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POPEYETHETURTLE's Photo POPEYETHETURTLE SparkPoints: (218,041)
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7/4/07 12:49 A

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Thank you for all the thank you's.

Like I mentioned, this one bowled me over. Being a former controlling Type A personality (OK, I still slip into that mode occasianally - well, no more then half the time), I absolutely hated to lose at anything.

This article gave me a lot to ponder on. A Strategic Surrender or withdrawal allows you to focus your energies on those battles you can win. For me, a lot of them have to do with personal issues.

I can choose to fight them constantly, or I can choose to let them go.

Bob

"A government big enough to give everything you want is also big enough to take everything you have."
-Ronald Reagan

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LESLIEJEAN43's Photo LESLIEJEAN43 Posts: 26,999
7/3/07 6:02 P

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Thanks for this, Bob!
It happens to be very timely for me to remember this.
It also reminds me of what I learned when I was learning to sail: that when the wind is very strong, and you just can't fight with the tiller and the sheet any more, if you just let go of everything, the boat will right itself and head into the wind----no more fighting.
There are a couple of issues in my life I am in the process of letting go, so this is an excellent reminder!
Leslie emoticon

"Any idiot can face a crisis. It's the day-to-day living that wears you out."
---Anton Chekhov



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SOPHIE17's Photo SOPHIE17 Posts: 1,158
7/3/07 10:08 A

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Good one Pops.
It reminds me of htat phrase "pick the ditch you are going to die in." I once told a very driven person that and he said, "that's fine if you plant to die in a ditch, I don't plan to die in any ditch". I think he had a control issue. Anyway thanks for sharing.

"You must do the thing you think you cannot do." -E. Roosevelt


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WOWEETOO's Photo WOWEETOO SparkPoints: (170,971)
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7/3/07 9:54 A

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hey jane hello this morning for sure!!!!!

TODAY IS LIFE THIS IS NOT A DRESS REHEARSAL

there is no cause when there is no effect km

i can do that, but not on a tuesday
for that is my day of thrust in the opposite direction -
off the starboard bow
over the hurdles,
and down the shute.

last is just the slowest winner. c.hunter boyd

people often say that motivation doesn't last. well neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily. zig ziglar

if i stitch fast enough do


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MAMAKENT's Photo MAMAKENT Posts: 7
7/3/07 9:26 A

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Thanks so much for sharing this. It was very timely and really hit home for me. Take care!

-CK-


 
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JBSLIMMER Posts: 121
7/2/07 11:32 P

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That was great! I made copies and sent it to my children, my friends and my relatives! Thank, thank you
Jane

 
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TBEAR6's Photo TBEAR6 Posts: 1,819
7/2/07 6:39 P

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thats awesome.....i will be thinking about that for awhile!

Keep going.....giving up is not a option


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PJBEAR9 Posts: 630
7/2/07 6:26 P

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An excellent article!
The ONLY thing that you control is your actions and reactions.I can't remember where I read that quote, but it has stayed with me and guided me for many years.It sounds so simple yet it is SSSOOO powerful.
A long time ago, a friend of mine was seeing a counsellor who was a very positive and practical man.One of the mental excercises he taught her, she shared with me.Here goes:
In front of you is a box.Inside the box are many items, all wrapped up.You take out the first item, unwrap it and carefully consider it.You then ask yourself if the item truly belongs to you or someone else.If it belongs to someone else, you do not put it back inside your box.You continue until you are so tired you just can't bring yourself to unwrap any more items.Careful consideration can be extremely draining!!
The lesson here is to take ownership of your own issues and ONLY your own issues.While you may not be able to return the "item" to its rightful owner, you lessen your burdens a great deal.You keep only what really belongs to you.
This excercise is very helpful especially for those of us who have the dreaded "Disease To Please".
At first, it's super hard to discern your issues from those you have taken on for whatever reason.It gets way easier with practice and becomes almost automatic. I have shared this with many people and it sure makes you sit and think.
That is how I came to understand actions and reactions, and I hope many of you will, too.I did an amazing amount of "housecleaning"~~I terminated relationships that were draining me.I now think for myself and not for someone elses "good", especially if it is detrimental to me.Still, I am compassionate and sometimes even empathetic, but I have learned to give only what I can while I still remain true to myself.I genuinely like the person who looks back at me in the mirror.
That simple exercise was a milestone in my life.The elevator went to the top floor~~FINALLY!!



