I presented some information last week in a tele-course about how to become a more confident decision maker by learning to listen to your intuition or gut instinct. Near the end of the course someone said, “Is there any quick and easy to way to begin using this information? I tend to think it’s great at the time, but then I forget what I’ve learned.” This is a very common problem – something that I call “workshop erosion.” It’s such a common phenomenon that I wrote an entire blog post about how to deal with it on April 30, 2011. In the tele-course, I gave some tips for keeping new learning viable, such as getting together on a regular basis with other learners to keep the conversation alive. The gentleman who asked the question was appreciative, but I think disappointed. What he really wanted were some “magic beans.”
Lots of people are looking for magic beans, and I certainly wish that I had some sometimes, but as far as I know, no such thing exists. Taking on new outlooks or habits takes time and effort, almost like developing a muscle, but I certainly understand the desire for magic beans. I’ve even wished for them myself from time to time. But as attractive as the quick fix might be, there is a real satisfaction that comes from working hard and then realizing the fruits of your labor.
That’s what happened to me last week – on my birthday, no less. It was on a Monday and so we celebrated a bit over the weekend before and then didn’t have too much planned for my birthday day. This type of thing used to really bum me out. Celebrating early means that the actual day of something is often anti-climactic. To top it off, my husband likes to give gifts early. He gets excited about what he’s picked out and very often can’t last until the formal celebration of something to give it to me. If it were up to him, no gifts would be left for Christmas morning. For years, I’ve grumbled and pleaded through early celebrations, hoping to change the way that they occurred, but this year was different. This year I woke up happy because something that I’d been learning about for a long time had finally clicked. I realized that even though I’d already had my party and my present, I could still give myself the birthday that I really wanted. I didn’t need to wait for my husband, or anyone else for that matter, to create a happy day for me. It was totally within my own control. I did go and have a massage that I’d booked but for the most part, it wasn’t about doing anything in particular, it was more about changing my outlook. I recognized that giving gifts early is what makes my husband happy, and that his happiness doesn’t have to mean that mine is diminished. I walked around all day thinking,”This is my special day.” I met with a client, did the usual chores at home and had a fairly uneventful Monday, but in my mind it was a special day because I decided that it was.
In a way, it was like having magic beans, because feeling that good about about not getting my way just sort of happened. But then I remembered all the years that I’ve been learning and practicing not having fulfillment come from the outside. I understood it intellectually, but it wasn’t until my birthday that I really experienced it firsthand in quite that way. Anything good is worth working for and I’m so glad that I made the effort and kept at it until it finally gelled. When at last it did, it felt like magic, and the kind that I can conjure any time I want – beans in hand or not. You can create magic in your life as well, and although I don’t have any quick fixes, I do have lots of tools for helping you to get there.