The Short-sightedness of Near-sightedness | Dignitary's Retreat

In a real-time world of instant feedback, it’s easy to forget about long term evaluation. These days, our culture demands fast food, fast service, speed dating, and worker productivity. Impatiently, we expect results to show themselves right away and when they don’t, we all too often jump to an erroneous conclusion. Alas, this proclivity is one from which I have suffered; cultivating patience is a challenge for me.

But one of the master lessons successful Re-booters recognize is that meaningful change can only be perceived when looking back. It’s the test of time that provides us certainty that we have acquired valuable new skills, confirmed under duress. Recently, I had the unexpected opportunity to assess my growth and ability to keep my cool and remain true to myself. I attended a conference where I was subjected to the rudest behavior I have faced since seventh grade, from women who were determined to show me how low on the totem pole I was. The details are unimportant, but suffice it to say that I  have confidence that ten years ago, their unkind words and behavior would have reduced me to tears. Now, not so much.

In fact, as I was enduring this episode, I was amazed how two, concurrent narratives ran through my head: one was the predictable mortification and feelings of humiliation, but the other (and this is where re-booting comes into play) was one in which I was amused by their total lack of perspective and determination that such bullying was not going to impact my sense of self. It’s this re-booter narrative that coached me through the experience, and for this I am both grateful and proud of how I reacted.

I want you to reflect upon some stressful event that has occurred of late in your life. How did you experience it? How did this differ from the way you would have processed it five or ten years ago? By my reckoning, you see more clearly now than you did then. This is the key, my friends. It is this change that we re-booters pursue. Think of people in your life who haven’t altered how they think about or react to events—are they better off as a result of such intransigence? Has their stubbornness served them well? Is this characteristic something you admire about them? Have you ever thought to yourself, “If only they’d change how they did X, they’d be so much happier.”

Those of us who wear glasses know that a prescription makes it possible to see things clearly. Were we to refuse to embrace this change in our vision, we’d be wandering around bumping into things, aware of the fact that something is wrong with our perception.  So, it’s solely up to us to do the work necessary to improve our vision and find the tools needed to bring things back into focus. In life, this doesn’t happen in a day or a week, but over time. And then, one day, it blessedly arrives.

In a way, I’m rather glad these rude women singled me out. Not only do I have warning of how they carry on, but I now can see that I’m a whole lot more composed than I would’ve been before. That’s a long-term strength a Re-booter can focus on with pride. My message to you is to think about how you’ve achieved this yourself, because it’s there.

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