Yesterday is gone
Tomorrow is yet to be
Today I live


 
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LIVE4JOY's Photo LIVE4JOY SparkPoints: (0)
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7/2/07 3:47 P

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Very good article, Popeye. Accepting change, and using our minds to determine what is the 'winnable' fight and what is worth letting go - just super powerful thoughts. Presented practically, so that we can see ways to use them for ourselves.
Also what is good about this article is that it pinpoints fears that nearly ALL people have, and so its really something to digest, for everyone. Good job!
:) Michelle

 
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KUTEY504's Photo KUTEY504 Posts: 10,708
7/2/07 3:14 P

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That is good. hope I can put it into use

Tamela G. Benjamin


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7/2/07 2:40 P

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again..just the message i needed for today..thank you so much!!! mary

TODAY IS LIFE THIS IS NOT A DRESS REHEARSAL

there is no cause when there is no effect km

i can do that, but not on a tuesday
for that is my day of thrust in the opposite direction -
off the starboard bow
over the hurdles,
and down the shute.

last is just the slowest winner. c.hunter boyd

people often say that motivation doesn't last. well neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily. zig ziglar

if i stitch fast enough do


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POPEYETHETURTLE's Photo POPEYETHETURTLE SparkPoints: (218,041)
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7/2/07 2:06 P

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I subscribe to the Nightengale-Conant newsletter. They send out motivational information that I usualy find smacks me up alongside the head. Todays article was one that nearly bowled me over.

The Art of Strategic Surrender
By Joe Caruso
© 2007 Nightingale-Conant Corporation

The key to the happiness, success, and power that we're looking for is not to win every battle ... it's to learn how to identify which battles are truly winnable and which aren't.

"The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it," said Marcus Aurelius in the second century A.D., and it's a statement that's as true today as it was then. We, as well as everyone and everything around us, are in a constant state of change, and yet, change is what most of us fear most in life. It's our thoughts about change, however, not change itself that cause our problems. And our fear of change is directly related to our need to maintain the illusion of control.

Our fears and insecurities make us feel as though we need to win each and every battle we face. Yet even the greatest military leaders of all time would tell us that this approach is the surest way to lose the bigger war. The key to the happiness, success, and power that we're looking for is to learn how to identify which battles are truly winnable and which aren't. What can we control and what do we have no control over? Then spend our precious time and energy only on those things we can control. I call this The Art of Strategic Surrender.

How many people do you know who are clinging to unproductive ideas and attitudes, dead-end jobs, or moribund relationships simply because they fear what might happen if they just let go and moved on? What we've got is known, even if it's less than ideal; what we don't have is the unknown and, therefore, fraught with danger — or so we think.

What we really need to figure out is twofold: whether what we're clinging to is really within our control and, if it is, whether it is actually serving us well. If the answer to either of those two questions is "no," then we need to let go of it.

The truth of the first part of that statement was demonstrated to me very clearly when I was a sophomore in high school. I very much admired our Spanish teacher, Mr. Garcia, who was strict but fair, with a great sense of humor and enormous patience for his less-than-linguistically-talented students.

One day, for some reason that was a mystery to us, he was late for class. The door was locked and all 28 of us were waiting for him in the hall when someone got the bright idea to jam the lock with the point of his pencil just to see what would happen when Mr. Garcia finally arrived. But if this wise guy thought he'd blow his stack, he was about to be bitterly disappointed.

When he got there, Mr. Garcia apologized for being late and proceeded to try to fit his key in the lock. When he realized it was jammed, he simply put away his key, took out his Swiss Army Knife, and began whistling quietly to himself as he worked the lock. He got it open in no time, let us all in, and started on the day's lesson as if nothing had happened.

Admiring his cool and wondering what he was really thinking, I approached him after class. "Señor Garcia," I started out nervously. "I felt bad about the lock being messed with today."

"These things happen," he shrugged.

"Well, the reason I bring it up is that a lot of us were really surprised you didn't get angry. In fact, it didn't seem to bother you at all. So, I'm curious, were you just covering it up or were you really as unfazed as you seemed to be?"

