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There are times when blinders are required

By Sue Ellen Haning
Columnist

“The most loving parents and relatives commit murder with smiles on their faces. They force us to destroy who we really are: a subtle kind of murder.” —  Jim Morrison, lead singer of the rock band The Doors.

Hello, all you nut seekers. I trust this past week was full of life lessons. Mine sure was.

The above quote is a bold statement for sure, and we can apply it to what we do to ourselves when we cannot or will not stay focused on what we say we want to do.

This week, we take a look at a helpful tool: blinders. Blinders first came into vogue when drivers of horsedrawn carriages saw the need to help a horse keep his focus straight ahead. Blinders have also been used with race horses for the same reason. The idea is to prevent the horse from seeing something that could scare him or take his focus away. What we predators don’t come up with to control a prey animal’s behavior!

Many a parent has been asked multiple times while driving, “Are we there yet?” This frequent question is familiar to anyone who travels with young ones who are impatient to arrive. Adults are more familiar with time and space than children are, and we can be patient in these situations, but on our journey to becoming the best we can be, aka getting outside our comfort zones, there are times when we, too, lose patience, get distracted, or take an unwanted detour. Any one of these is a loss of focus.

Has anyone ever rained on your parade? I mean just flat out laughed, snickered or glared at you when you, in a moment of bliss, shared your idea or dream(s)? I bet Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Albert Einstein among others could tell us about ideas getting rained on, but since they are not around to share, we’ll analyze this scenario ourselves. I can guarantee the rain on your parade was not from your dog, cat, parakeet, horse or your pet python, well unless it decided to squeeze you too hard. In a society of educated, caring people, what could possibly entice a person to squelch a fellow human’s idea or dream? Could it be lack of knowledge? A closed mind? Jealousy? Fear? You can probably add a few more to the list.

People who condescend to others’ ideas come in the form of anyone over the age of 12. I bet if you told an 8-year-old that you had an idea for a new gadget that could revolutionize something, he/she would be right there with you, listening, encouraging, wanting to help and be a part of the invention. Eight year-olds believe anything is possible. The age of 10-12 appears to be the age of transition. During the teens, it is common for humans to engage in mob mentality. Unfortunately not all of them outgrow this. At any rate, before the age of 12, daydreaming, wishing, play acting are still a part of the human’s connection to his/her world. Then our culture decides we need to become mature and act like adults. (The definition of an adult is someone who works at making simple things hard.)

So, who are these beings that steal our dreams? Acquaintances, friends, neighbors, co-workers, the person next to you on the airplane, and the big one … relatives. I once saw a greeting card that had a picture of a furry puppy running full out with a smile on its face toward the person looking at the card. The caption was “One loyal friend is worth a thousand relatives.” No doubt the creator of this card had experienced, as most of us have, the maze of in-laws, out-laws and everything in between that relatives can be.

Our desires are genuine and any detour or failure to achieve is certainly not due to a lack of effort on our part. Blinders come in handy when we adults become impatient with ourselves in reaching a goal and have the desire to give up or quit. Allowing any distractions makes the journey of change blistering, overwhelming and fatiguing.

“What’s the use?” we ask as we feel like we are swimming upstream with no break in sight. Once again, choice comes into play. Yes, we always have a choice. We must choose to install our own blinders, or not.

So, how do we put blinders on ourselves to help us stay focused on the goal or task before us? Are we willing to wear blinders? I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a human with blinders, so it is not likely to be something that becomes fashionable in the near future unless, of course, you are a nut. I am sure there are inventors out there or engineers who could help us in this area. Anyone willing to step up and design some human blinders, maybe even invisible ones?

Whatever you need to do is what you do. Your blinders can be in any form that works for you. Let’s say you have made getting outside your comfort zone a daily or weekly endeavor and you want to really step out and make something wild and wooly or nutty happen in your life. Maybe blinders come in the form of taking five minutes daily to write your goal on a piece of paper, then read it out loud. Patting yourself on the back every day could be all you need to stay focused. Maybe you need to sit and meditate or daydream 15 minutes a day. Maybe you need to make a plan, write it down and stick to it.

Blinders are an important component in success. This week, think about what motivates you to stay focused and incorporate that into your day, every day. This will become your set of blinders and you can put them on anytime.

I hope you have a great week of life lessons and discoveries about yourself. I leave you with this from Napoleon Bonaparte, French emperor from 1809-1815: “The truest wisdom is a resolute determination.”

sueellen.haning@gmail.com

This story was posted on September 26, 2013.