“How much is enough?”
=> ARE YOU RIDING THE CART OR TAKING THE WALK?
A few years ago, I came across a book entitled, “Golf in the Kingdom.” It talks about a man who went to Scotland to learn the game of golf from one of the great pros in the world.
Unexpectedly, the man learns more about the game of life than he does the game of golf. The pro tells him that the greatest crime in golf … is the cart. He says the game is not about hitting the ball or getting from hole to hole as fast as possible. He says the real value of the game … is in the walk. It’s all about absorbing the experience.
Even though I live on a golf course, I’m not a golfer. But I wondered — if I were a golfer, would I be riding the cart or walking the course? Given my schedule and approach to life, I would probably be riding the cart, the fastest one I could find.
One of my biggest struggles in life has always been that of slowing down. I am the absolute opposite of the couch potato. I’ve been driven all my life to see it all and do it all.
Back in college, my advisor Dr. Sally Webb would say she never met a student that had as many interests as me. And my wife likes to tease me and call me “Curious George,” you know, the little monkey character in the children’s books we used to read.
It can be as simple as a small-town arts and crafts fair, a huge state fair, or an antique show with 1000 dealers. As soon as I walk on the premises, I immediately sketch out a plan in my head. I figure out how we can see it all and not miss anything. And if time is running out, if they’re about to close, I’ll tell my wife how we can hit one or two more exhibits if we really hurry. I can’t stand to miss anything.
So I end up rushing through a lot of my life. And I wonder about you. Are you rushing through life? Or experiencing every moment to the fullest? I’m working on the latter part, and I am getting better at it.
=> HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH?
When I do get off track, when I find myself falling into my old, habitual, frantic pace, I am reminded of a talk given by a priest some years ago. He said he wanted to ask us the most spiritual question anyone could ever ask us, the question being, “How much is enough?”
In other words, he was asking us, “How far do we have to go up the corporate ladder before we’re happy? How much money do we have to make before we’re satisfied? How much beauty do we have to have before we’re content? How bad does your job have to get before you leave? And how dysfunctional does your marriage have to get before you seek counseling? And on, and on, and on.
The question changed my life. The pressure I’d always felt, the pressure to see it all and do it all … started to ease up. I began to realize the stupidity of my thinking. I had tricked myself into believing that if I could get it all done, if I complete every item on my To-Do list, if could get everything fixed around the house, done in the yard, and completed for my clients, then I could relax. Then I would be entitled to sit back, without guilt, and easily, comfortably, and legitimately sit back and relax.
I began to realize that was “stinkin thinkin” because that time would never come. There would always be more things to see and more things to do. I would simply have to say — on some occasions — that “enough is enough” — that there’s a lot more to life than the speed at which it is lived. And it slows me down.
Have you come to that realization? Or do you still feel a bit of guilt whenever you slow down, relax, or have a little fun? If you’re still struggling with those feelings, ask yourself, “How much is enough?” And ask yourself, “Are you walking the course or riding the cart? And are you going from hole to hole as fast as possible?”
=> TAKE TIME TO REFLECT.
If so, you need to slow down once in a while. In fact, you need to just plain stop and think. You’re missing out on the reflective time you need. It’s absolutely critical to set aside some reflective time to focus on where you are, where you have been, and where you want to be in the years ahead. It’s an integral part of any life that has any quality. Without such time, you’re more of human do-ing than a human be-ing.
Without reflective time, you’ll charge through life and charge through your career. You may make it to the “top,” but at some point, you’ll look back and wonder whether the trip was worth the price. You may even find that you’ve climbed the ladder of success, but the ladder was propped against the wrong wall.
Action: Take 5 minutes every day to stop and think. Don’t do anything but just think about your life and every aspect of it. Don’t try to solve any of your problems, and don’t even try to steer your mind in a particular direction. Just let your mind wander to and linger over any and all aspects of your life. Do this for several days or a few weeks and you’ll get some incredible insights that will guide you into the future with more wisdom than ever before.