Last year, for the first time, I needed reading glasses and because I was starting graduate school, I thought I’d treat myself to a new pair this year. I decided to go to my son’s optometrist, whom I myself had never visited before. To my surprise I learned that there is a lot more to vision then meets the eye. (No pun intended!) It is possible to have 20/20 vision and still have hidden visual handicaps. I found out that my eyes didn’t track, which meant that when I read the words and sentences didn’t line-up. As a result I made a lot of mistakes when reading, and got tired reading very fast. Up to now I mostly listened to audio books. But this is changing. To my delight I now have a pair of glasses that help my eyes line up the text on the page. Books look completely different with my new glasses and reading is much easier. I wish I had gotten these glasses years ago. They would have saved me a lot of tears and frustration. But I sure am stoked now!
I make it a point to find amazing places to just sit and contemplate when I am traveling. Those places stay with me long after my trip is over. I collect the moments spent at these places as if they were treasures. The moments of contemplation have been profound and transformational. I don’t know what makes them so – whether it’s the time I take to integrate all the new information I’ve absorbed, or if I’m getting in tune with how the place feels to me, or both. This was one of those special spots, on Moosehead Lake in Maine. I felt something old and serene here. Are there any places where you have sat and contemplated that have stayed with you?
I was listening to NPR’s On Point this morning, a show on the science of willpower, based on a recently published book by the title of Willpower by John Tierney and Roy Baumeister.
Here is Tom Ashbrook’s intro to the conversation: “The world is an unpredictable place. It’s comforting to think we at least have some self-control. Willpower.But willpower itself is slippery. Some days, some times we may have it. Some days, some times we may not. To eat or not eat the doughnut. Study the extra hour. My guests today have studied what willpower is. What bolsters it. What cuts it down. What influence it has in lives when starting places and circumstances can be so wildly different.”
The show got me thinking about my own experience of willpower and when it has worked for me.
In my opinion it is much more difficult to have willpower when there is chaos or confusion. In order for willpower to work it needs a framework. A long term goal with a clear path to that goal is essential. Whether its buying a house, getting a degree in college, or going to the Olympics, a set path has to be layed out. It is much more difficult to have willpower on the spur of the moment. It is like driving to an unknown destination without a map. It seems to me, that when willpower is in line with one’s goals, we are able to achieve those goals.