I got up early to get crankin’ on some of this self-help book I’m writing for one of those guru type guys. The good thing about writing a book intended to motivate people and change their lives is that I kinda get wrapped up in the energy of it all. But I also get wrapped up in the seriousness and preachiness of it. Is “preachiness” a word? Well, I’m making it one.
What I have to remember is that, while I’ve been up since 6:00 a.m. writing about how you can delegate this and free up your time and how to measure and define happiness, the rest of my family has not. They wake up, well, cranky and all they want to do is stumble downstairs, sleepy eyed, and plunk down in front of the TV or with their Nintendo DSs, and wake up slowly. My wife doesn’t want to wake-up at all. And me? I’m on my 2nd cup of coffee and I’m all “up with people” and “life is what you make it” and all I get in return is, “Dad …breakfast is what you make it. I want a dip egg.”
One thing about “motivational writing” is that you’re supposed to employ a trick where you take a regular, every-day, common experience and use it to uncover an “a-ha moment.” Sometimes writers go big, and they compare our work-a-day lives to the great tales of achievment throughout history, or to the Grand Canyon and the hourly, daily, monthly, yearly, and millions of years of flowing water that carved it, and you and I are supposed to be all, like, “oh, totally, I just need to be consistent like the flowing river …always moving forward, never stopping, and eventually my life will be a deep, cavernous, ravine.” Or something.
So how would I put “waking up early” and “waking up slowly” and “writing” and “annoying” into a single parable or lesson?
Maybe I go with the idea that kids know what happiness is and unlike us grown-ups, they aren’t afraid to do exactly what makes them happy: a lazy morning, some cartoons or video games, and an egg and toast (prepared by Dad). The take-away line would be “find your source of happiness and start there.”
Or maybe I could go with the Grand Canyon and how, over the thousands of years and decades, the path it eventually carved wasn’t it’s only path. I could look up and probably find out that hundreds of miles away are the fossils and evidence of another canyon, and there was a river twice as large as the Colorado River and for some unknown reason, it dried up. The take-away would be “it’s OK if one path you follow and put all your energy into, one day, isn’t as exciting as it once was and you completely change course and try something new. It’s what the Colorado River did and look how that went.”
And to each of those, you the readers are supposed to be, like, “wow …I’m going to go annoy my family with my positivity but I’m going to help them realize how great life can be.”
So now I need to leave you with a take-away from this blog, I guess. I’m leaning towards the first lesson – that kids know “happy” and “happiness” and we grown-ups introduce all sorts of worry (debt) and uncertainty (trust in people, a job working for someone) into our lives and we lose track of what truly makes us happy. It’s not the paycheck or the things we bought on credit that make us happy, it’s the time it buys us to get back to doing that thing we truly love: sleep-in, get up and watch cartoons all morning, and not-be-annoyed by anyone or anything.
See? You’re inspired, right?
With that, I’m going to go grab one of my kids’s Nintendo DS devices, make myself another cup of coffee (no, not with the DS …it doesn’t make coffee …maybe I’ll make coffee, then sequester the DS device), and play some New Super Mario Brothers.