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Nuts, and the odds

“The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.” — Chinese fortune cookie.

I experienced this very thing when I went to Italy backpacking at age 56.

Everyone told me I was nuts. It was through this experience that I became a proud “nut.”

While there were moments that my comfort zone was stretched so far I wasn’t sure what would happen, all the gifts and wonders that lay outside that comfort zone became mine, and my life has never been the same. You can read about this life-changing experience in my book, “Two Nuts in Italy,” available on Kindle and Nook and in paperback on amazon.com. Numerous libraries around the country, including Ruby Sisson Library, have copies, too.

So, what are the odds? 10 to 1? 100 to 1? 1,000 to 1? Let’s look at some interesting odds taken from funny2.com.

Odds that you will fatally slip in the bathtub or shower: 2,232 to 1.

Odds that you will cut yourself shaving: 175 to 1.

Odds of winning an Olympic medal: 662,000 to 1.

Odds of dating a supermodel: 88,000 to 1.

Odds of dating a millionaire: 215 to 1.

Odds of finding out your child is a genius: 250 to 1.

Odds of winning an academy award: 11,500 to 1.

How about this one: What are the odds an apology will reverse the damage done? Apologies are nice to hear, but the damage is already done, so do they really do anything? Just something to think about.

For now let us focus on beating the odds of becoming a bona fide authentic nut: 1,000,000 to 1.

You may be asking, “Why go for something with such huge odds when you are much more likely to win an academy award, date a millionaire, or win an Olympic medal?”

Good argument, but in the grand scheme of things, your becoming a nut benefits the world , not just you. Basically what we are attempting to do is gain victory over ourselves, love ourselves, have a deep connection with ourselves and be the change we wish to see in this world , which comes easily when we are daily walking in the shoes of our true selves.

All those participating in this nutty endeavor are going against the odds, huge odds. A million may begin the journey of conquering their comfort zones or connecting with their authentic selves but the odds are that only one will complete it. Why? It takes courage and persistence against stiff odds. If you are on this journey, you are indeed one in a million.

Over the past few months you have narrowed your odds of success in the nut undertaking because you have persisted and conquered many a comfort zone challenge. If you still have the original copy of your 10 things that take you outside your comfort zone, you might bring it out and take a look. Have you made progress on 1 item on the list? How about all 10? If you have overcome even one of your 10 comfort zone stretchers, you are a member of the inner circle. Your actions have put you in control of the odds. Keep going and you will be a “game changer” as your example influences many. Every day you see people who are stuck in their ruts. This is okay as long as you remember you don’t have to be stuck, too. This journey takes courage, but taking steps outside your comfort zone daily is worth the effort … you go! Seize that courage. You are the one in a 1,000,000 to 1.

Earlier in this journey, when we connected with our authentic selves, we had to face the fact that either we delegate leadership of ourselves to someone else or we lead ourselves. The choice is ours, moment to moment. Listening is one of the qualities of a leader. When your inner self, intuition, gut, etc. speaks to you, do you listen? What do you hear? This “hearing” takes practice.

This week, make every effort to listen to that inner voice. This is not listening to the chatter that goes on in your head, the same old thoughts bouncing around your head every day. The listening we are reaching for is listening to your gut and maybe even that higher spot … your heart. Some sensations you may encounter are heaviness, lightness, joy, yearnings (like the yearning you get when you are hungry or use all your Weight Watchers’ points on a double dip ice cream cone). Sometimes the yearnings can be coming from other parts of your body. Over the period of your evolution, you have learned to pay close attention to the stomach. It is this level of attention we are trying to pay to all of us. The key to hearing these messages is to allow yourself to “feel” what’s going on in your gut and heart. If this makes you uncomfortable, yippee, you’ve just been given another opportunity to put in play your skills at expanding your comfort zone. Celebrate, approach and retreat, or whatever you have learned works best to be comfortable with the challenge and continue forward momentum.

Paying attention to my feelings continues to be a challenge to me since those feelings are not always feeling good. My life experiences directed me to search for the good and cling to it no matter what else is going on around me. Over a period of time I learned to ‘gloss over’ or make light of the wickedness.

When I used to tell my mother my woes, she would say, “It could always be worse.” Her well intentioned advice taught me to reject what was causing me grief, even reject the grief itself and look for the good. I became a freakin’ Pollyanna! On the surface this appears admirable, but over the long term, the negativity and heaviness of day-to-day living never touches the heart or mind. This is not reality and has a tremendous effect on the ability to cope, the ability to communicate from the heart and be real.

Did I mention this journey we are on takes courage? Here is a quote from everyone who has ever beaten the odds in any endeavor. “Tell me I can’t and I’ll show you I can.”

“I know of no higher fortitude than stubbornness in the face of overwhelming odds.” — Louis Nizer, noted American trial lawyer and author.

I would like to interview anyone who is willing to share their experiences since embarking on this “nutty” journey. How has your comfort zone expanded? What gifts have you enjoyed since stretching yourself? Your accomplishments are inspiration for all who read this column. If you would like to share, please contact me at sueellen.haning@gmail.com.

Join me next time for, “What the heck happened here?”

This story was posted on June 13, 2013.