Saturday, December 19, 2009

An Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Computer...

I picked up a copy of Jack Canfield's book The Success Principles several months ago. I knew I needed a little kick-in-the-pants inspiration that only he seems to be able to provide. Lots of other authors/life coaches and motivational speakers do what Jack does, but for some reason I seem to relate to his philosophies better than others. He's pretty no-nonsense and I like that kind of approach.

So, I bought the book with the best of intentions. The only problem is, the book sat on my counter for months. I was sidelined by something else each time I thought about reading it. I was looking for the perfect time with the perfect setting to sit down, engulf myself in positive vibes and ponder the infinite ways of success. Before I began, I wanted to eliminate all other outside factors competing for my attention, figuring I needed some quality reading time to contemplate his message. Considering I have a husband, two rambunctious boys, a dog in desperate need of attention, a household to run and various volunteer activities to fulfill, my alone time is at an all-time low. I get up two hours before anyone else does every morning just so I can exercise and do my crossword puzzles in peace.

Even though I couldn't find the time to read Jack's book, I still managed to peruse lots of magazines and school papers and newsletters. I read newspapers and blogs. I created photo books on my computer, wrote a few essays here and there, updated my son's teacher's website, read some articles and other books on writing techniques and kept up with my email. I kept looking at Jack's book on my counter and kept feeling a twinge of regret. Was I procrastinating on purpose or did I really not have the time to read this particular book? Days passed. Months passed. The book sat idle.

My time had also been consumed with trying to fix some computer problems I was having. I wasn't able to find the source of the issues by myself, so I took the computer into the repair shop. A simple operating system restore seemed to repair what was most likely a computer virus infestation. After I got my computer back and spent several hours reinstalling software and getting it back to normal, my screen went blank and an ominous message appeared. "Hard disk failure is imminent! Please back up your hard drive and have it replaced."

I was confused by the message because after running initial diagnostics my hard drive was given a thumbs-up for good condition. Why was my hard drive failing now? Needless to say, my computer went back into the shop. And the hard-drive did indeed need to be replaced. I was told it might take up to a week to repair by the time the hard drive was ordered, delivered and installed. I felt a little lost as I contemplated seven more days without my computer. It was like imagining another week without using my right arm.

The next morning as I was pouring my first cup of coffee, I saw Jack's book out of the corner of my eye. Well, I guess now is as good a time as any to start reading this book, I thought. My computer was out of commission as was any excuse to delay reading what I intended to read months ago.

After reading the first few pages of the book I realized that the timing of my computer's hard drive failure and me starting to read the book was not a matter of coincidence, at all. I think the computer malfunction was a very clear, in-my-face, red-light-flashing sign that if I wasn't going to find the time to sit down and prioritize my to-do lists and start setting some goals, someone was going to find the time for me. I'm pretty good at making lists and following through with my to-do items when they concern everyone else, but I can become a procrastinator extraordinaire when it comes to focusing on me. Couple this awareness with the fact that a brand new year ripe with new beginnings is right around the corner and I can plainly see now that everything happens for a reason.

I knew when I bought the book that it would be the kick-in-the-pants that I needed. I was obviously not ready up until now to feel the brunt of Jack's steel-toed boot on my backside. He is very clear in the philosophy that one is 100% responsible for the life he or she leads. Period. I agree with him wholeheartedly and I do take full responsibility for my actions and my decisions. That is not at issue. The tricky part is figuring out what I want to do with my life (deciding what success means to me), setting goals to achieve that end result and following through. I won't bore you with the minutiae of my personal goal-setting, but I will tell you that I am taking the time now to focus on my future.

Message received. Loud and clear!

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