“…imagine the generous outcomes…”

Photo Thanks to Evan Wise

Photo Thanks to Evan Wise

I’ll be away from writing original content for a couple weeks. We welcomed our new son the other day, and in lieu of posts, I’ll offer a quote of the day. To anticipate that, here is a post by Seth Godin whose good work you can find here.

Depth of field

Focus is a choice.

The runner who is concentrating on how much his left toe hurts will be left in the dust by the runner who is focusing on winning.

Even if the winner’s toe hurts just as much.

Hurt, of course, is a matter of perception. Most of what we think about is.

We have a choice about where to aim the lens of our attention. We can relive past injustices, settle old grudges and nurse festering sores. We can imagine failure, build up its potential for destruction, calculate its odds. Or, we can imagine the generous outcomes we’re working on, feel gratitude for those that got us here and revel in the possibilities of what’s next.

The focus that comes automatically, our instinctual or cultural choice, that focus isn’t the only one that’s available. Of course it’s difficult to change it, which is why so few people manage to do so. But there’s no work that pays off better in the long run.

Your story is your story. But you don’t have to keep reminding yourself of your story, not if it doesn’t help you change it or the work you’re doing.

Try Great Things

One day the teacher, Frederick Wilkerson, asked me to read to him.  I was twenty-four, very erudite, very worldly.  He asked that I read from Lessons in Truth, a section which ended with these words: “God loves me.”  I read the piece and closed the book, and the teacher said, “Read it again.”  I pointedly opened the book, and I sarcastically read, “God loves me.”  He said, “Again.”  After about the seventh repetition I began to sense that there might be truth in the statement, that there was a possibility that God really did love me.  Me, Maya Angelou.  I suddenly began to cry at the grandness of it all.  I knew that if God loved me, then I could do wonderful things, I could try great things, learn anything, achieve anything.  For what could stand against me with God, since one person, any person with God, constitutes the majority?

That knowledge humbles me, melts my bones, closes my ears, and makes my teeth rock loosely in their gums.  And it also liberates me.  I am a big bird winging over high mountains, down into serene valleys.  I am ripples of waves on silvery seas.  I’m a spring leaf trembling in anticipation.

From Maya Angelous’s Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now