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Monk Notes 26 - What We Prepare For, and What We Don’t

We prepare for everything important in life. Celebrations, weddings, anniversaries, graduations, tests, performances, presentations, projects, and competitions.

Preparation is a proactive investment we make to ensure the success of a given endeavor.

But preparation is not only an action, it is also a signal. In a world of competing demands, what we choose to prepare for and what we choose not to prepare for, reveals where we currently place value. Not in abstraction, but in lived practice.

Each of us has a vision for the things that matter most to us, but as life gets busy and we face its various demands, a disconnect can emerge between our internal values and the way we are actually living our lives.

One reason for this is that we tend to overemphasize certain aspects of our life over others. As we grow the strength of a given sector of our life, we can come to find that this strength has come at the cost of another area. In these scenarios, growth becomes akin to optimizing one aspect of life at the expense of sub-optimizing another. Over time we are left with profoundly weakened areas, atrophied by the profound strengths of other areas that we have built up.

Another reason for the disconnect is that the most important things are rarely ever urgent. Fear can get in the way and blur our vision, causing us to feel a compulsion to focus on one area of life incessantly, even when this area means little to us internally. At these times fear drives the car of our action, and we prepare not for what we deeply value, but rather as a means to avoid pain and loss.

By taking an honest look at what we prepare for, and what we don’t, we see concretely where our life may have fallen out of alignment with what it is that we truly desire. Preparation isn’t just an action, it is also a signal.

All the best,

Steven Lawson

“We can’t solve problems using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

- Albert Einstein


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Featured Art: A Winter Scene, Hendrik Meyer (1787)