Saturday, July 16, 2011

There are Moments

There are times when everything you thought was true is wrong. Actually, most of the time that you believe things are true, you're wrong. However, there are moments when it becomes unavoidably clear that you're wrong: defining moments in which either the moment defines you or your define the moment.

In those moments, the gateway to a new reality blinks open. You see more clearly than you've seen before. You know that you must decide: jump through the opening or watch it snap shut.

Sometimes it's a no-brainer; more often it's not. You hesitate wanting more time to decide. You second-guess what you see and deny it--it can't be; it's implausible, impossible. Or you do believe, but the cost of acceptance is too great. So you try to ignore it, forget about it.

I've met doctors and therapists who would never use the methods they employ every day with members of their families. They don't believe that what they offer is indeed the best solution, but it's what they know, what they've trained all their lives to do. And so they carry on trying not to think too much about it. The moments have defined them.

I know salespeople who are clear that they offer an inferior product for a higher price. They brag about it, how despite the product's shortcomings, they can sell it. If it were the best product at the lowest price, anyone could sell it. Selling the lesser product requires true salesmanship.

On the other hand, I know people who upon seeing the truth (as it may be), will walk into it without hesitation or doubt. I know researchers who see the goal of an experiment to be discovery, not proof. Doctors and therapists who go on record to make it clear that what they first believed and taught is wrong. Business people who give up substantial incomes and sure things to pursue what they believe is best for their customers, even if it means uncertainty and financial loss.

The moment comes and they define it.

Of course, it's easy to point out in others the inconsistency between belief and action. We all have it.

There's nothing wrong it. We each walk around with thousands of unreconciled inconstancies bouncing around in our heads.

The only challenge is the side-effects.

For example, kids seem to be hyper-aware of inconsistencies in their parents. They seem to learn more from beliefs observed than beliefs taught.

Maintenance of inconsistency is costly. Some of us stress over them. Others block them out with alcohol and drugs. A few lose touch with reality altogether, a side-effect of strong powers of denial.

Sometimes we seek justification and we become self-righteous--I do it for a greater good. Other times, we seek explanation and we become victims--I do it because I have no other choice.

One of the challenges I face with my dogged-persistence is that I often blind myself to my inconsistencies. For example, I don't see that I've gone above and beyond what I said I would do and yet have not accepted my own work. I work harder and longer. I make others the benchmarks of my success. Bit by bit, I become externally defined. Kind of creeps up on me.

And then there are moments when I see it. Moments like now. And I have a choice to make.

Happy Saturday,

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