns (on self-image, on self-esteem, on self-worth etc), your daily deliberate practices (habits); your character (the ‘essence’ of who YOU are) and ultimately – your ship’s course (destiny/destination) in life is dictated by your GPS (your belief system/philosophy).

To change direction of your ship. To change course, you have to re-set your GPS. You have to re-set your belief system, especially, if it has negative consequences in your life. Beliefs that inflict ‘self-imposed’ limitations on your daily life. Beliefs that were imprinted in your brain when you may have been a child, without you having a choice in accepting it. Before you could choose. These beliefs may have been im-printed by people that had some influence over you in your child-hood – your parents, your grand-parents, uncles, aunties, friends and friends of families, teachers in Primary School, coaches. You name it.

It can be quite daunting to consider all the possibilities and probabilities of risk of each relationship and the impact each had on you and your belief systems. Yes, it can be. But, it still needs to be done if you intend to reach your potential in life and chart your ship in to un-chartered waters. To discover the Captain Cook in you. You need to question their relevance, just like Captain Cook questioned the prevailing belief that the earth was flat all those centuries ago.

The risk of you not doing anything about it is far, far greater to how you live the next phase of your life, especially, the new destination you will Captain your ship to. Your new course in life.

The life you hoped for. The life you imagined.

Its never too late to sit down and write down what your philosophy of life is. What are some of your beliefs? What influence does it have on your daily actions and decisions? Be warned though – you will ‘rock your boat’. This may be a period of genuine unhappiness as you discover many things about your engine of life ( your mind) that was hindering your course through life. You will effectively be doing what my son, Zachary was doing these last two weeks. What he reminded me about some of the important things of life:

  1. To ask questions.
  2. To question authority.
  3. To rock the boat.
  4. To challenge the ‘status quo’.
  5. To pick-apart belief systems.
  6. To ask ‘why not?’.
  7. To be able to choose beliefs that contribute to life – your life, not take away from it.

In life, we all need to periodically ensure that at various stages in life, in particular, as we enter and leave major phases of life, we need to review that our GPS – our beliefs at that point in life, be questioned. We need to question their relevance. Why? Because beliefs, whether you’re aware of it or not, generates what happens in your life. You need to stop continuing believing what does not serve you. What may have been relevant for survival as a toddler or as a teenager or when you were in your twenties, may not be relevant in your forties or post-retirement.

A wise man once told me that if you continue to think and act in the same way, you will continue to get the same result in life.

Change your thinking – change your life.

The foundation of this can be only be done through beliefs analysis. And we know how important a good foundation is to any building or construction work to keep it up and steady.

A relatively easy way of doing this is assessing the impact each belief has on you and your life, once you’ve listed your top ten down on paper. It takes a lot of courage just to do this. Don’t be scared.

We need to re-imprint new, relevant beliefs into our minds. We need to upload a new, improved GPS on to our brains. To help make us better Captains of our ships in the sea of life. As one of the greatest men that ever lived once said:

“The same thinking that has led you to where you are is not going to lead you to where you want to go.”Albert Einstein.

We need to become a child again. Imagine more, like Einstein encouraged. Imagine better but also imagine responsibly.

Reminds me of what my local parish priest told me and my wife once as I embarrassingly admitted to him one morning that I didn’t get the message of parable that was enacted by children on the alter during mass.

He simply said: “Son, it was about stirrers. The world needs more stirrers. Go ahead and stir!”.

I looked over at my beautiful wife, smiled and thanked the priest. My wife insists that I am the biggest stirrer she has ever known. True. But so is James Bond. Oh well, I’ll have to leave that one for another blog.

In the meantime, you need to ensure that at various legs of your charter and captaincy of life, that your consumption of the ‘fluid/drink of life’ is –

…. Shaken and stirred! Very un-like James Bond.

But, that’s perfectly alright. Some dreams are not realistic anyway. Accept it.

That’s life.

Bottoms up!

Thank you, Zachary.

Until next time,

p.s.. thank you too for reading this far … I hope you’ve got some value from this blog.

 

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