In last week’s extended Friday edition of The Daily Chalkboard I wrote about how cool it is to be square. I’m sure the title was enough to raise an eyebrow or two among some of you as you began reading, given the connotation of “being square”. The idea of a regimented, unwavering, un-cool and disciplined lifestyle has often been associated with being labeled a square. Compared to being free spirited, creative and open to new ideas, being square just doesn’t hold much appeal for most people. I get it. Nobody wants to feel like they are not cool. But there’s another way one can look at being a square.
Let me suggest that you begin by throwing your perception of being a square out the proverbial window along with any other pre-conceived ideas you may have of what it means to truly be liked and successful in your life. Often these perceptions we learn and adopt have been conceived by someone with ulterior motives involving the desire to gain power, control and persuasion over us. This is one of the reasons that the idea of being square has received such a bad rap to begin with. Compared to a life of sex, love and rock and roll being a square doesn’t hold much appeal for the average person. But as many have discovered, there can be a heavy price to pay when letting others do your thinking for you. So, let’s begin with a clean slate, or in this case, an empty chalkboard, if you will.
There’s a difference between being regimented and being focused, being uniform and being disciplined, and between being a square and having a “well rounded” lifestyle. The fear and dread of being the round peg forced into the square hole has stuck with us for a long time and unfortunately been turned into a mindset of fear adopted by many when it comes to their consideration of ending up mismatched with a job, a peer group or any situation in life that does not appear at first glance to be the best fit for them. Often we relegate good, sound principles to the trash heap just because we’ve been told they’re not cool and we should. I encourage you to consider all things for yourself.
The idea of living your life by walking a path focused on being squared away isn’t a new or original idea. My introduction to it was years ago, when I was given a book by William H. Danforth titled, “I Dare You”. The book was a challenge to me to be the best person I can possibly be by giving equal importance and attention to four important facets in my life; the Physical, Mental, Social and Spiritual elements of being a human being. The book, while being a great primer for getting your “shtuff” together and being a good example to others, is a bit dated in light of how society’s sensitivities have changed over the years. After all, it was written in the 1930’s, during the American Depression, when many people were feeling the economic woes of political and financial policies gone awry. Jobs were tough to find, people had little hope and the news was full of negativity and despair. On the other hand, perhaps is beginning to sound somewhat familiar to you.
The fact is, life happens and whatever it brings to our table, or doesn’t bring, there’s no excuse to be anything but the best we possibly can be. Whether this is for the sole purpose of setting a positive example to ourselves or our peers, the fact remains that regardless of how bad others may view things, we alone have the power and the right to control our thoughts and actions, and therefore to change things for the better. My purpose, as I have determined it should be, is to help send a message to anyone who will listen to or read it, that true success starts with a thought that then migrates to an action, with the outcome being whatever we have determined it will be. This has to be accomplished through the application of our whole being. Success is a journey that requires we be “squared away” physically, mentally, socially and spiritually. These four things make up who we are as individuals and how seriously we are received and accepted by others. It is cool to be square and I challenge you to begin thinking in these terms if you haven’t already been doing so.
Consider yourself having been challenged. You have four areas of your life that need to be considered, nurtured, grown, attended to and balanced if you truly wish to be happy and successful. I call this “Finding Your Smile”. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how young. Your economic and social status holds no restriction to your ability to participate in this challenge. If you accept it and follow through you will see results that you can be proud of because you have decided to make adjustments and changes in your life to become the best person you possibly can. This is when you will truly find your Smile. What could be better than that?
Over the next few weeks I’ll share the details about how you can put together a personal program to get yourself squared away. This is going to require a commitment in time spent both in thought and action on your part. It will require some changes in your habits and how you choose to spend your most valuable asset, your time.
Don’t kid yourself, this won’t be easy and you will be challenged. I’m going to be honest here and tell you up front that most people who begin probably won’t see it through to the end. Exceptional people are not normal people. Exceptional people don’t follow the rules, they make them. Exceptional means just that, you are an exception to the rules that apply to others. You are anything but a square, although because you have the guts and desire to lead a life of discipline and focus you may appear to be to others who are not.
I feel something needs to be clearly stated at this point. This is a sales pitch, but not the kind you may be familiar with. What I want to sell you is you, and your ability to be a better, more focused, happy, secure, successful individual who will make a difference in the lives of others. I promise you I won’t be baiting you with teasers for a full, more detailed program, and then attempt to switch you to some “inner circle” that pays a monthly fee to get the rest of the plan, along with my multiple thousands of dollars in “bonuses” for one low monthly payment that somehow always seems to end in a seven. I personally deplore this type of tactic and feel in many cases it walks a very thin ethical line. I cringe at the thought of so many well meaning people getting sucked into some redesigned money pit formula created for the purpose of enriching the thought guru who cooked it up or borrowed it from elsewhere. Most of these self professed gurus have purchased the plan from some other person anyway while doing nothing more than peddling it under a different product name. We have way too many of these folks, well meaning or not, operating within our midst. I’m not one of them. Yes, I too have to make a living, but I’ll tell you up front when I’d like you to pay for something. I won’t tease you and then dump you like a bad date because you won’t or can’t pay up. This is yours, free and clear to make what you will of it.
I will say this though. If you feel it’s good or bad or can be improved in some way I’d love to hear from you. No one is perfect and I can learn as much from you as you, hopefully, will learn from me. If you feel this information can help someone else you know, whether a friend, colleague, associate or family member, please, by all means feel free to share it with them. Send them a link to my page here so they can begin their personal journey to getting their “shtuff” squared away. If you have questions, please ask. If you have comments, please share them. All I ask is that you be civil and positive in your comments and concerns. I truly want to help you find your Smile and the best way I know how to do this is to be smiling myself, so please don’t make me frown, unless you’ve got good reason for feeling you should.
What you are reading is a true reflection of who I am and what gets me up in the morning. No, literally. I write each of these pieces in the morning, right after I get up. I prefer it to a doughnut along with my first cup of coffee and my body thanks me for it. But more about that later. The Daily Chalkboard is one of my personal disciplines and the focus for my desire to help make this world a better place. I’m just one guy with one voice and an internet full of people like you who I hope to virtually touch with caring and love in a positive and meaningful way. That’s my motive, my purpose and my challenge. Help me meet my challenge by accepting your own Life Squared Challenge.
“I simply write what I feel, because it matters to me. Hopefully some of it will resonate with and matter to you as well” – MDD