It’s Not Rocket Science (but it is hard…)

NASA’s Katherine Johnson (if you haven’t seen Hidden Figures, you are seriouslymissing out!) was crunching numbers at the age of eight–the same age  I was when getting my 100 math facts  worksheet done in under 60 seconds seemed like an impossible mission.  I really wanted that gold star! So, I enlisted Mom to time me while I practiced.  Over and over I tried until I was only a second or two off.  As I prepared for school, Mom assured me that I would get it that day–she all but promised.  I sensed her confidence and knew she meant it… but I couldn’t imagine how on earth she could be so sure.  “How do you know?” I begged her to tell me, but she resisted.  “I’ll tell you when you get home from school.”  When I easily finished well under one minute, I couldn’t wait to get home and tell her… and find out the secret!

Do you have a goal you that seems impossible to reach?  Mom’s trick just might work for you!  Of course there is a difference between getting quick with math facts and some of the goals we share, but the principle could be helpful.

First let’s look at a few goals that require more than a simple pep talk or quick fix:  I’ve picked three that have been on my radar for decades–I’m not exaggerating!  Getting strong.  Getting rest.  Holding my tongue.  

Unpack those things

Now for the trick, if you haven’t already guessed it!

The principle:  set the bar a little higher.  Indeed, one of the things with will power (Stanford researcher) is to not celebrate some things/too soon.  We always hear about celebrating the little victories, but a medal for 20th place isn’t fooling anyone.  If it’s the results we are after, we can’t change the result so that we feel good… because what we are after here is reaching a goal.  Ultimately, that will feel good and the struggle to get there will amplify the good feeling.

How I’m going to apply that principle … try to remember to apply that principle

Get strong, feel strong–why?  what? how:  here’s where these neat little ideas and insights can just fall to the wayside.  The hard part here is it’s so inconsistent… So what if I didn’t make that my first baby step goal and went straight for the goal:  trying every day.  And then after I’ve tried, doing the stuff that builds it up.  And what if I decided I was going to do 20?  That is crazy, but (website).  No way!  There is no way.  Memories of my sisters on our jungle gym.  If once seems impossible maybe I’ll get there sooner by shooting for 20?  I’m going to try… and I’ll keep you posted

About rest.  15 years ago, new year’s day on a sickbed… progress.  What’s the payoff (coach friend question).  Knew that held the key, but didn’t sit with it.  Tapping into what we really want (inside out) is critical.  It is tapping into a reserve of motivation just waiting to be unleashed.  The degree of progress is realated to how much I experience the consequences… as they catch up with me… there is ill temper, vanity, but health consequences are pretty persuasive.  The obstacles–the family movie, a good conversation.  Resent the “stay up late, get up early” advice from some … But the convergence and belief that this really is important with the internal knowlege of what I want long term… do the work:  what’s the payoff:  free time, rest  SO: 

Talking is one of those things that comes from the inside… how much and how (gender, personality), and why (needs, emotions)

This is a long term one, but it will help so much if I can just hold my tongue while I work this out.  How?  Have that person, pray, write–that place (here), and have a plan while the journey continues.  Here are some ideas I’m going to try to speed up the interim plan progress: Ask three questions before I say anything.  Recognize that urge–the fire in the bones (woman who put a pencil in her mouth) and distract myself by asking why that feeling.  Being curious about what causes it.  Have some jokes on my phone and read one before I say anything.

What are some things you’ve been inching towards?  Katherine Johnson’s went so far above and beyond… she asked questions, she said (quote about working backwards)… I have chosen things that are important to me or that will allow me to pursue the things that are part of me (discover them first?).  Sit with them, be sure about them, and then initiate!  Shoot for the stars and you just might land them!

Katherine Johnson’s advice when speaking at the inaguaration of the building names after her… “Like what you do…”


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