"That's a good question, Joe," he replied. "But, you see, I have a rule in my life that I always try to follow. When something happens to me, it falls into one of two categories: Either I can do something about it or I can't. If I can, I need to gather myself together and do what I can. If I can't, then I need to accept that and focus on something I can do something about."

Mr. Garcia had made a clear distinction between things he could control and things he couldn't, and he used that distinction as a context for everything he faced in life. In effect, he'd defined the power of letting go. By doing that in this situation he'd also found his power as a teacher. He'd won the respect of the class and taught me, personally, a valuable lesson that would serve me the rest of my life. His distinction became a powerful context for me to use in even my most unhealthy and out-of-control times. In fact, his advice may have helped to save my life. Three years later, I was diagnosed with cancer. As I was struggling with the ravages of chemotherapy, I applied Mr. Garcia's advice to virtually every symptom, pain, and side effect. And in those times when energy seemed like a luxury, it was invaluable in helping me accept what I couldn't control and bring what little energy I had to what I could.

Taking the Plunge

Imagine for a moment that you're in a rowboat a mile from shore when the boat springs a leak. The bottom is quickly filling with water and the boat is about to sink. At this point you have three choices: You can stay with the boat and surely drown. You can jump out, abandon the boat, and swim for shore. Or, you can jump out and swim for shore, dragging the boat along with you.

Put in those words, the third choice sounds pretty ridiculous. But that's exactly what many of us do. We slog through life dragging along outworn ideas, false assumptions, and relationships that we've outgrown or worn thin, and all the while we're exerting a lot of effort. If you can picture all that stuff as so much useless baggage, I bet you'll also be able to see that it's no more than dead weight that's keeping you from moving through life as effectively as you would if you just let it go. In the sport of ballooning, it's ballast, or dead weight, that keeps the balloon on the ground. Once that ballast is jettisoned, the balloon begins to soar. Your own dead weight may take many shapes and forms — including people and dead-end relationships. If you let go of it, your hands will be free to grab opportunity when it arises.

It's difficult to let go of anything we define as valuable. Many people, for example, have trouble throwing things away. My advice to these people is to throw away everything in their desks, closets, garage, and so on that they haven't used in more than two years. But even that seems too difficult for some. To those people I suggest lovingly wrapping all those same items, carefully labeling the boxes, and storing them away so that after they die, their kids can throw them away.

That example may seem like something of a joke, but I use it simply to illustrate the fact that so long as we define anything as being in any way valuable, it's difficult for us to let go of it. That's why it's so important for us to clearly identify the cost of whatever it is we're holding onto. What does it cost us in time, energy, money, unhappiness, anxiety, and so on? We need to find a way to understand how the things we're holding onto might be preventing us from getting something else we really want.

Whether I'm speaking at a convention, to senior-level managers, to employees, or to a volunteer group, I always try to point out the responsibility we all have for making sure that the cost of having me there was worthwhile. I do this in a number of ways. First, I ask the participants to estimate the cost per hour, based on their salaries, of gathering everyone in that room. I then remind them that I'm the only one who is actually doing his job at the moment. In addition, I ask them to consider what I call the "opportunity cost."

The opportunity cost is the total cost of all of the opportunities we're all missing by being in that room. While I realize it's not possible to actually measure that cost, the suggestion helps people to recognize how expensive the meeting really is.

What I do with the participants in those meetings is very much like what we all have to do when we know we need to let go of something. We need to begin to evaluate the way we define that "something" with relation to what it costs us. Only once we recognize how expensive it is in terms of opportunity cost will we truly understand whether or not we can afford to hold onto it for the sake of habit, sentiment, or even old time's sake.

By the same token, it's also helpful to imagine the value of having what you want and realizing how good it will be to bring whatever that is into your life. For example, if you want to quit smoking, you might weigh the value of lighting up against the value of living to see your grandchildren. In other words, do everything you can to understand as fully as possible that the expense of your current reality may well be more than its worth.

Learning and mastering the Art of Strategic Surrender is invaluable in helping us learn to find the happiness, success, and fulfillment we're looking for in our daily lives. I also suggest that it's the smart person's answer to that age-old adage, "You can't win 'em all."




"A government big enough to give everything you want is also big enough to take everything you have."
-Ronald Reagan

Co-Founder, Dealing with Depression; www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/groups_individual.asp?gid=953

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