Thursday, January 8, 2015

What's your plan for living?

“If you don’t design your own life plan, you’ll probably fall into someone else’s.  And guess what they have planned for you?  Not much.”  -  John Rohn

“Everybody has a plan 'til they get punched in the mouth.”  -  Mike Tyson

    I was sitting in a small pub/restaurant editing photos, and I couldn't help but overhear the conversation at an adjacent table.  A late-fifties looking man was holding court with an admiring group of twenty and thirty-something folks, regaling them with stories of his experiences working with the FBI.  I pretty much had him tuned out until he stated that the FBI had given them a four step plan that offers the best chances of success when being confronted with adversity.

     Of course, now he has my attention.  Surely the billions of tax dollars our government spends on such things is about to trickle down on me in the form of a golden nugget of wisdom.  Deftly tossing back a double Crown Royal and ordering another, he builds the suspense, talking about his time as an instructor at the FBI Headquarters in Quantico (at first I thought he said Guantanamo)  and how he too taught this formula.

     Presently, he unveiled this four part plan.  Step one:  Admit nothing.  Step two:  Deny everything.  Step three:  Question everything.  Step four:  Shift the blame.  He then proceeded in a practiced professorial tone to give his enraptured audience the skinny on how best to implement this plan for living, finishing his advice with a flourish as he knocked back and ordered still another double shot.

     I guess this might have been superior to what I had for many years – matter of fact I didn't have a plan for living for better than four decades.  I am sure that I stumbled upon different parts of this scheme at various times when I found myself on the hot seat, but never did I have it evolved into any coherent strategy of deception. 

    In fact, I never had any coherent plan for living until I was driven to one in my mid-forties.  This plan for living is also very specific – it gives exact details as to do when I am in a jam.  First, I am to relinquish the illusion that I have control over the situation.  Second, I am to recognize that seeking divine guidance has worked on many things for me before, and to decide that I am going to turn this situation over and do the best I can to do the right and proper things no matter what.  Then, I am to look at my part in the situation, and honestly assess what wrong or blame I had in it.  Then I am to seek counsel with a person I trust, and admit freely my role in the circumstance.  I am then to take steps to try to fully identify and remove whatever quirk that caused me to behave poorly in the first place, and finally I am supposed to “make things right.”

     On the surface, his plan looks so much easier.  “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!!” and all that rot.  Truth is, I lived those lies for a long time, and it brought me nothing but self-loathing and a heap of despair.  I finally had so many things pile up that it was easier to just withdraw from society than to risk facing the music over one or another of my self-deceptions.  And there is nothing quite like double shots to help one withdraw from society . . .

     What’s your plan for living?   Have you got one, and if so, do you use it?  What kind of future is it setting you up for?  It might be a far superior thing to ponder than wondering if one more piece of cake constitutes breaking our New Year’s Resolution – again.    

Today, may I live honestly.

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