My mother had a saying when I was growing up that helped my brothers and sisters and me to focus. Whenever we would complain to her about something that happened to us or something that was going on around us we didn’t agree with or we just wanted things to be different she would say,
“So, are you going to sit on the cactus and howl?”
It didn’t take too long for us to figure out that while my mother was very interested in what we had to say. What we were complaining about. What we thought needed changing, she expected us to do something about it. Take the problem at hand, the issue, the situation, and do something positive to make it better, to fix it, to change it.
As I have traveled on my journey that advice my mother passed on to me at a very young age has served me well. And as with most guidance that someone passes on to you, I took it, made it my own, and added to it.
As time passes new phrases develop within our language. When I was a child what we would have characterized as a situation or an issue has at times turned into “It is what it is.” Excuse me!
I remember some time back when I first heard the term “It is what it is.” I was working at the Kennedy Space Center at the time, managing a design project for Ground Support Equipment, (GSE). The space program loves acronyms. During a discussion of a particular parameter for the project, the engineer in charge of this area informed the team that we could not do what we planned on. That was that and “It is what it is.” I’m sure the team saw the look of surprise and disbelief on my face. Well, I told the team, we will have to change it and make it something that will do what we need to be done. After this, I thought back on what my mother had taught us. Saying something can’t be changed. Something that needs changing and just accepting it is another way of sitting on the cactus and howling. As my mother taught me, I always do my best to take the problem at hand, the issue, the situation, the “It is what it is”, and do something positive to make it better, to fix it, to change it.
Along the way, I have taught myself a trick that works well for me when I’m having a little trouble figuring out just how to move forward with the problem at hand. I call it making the problem change colors. Take a step back and develop a wider perspective of the problem. Stand it on its head. Look at it from different angles. Change the way you look at it and that may help you to move forward with a solution. But this is a subject for another blog.
Another thing I have learned along the way. Don’t let problems and issues pile up. There are always going to be new problems and issues that come up on your journey. Focus. Take them head-on. In a positive way put them to rest so that you can focus and move on in your journey.
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