Puzzle Pieces and Five Words

Sometimes I feel like my life is a giant jigsaw puzzle with all sorts of puzzle pieces scattered on the floor around me.  The challenge is putting those puzzle pieces together to make some sort of a picture.  Which means there’s a lot of trial and error involved to find out how they fit.  Sometimes more trial.  Sometimes more error.  And sometimes I just pound the pieces to make them go together because that’s the way they SHOULD go! Goldarn it!

Very often I think I know how to put the pieces together to make the perfect picture, pound them until they fit, and then go about my business.  Eventually it dawns on me that… “Heeeey! The reason things aren’t working is because I didn’t put the pieces together correctly.”  After all, forcing the pieces together might give you a picture that looks perfectly fine, but it doesn’t mean it’s right.

And that’s part of the problem, isn’t it? With a regular jigsaw puzzle, you can see the picture on the box so you know what you’re supposed to end up with.  But in life, you kind of have to figure it out as you go.  The picture you make depends on the pieces you have.  And those darned pieces can be put together in many different ways.  So you try, and then you shift them around and try again.

This is made even harder when the world is going through times like these.  And it’s also hard because a lot of times, you know that you do sort of need to do everything you’re thinking about.  Every picture you’re trying to make for your life seems valid.

We have so many conflicting pieces all trying to get attention, and they can all seem to be equally important. Sometimes they ARE equally important.  How are you supposed to know what to do first? How do you know how to put the pieces together correctly?

A lot of people try to use goals to give them order, but, as I’ve mentioned before, detailed goals don’t work for me.  If I have a goal, I tend to go out of my way to find a reason not to achieve it. Or I get overwhelmed.

After spending a few weeks in quarantine trying to pound my puzzle pieces together with mixed results, I realized that I needed to get back to basics.  Not goals.  Not objectives.  Instead, I needed a baseline structure to start from.

So, because I’m a word person, I came up  with a few words to help provide me with a direction. Words to help me figure out what’s important to me, and, perhaps more urgently, help me decide the order of importance of what I need to do. Then maybe I can figure out what to focus on instead of running around  like a muppet.

So, I settled on five words that I like.  The order they’re in is important, too – although there is some overlap, each word builds on the one before.

The five words I settled on are:  Energy, Strength, Independence, Creativity, and Simplicity.

So, next week, we’ll chitter-chat about Energy, what it means for me, and why I put it first on the list.

“If you don’t make the time to work on creating the life you want, you’re eventually going to be forced to spend a LOT of time dealing with a life you don’t want.”

Kevin Ngo






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