Sunday, January 11, 2015

Listening for the Whisperings of the Universe

I am tempted to believe in the mystical: that the Universe sometimes guides us, whispers to us in unlikely ways. We only have to hear and respond.

Sometimes all we have to do is say yes. In terms of my career, the only real regrets that I have are when, in the past, I have said no to an opportunity that was seemingly one step back but, in retrospect, would have likely offered a pathway for two (or more) steps forward. I occasionally wonder what my life would have been like if at least one of those times I had simply said yes, okay, sure, or why not....

Other times we might get suggestions, important clues, from various media: books, movies, radio, TV, etc.

For example, one of my favorite movies is Rounders -- you know, the movie with Matt Damon who plays a failed law student, and who happens to be a poker savant.
Mike (Matt Damon) and hottie girlfriend (Gretchen Mol) in the movie, Rounders.

Mike (Matt Damon's character in the movie) has a girlfriend who doesn't understand him and, worse, won't accept who he really is, what he needs to be. He is also stubbornly trudging on the wrong life path -- in law school instead of competing at the card table: "the only thing that makes [him] feel alive." He's a world class poker player who hasn't yet fully expressed himself.

I, myself, don't play poker -- mostly because on poker nights with the guys, there are always a few gents who insist on smoking cigars, which I think is MONUMENTALLY STUPID -- risking inflamed arteries (leading to heart and circulatory disease) or oral, lung, or other cancers -- and it stinks! Anyway, I'd probably be bad at poker; I'm not the poker-faced kind of guy.

In fact, I don't like to gamble at all, though I've had consistent, modest success at blackjack the few times I've set foot in a casino; but, in general, I've worked too hard for my money -- if I want to donate it, I'll give it to a charity, not a gaming establishment. But I love this movie, Rounders; I find it tremendously inspiring. It gives me hope that I, too, similar to the main character Mike, might realize my true calling at which I can make my mark or at least make a happy living.

I'm hoping for better late than never.

I can totally relate to Mike's dilemma (in the movie). I have skills and talents, but haven't really found that occupation that makes me feel alive. I know the activities, the components, but not the vocation to which they point. I only wish I were a world-class something.... something good, that is. Like when Fast Eddie Felson (Paul Newman) says in The Color of Money something like the following: if you're excellent at something -- the best -- rich can be arranged.

Another example of the potential whispering of the Universe in my ear happened while I was watching a recent episode of the TV show, House M.D.. One of the characters told me something that I  really need to hear (often), which I paraphrase here: even when we are doing the perfect thing that we were meant to do, some of the activities or prerequisites are difficult and unpleasant for us. (In other words, suck it up and do what you have to do as part of your calling; don't let the hurdles trip you up.)

As it is, I feel like I missed my career train; I was detained in some way and it left the station just before I arrived, and I haven't been able to find an alternate route to the place I'm supposed to be.

So this being a fresh, new year and all, I thought I'd kind of do some left-brained thinking; I started a spreadsheet with columns for things I like to do, don't like to do, what I'm good at, and not. This spreadsheet thing is kind of like a functional-component list, like one would have in a resume that disassembles a given job into its component skills and then shows that one has all those skills -- the idea being you're helping a clueless HR person see that you have the skills and experience to do a job, even though you've never actually done that specific job. I just thought I might do this exercise to help myself make the right choice at my next career crossroad.

Part of getting back on the right career track has been writing this shaving blog. It started out as an offshoot of my basic enthusiasm for wet shaving, and I thought something might result if I started blogging. I still daily try to pay attention to see what might develop from all this, what next action I might take or what opportunity I might accept.

And who knows, maybe you finding this article is the Universe whispering in your ear. Or maybe it's in the next movie you watch, the next book you read, or the next conversation you have with a stranger.

Anyway, I had a very good shave -- maybe the best ever -- earlier in the day that I keyed this article, and I hope you had a good one too.

Happy shaving!

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