Friday, April 29, 2011

Something Old, Something New

Magic KingdomSomething Old, Something New

When’s the last time you saw something completely new and different. Most of our lives are spent seeing and doing the same things, over and over. They may be habits, they may be routines, they may be old friends, they may even be a favorite pair of shoes. You grow accustomed to the look and feel of these things and they help fill the days of your life. But something completely new? Not so often.

Last week I went to visit a good friend – a guy I’d known for more than 40 years. We’ve stayed close and shared many things even though at times we’ve lived a continent apart. While there I went walking in his little New England town and when I got to the main corner on Main Street, I waited for the light to cross. And when I had the green light I started across in the same old way all of us have crossed every street throughout our lives. And out of the corner of my eye I noted (but didn’t really recognize) that others were walking diagonally.  It was so different, so outside my frame of reference that I just blocked it out as a figment of some part of my imagination. But when I got to the opposite side and had to again cross to where I ultimately wanted to go, I didn’t move when the light changed – I watched. And what I saw was so completely different, so absolutely foreign to everything I’d been taught and done for 60 years, that I almost couldn’t believe my eyes. I was the only one heading in a straight line – everyone else was happily, contentedly and determinedly (is that a word) walking on the diagonal. I actually waited for three light changes to confirm and realize what I was seeing. And if I hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t have believed it.

And that’s the story of our lives. New things are hard to see and recognize and believe because they’re not how we’ve always done something or we’re comfortable with the things we do and don’t really want to change or we just can’t think outside the box like that. But that doesn’t make what we do right or what the new things represent wrong. They’re just different and if we want to grow and be challenged and improve the world around us, then change is a good thing. And in order to change, we’ve all got to be open to the new things we see and experience. And then consider whether those new things would, could or should be good for us. I know that’s not easy – hey, I had trouble stepping off that curb and finally walking on the diagonal to get to the other side of that New England street - but I did and boy am I proud of that. And now look at me – I can’t stop telling anyone and everyone about this new thing I saw and learned. I feel like a kid in a new class or in a new store or with a new bike. I can’t wait to try it again. And I will now be on the lookout for the next new thing that comes into my peripheral vision. And I highly recommend that you start looking too.

My quote and message this week are about trying hard to achieve new and grand things:
Arte Nathan 
“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”  -Walt Disney

Imagine starting as an illustrator, coming up with a character that’s a mouse, making animated movies, and ending up with a magic kingdom. Sounds like fun. Seemed impossible.  Not.  It’s Walt Disney.

Will you try to do something impossible today? And will it be fun? Impossible doesn’t mean it’s really impossible – it might just mean that it’s something nobody’s done before or that it hasn’t been done exactly like that before. It’s great to look at everything you do and see if you can improve upon it or make it more of what people really want and expect or do it in colors and styles that are a bit different. It’s exciting to change things just enough that it gets everyone’s attention or makes them look at something in a new way or to have them see or feel or taste it again for the first time. We can’t all be a Walt Disney and create a whole new genre but each of us can do things just a little bit better. And if everyone did that with everything every day, think how exciting and fun life would be. So look for something impossible that you can do or improve upon today and make it great and grand and exciting and have fun doing it!

Stay Well!

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