Years from now, after this event is long over, what should we remember about it? A week from now, when the crisis hits, what should we remember about this meeting? Tomorrow, when the day gets busy again, what would you like me to remember about the discussion we just had? Begin with the end in mind.
Draw a perfect circle. Use a compass or a plotter. Now, zoom in. If you zoom in close enough, you’ll discover that it’s not a perfect circle at all. In fact, anything we create, at close enough magnification, isn’t perfect. It’s foolish to wait until you’ve made something that’s perfect, because you never will. The alternative is to continue to move toward your imaginary ideal, shipping as you iterate. Getter better is the path to better.
Ruts don’t dig themselves. Most of the time, we’re in a rut because that’s precisely where we put ourselves. Actions become habits, and habits get repeated because they feel safe. The easiest way to make things more interesting is to simply stop repeating your habitual behavior. And that often comes from reacting to triggers. Remove the triggers and you can alter the habits. Tiny changes. Different ways to keep score. Tomorrow comes daily. But we don’t have to take the same route to get there.
Peace might not mean getting everyone else to do what you want them to do. Instead, it may involve understanding that people don’t always want what we want and don’t often believe in what we believe. Everyone has their own narrative and is struggling with their own fears. We can begin there. Most of the time, people want to be seen, understood and appreciated. And if we can offer someone dignity, we give them a gift that’s difficult to find.
The poet-priest Kabir says, the first thing in the morning, do not rush off to the work. But take down your musical instrument and play it. Then test your work in the same way. If there is no music in it, set it aside, and go find what has music in it, for you to play it again.