A Decision To Stack The Deck In Your Favor

Sometimes you must take two steps back, to move forward.

you dont know the plan for you when you dive into life

Your decision ... step up and dive into the waters.

As Joseph Campbell said, “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

For some of us, this means that long-term unemployment will dictate not only tightening the belt, but also moving to a household with lower overhead. Or letting go of directing children toward what we think best, and allowing them the independence to make their own choices and experience consequences. It could also manifest as changing our marital situation to be released from chronically dysfunctional circumstances, and instead creating something healthier.

There may be a precipitating event that makes us give up on the plan we had for ourselves. It may be a moment of realization that the struggle in which we are engaged is the wrong battle; the best battle is not to hold onto the past, but to make a new life. Or the realization to change may build slowly, over time.

As I rode the stationery bicycle this week, I had the opportunity to catch up with a friend who was walking the treadmill nearby. She revealed her own life story, and the complexities of her journey, including a difficult marriage in Russia, caring for children and for aging parents, and turning in varying directions at different times.

At one point, she commented, she and her husband divorced over issues that plagued them. Among their issues: he visited his elderly parents every day, and in Russia, no one had cars to make this simple and quick. It took him away from the natal home until well after her son was tucked into bed.

I don’t mean to simplify; this was only one difficulty in a life full of challenges. But they divorced even though he loved her, and she could feel the love.

Then, a little down the road, he wanted to move to America, and he wished her to come with him. Believe it or not, they married again and decided to make the move.

Having immigrated, they began from nothing, without money, without personal connections, without knowing English, and without a roadmap for how to build a life. In fact, while they brought over their parents and raised two kids, in an astonishing turn, just as their younger son was about to exit home and head to college, she found the yearnings to start all over rearing children. They adopted an orphan girl from Russia, a feat requiring enormous patience as the teenager had been deprived for years.

The affairs of the heart can be very messy.

The affairs of the marketplace can also be obtuse. We don’t know whether we missed on the second round of interviews because of something we did, or because an employee had preferences for another candidate. We may think we are perfect for a job we seek, and then find we are dropped like a hot potato. We may be confronted with illness in a child for which there is no certain answer, and then be at a loss to determine the right path.  Maybe we didn’t ask for what comes our way, but there you have it, you face it without choice.

Yes, you need to give up on what you thought would be in store for you, because you are not really in control. Do what you can to stack the deck in your favor, and then step back and let your future unfold, amid a sense of optimism. Because what is coming to you will be good, if you make it so. And what is not coming to you, well, you don’t need anyway.

Mojo Moves

  • Strive to keep your sense of optimism. You were born with it, and it is a real treasure in turbulent times. Do not fall into the trap of negativity.
  • Research your options exhaustively when you face difficulties, and verify what you learn from a second source. Do not react in the moment. Think deeply,  and let your thoughts percolate a bit before opting for a path.
  • You may not know that you will be happier after your decision takes hold, but if you know that you are unfulfilled in what you have and it simply won’t get better, then wanting something else can fuel your decision to change things up. You deserve to lead a fulfilling life.

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons 2.0, Phil Dowsing Creative.

What decisions do you face, and how are you thinking them through?

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  • I’m Tired

    Every time I go for an interview or send in another resume for “the perfect job,” the outcome has been the same…I’m doing it again the next day while my savings are being depleted. So if I look at my search objectively, it’s taking entirely too long, regardless of why, but I take this as a sign that I need to make a major change before I am completely broke. Thus with the real estate market picking up, I am going to sell my home, downsize, and find a new opportunity without concern for the high overhead I am currently carrying. With a positive intention, this could be the best decision yet, because if the current situation persists, the result will be due to lack of action. Now is the time. Thanks for the perspective.

    • http://www.mojo40.com/ Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

      I know what you mean by a job search that is taking too long, and savings that are being depleted. Yet, I can see that you are incredibly matter-of-fact and governing by your wits, and surely that will keep you in good stead. I want to applaud and acknowledge your hard work, many lesser individuals would have given up (understandably) by now. Please know that as you make courageous decisions, I wish that good things will come your way, and you will experience the support and love of those around you. Thank you so much for writing in your comments, it helps us feel that this conversation is one to which we can all contribute.

  • Deb in DC

    What a brilliant posting!  Not only smart observations, but wise advice, in all facets of life:  professional and personal.  Thank you for starting everyone’s day off with clear eyed optimism and a sound road map to good decision making for a fulfilling life. 

    • http://www.mojo40.com/ Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

      Glad that you found it useful, Deb! Indeed, clear eyed optimism is a tool in every situation.

  • Nancyb37

    Very true we can’t control others, only ourselves. Thanks for this look which lent clarity.

    • http://www.mojo40.com/ Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

      You’re welcome.

  • http://sharonoday.com/ Sharon O’Day

    I didn’t lose everything due to the 2008 financial upheaval. Instead, I lost everything right after 9-11 because my business was too leveraged and I couldn’t “digest” a couple of clients going bankrupt. At the time, I down-scaled dramatically … from the supposedly perfect American Dream life. The peace of mind that resulted from that move gave me tremendous clarity … and opportunities that may have always been there suddenly were much more visible. Since then, despite turning my finances around entirely, I’ve made the conscious choice not to re-encumber myself with other people’s idea of what MY American Dream looks like.  The peace of mind I feel is too precious.

    • http://www.mojo40.com/ Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

      Sharon, thanks for sharing about your own choices, and the circumstances that led to making the changes. I can learn so much from you. I applaud your courage to look deeply and understand what motivates you. Wishing you only continued clarity, and calm. I hope one day to be there in that space, too.

  • Martha

    Thank you for this, Diane.  It’s nice to read something that’s just calm and sensible.  Here’s something else eminently sensible:  http://zenhabits.net/kill-time/

    • http://www.mojo40.com/ Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

      Martha, I am SO GLAD that you wrote in with a link to Leo Babuta’s post. It is really a gem. Yes, life is not a never-ending search for productivity. Life is for savoring, how very true! I am honored that my post called this other prose to mind…

  • Yukari

    Thank you Diane for this story. I enjoyed reading. When I face my life challenges, especially loss and changes, I try to see it as an opportunity to learn something new. It is easy said, but very hard to do. I keep telling myself that sometimes in life we need to close one door in order to open another one. This morning during my meditation, I got this image of an egg. It’s impossible for an egg to fly. In order to fly, a little bird has to crack and hatch–a big change of course. Only then, we can fly! Yukari

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