The Power of “What I Can Do” Now

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I read the The Power of Now some time ago and have been watching with some amusement at the level of activity surrounding Oprah’s embrace of Tolle.

Years ago I purchased a Tony Robbins tape set. I wonder if he still does the Unleash the Power(?) series? All I remember is a grinning giant in a helicopter on an island. “Yeah, I want all that [stuff].”

I’m left thinking that a balanced approach to the present and action is called for in my life.

I think Kent Thune is onto something in his post at the newly renamed “the Change blog.” He shares the following quote to start.

“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.”
Henry David Thoreau

In another article back on Kent’s blog, the Financial Philosopher, he starts..

“All truly wise thoughts have been thought already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, till they take root in our personal experience.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

So where do we go with all of this? I think there’s significant truth to being here ‘now.’ Dwelling in the past or future seldom yields more than a fleeting warm memory but can often create hours of unease. It’s the action that I take now that makes me whole.

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What Really Matters

In an article over at Pick the Brain, Jonathan Mead writes

One simple fact divides effective and ineffective people: effective
people spend the majority of their time working on important rather
than urgent things.

It’s an age old problem, what should I do now? I’ve spent decades with various planning systems and daily planning tools for business and my personal life. Some rely on ageless technology like paper and pen while others give me an excuse to buy PDAs, laptops, and software. I always love the chance to buy a new toy under the guise of “productivity.”

Alas, none of them have helped me decide what I should hope to accomplish. They merely help me keep track of what I wrote down earlier in the heat of a busy moment or brief daily brainstorm. I find that if I work from, manage, and update my list I am one thing — effective at working my list.

However, Jonathan has touched several items that truly help in choosing “what” to put on my list. It comes in at #3 on his list, but adding value is an absolute requirement in my planning these days. While he leaves it generally open to adding value for “myself or others,” I have to flip that equation and look at the value my work provides others first and to myself second.

Unfortunately, I always find that grande soy latte (or in my case that boring venti decaf no-room) “seems” valuable to me when I’m having it. But in almost every case that I’m adding value for a customer, my family, a co-worker, a manager, a friend, or even a complete stranger I leave that task feeling better about the day and my accomplishments.

It might be a random act of kindness, a quick hello by phone or the completion of a work project.   If it touches someone else in a positive way it’s a mark in the daily ‘important’ column.

I still have to do all the other things that keep the bills paid, food in the fridge, and the lights on, but that’s where some of Jonathan’s other points ring true as well.

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