This is going to be one of those schizophrenic blog posts.Writing, business, and fracking.
Because as my 8 year old daughter pointed out recently, I have an amazing knack for fracking every conversation. (Observation made when Myth Busters put a call out for Colorado based myths to bust. My response: “Bust Gov. Hickenlooper’s myth that fracking is an environmentally sound way to extract natural gas. Upside – you get to see if it really is possible to light tap water on fire, and maybe blow up a condensate tank, and we all know how much you love to blow things up.”)
But this blog has a theme. Picking your battles.
Let’s start with a little serenity.
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.
The courage to change the things I can.
And the wisdom to know the difference.
It’s the wisdom to know the difference that’s really the key to this prayer.
Why? Because otherwise we spend all our time, energy and passion bashing our head against an intractable wall, or we retreat in the face of difficulty, not realizing that had we just held our ground one more moment, the tide would have turned and our desires would have been granted.
So, how do we know the difference? How do we keep from giving in right before we get what we need, and more importantly how do we keep from killing ourselves trying to force impossible change?
First, step back and look at the big picture. The really big picture. The NASA big picture. Then look inside yourself, deep, deep inside yourself, inside your truest heart. Now merge the views and locate your true goal.
When you do that, you will see that there are many roads to that goal, many paths. In fact, if that is your true goal, you will discover that all roads lead you there. Some may twist and bend more than others. Some may have more potholes and roadblocks. Some may take you there without a single hitch or snag.
Now, with this perspective in mind, look at the battle you currently face – whether it is with your writing, your profession, or with fracking. (I warned you.) Do you need to fight it to get where you are going? Can you step around it? Can you walk away from it and come at your goal from another angle? Sometimes you can skip a battle and still reach your goal. Sometimes losing a battle wins the war. Even queens get sacrificed sometimes to win the game. Don’t be afraid to lose a little in order to win a lot.
Sometimes the road you’re on, the road you’ve chosen (often unconsciously) has some major roadblocks, hurdles and battles that have to be fought, that cannot be walked away from. I believe we do this to ourselves. I believe we put these things in place to test our own resolve. To test our own truth. Because you see, truths change. So we have to force ourselves into positions that make us re-examine them from time to time. We have to go to battle for our truths to prove to ourselves that we are worthy when we achieve them.
Sometimes we have to stand our ground and fight. And when this happens, it takes all of us, our full commitment to win. Remeber when God tested Job? Yeah, it’s like that.
When you find yourself in this position, when there can be no retreat, when flight is not an option, when you cannot afford to lose – there is another little quote that I use to bolster my courage and determination. It’s from Harriet Beecher Stowe, and it has carried me through all of the darkest days of my life.
“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you,
till it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer,
never give up then,
for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”
So, how does this apply to writing and business and yes, fracking?
How does this apply to you?
Everyday, as creative people, we face a battle against ourself. We battle our motivation, our resolve, our faith. As business owners (and writers – you are a business owner too. Never forget that. You are a business, seeking to get paid for work produced.) we face daily battles between our goals, the goals of our clients, and the pressures of reality.
And fracking? Yes there too, the battle is ongoing. There are those who want to drill until every drop of natural gas has been extracted from the earth. And there are those who would like to see the practice stopped entirely. Somewhere in the middle is a common ground where natural gas can be accessed safely and responsibly, and people, animals and plants can be kept healthy and safe.
The key to all of these battles is to look beyond the fight to the goal. There are many roads that will get us to our goals, if we are honest in expressing them. There are many paths to happiness. The trick is to get out of our own way so that we can see them.
If all else fails, remember that compromise is not the art of graceful sacrifice. Compromise does not mean surrender. No.
As Ludwif Erhard reminds us,
“Compromise is the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everyone believes he has the biggest piece”