What if you can do This AND That?

Me hiking in the snow

I have spent the past decade living into the question, “What do I need to do to become a more well rounded man and human being?”

I knew I was living through the lens of having a consistent focus on growing myself emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

It’s more so now that I see the question that all along I’ve been answering over and over again.

This may sound altruistic or selfish. That perception depends on who you are and how you read this.

It’s a bit of both. I say both because there’s the element of “I want something out of this” and also, I want to bring greater value to those around me and in my world. They are not mutually exclusive.

I have often considered life through the lens of it’s this way or that way. There’s no middle. There’s no nuance. It’s binary. A world of extremes and limited options.

The beliefs I have lived from to simplify something as complex as life and all the expressions of it have proven to be a trap time and again. Life is full of nuance when are willing to look for it. Tom Chi, executive from Google, inventor and much more articulates this exceptionally well as he dives into the nuances of a fork in his YouTube video, “5 Mental Debugs for Success and Global Prosperity”.

While Tom speaks to nuance in great depth as he brings awareness about the traits and historical context of a fork, we don’t always need to look for that much nuance to navigate our lives. Our mind and schedule wouldn’t be able to handle it if we attempted to discover that level of nuance about everything.

It’s important to pay attention to nuance in the decisions that impact our lives and the lives of others. Without digging a bit deeper we could be unknowingly limiting our potential, the potential of another, or causing harm in some un-intended way.

A great place to start is seeing where we are living through the lens of binary thinking and not allowing deeper consideration of what we hold as ‘truth’. Often I have found myself assuming that when I want one thing, that automatically means I can not have, do, create something else that is equally or close in importance.

In some cases this is true. In some cases, having a clear distinction or decision about something is pertinent.

If I want to start a business, being a “yes” or “no” is important. Will I do it, or will I not?

If I want to leave my current job, being a “yes or “no” is important. Will I stay, or will I go?

If I want to be married, being a “yes” or “no” is important. Will I commit to that relationship or not?

Lack of decision and a specific answer for these examples can cause a lot of undue stress, financial, relational, and other challenges. Not being clear on these can be detrimental to our experience of life.

But, what about all the times where there is space for “I want this and that”?

As my friend and business coach constantly reminds me, “stand for the and”. Ask yourself, “what if I can have, do, create, be this, AND do, have, create, be that?”

What if I can build out a division in my company and have more time for my family while dedicating time to my favorite hobby, surfing?

What if I can enjoy more time for myself and continue to move up the management ranks within the company where I am employed?

What if I can run a profitable business part time while enjoying time racing cars and brewing beer?

The list of what ifs can go on and on. What I share above are only a few examples. What’s more important is looking at where we assume because we are focused on one thing, that another can not coexist with it.

With that discovery we can begin to use Tom’s example to dive into the nuances of each creating space for new ideas to emerge. One new idea or insight can alter the entire context of how you see your life and what is possible for it. From there, you, we, I, can make a decision on whether the answer is “yes” or “no” to what is available.

As you consider what I am saying above, ask yourself where you are not standing for the and.

This is something I have to slow myself down and ask repeatedly. With a full schedule, the ‘easy’ way is to skip across the pond’s surface like a stone, versus slowing down to see what decisions I am making without further consideration of what is important to me.

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