On the Verge: Finding Your Tipping Point

Grandpa Detrick's ca 1890 Seth Thomas Clock

Grandpa Detrick’s ca 1890 Seth Thomas Clock

 

Today Apple announced the new Apple Watch. For somewhere between $300 and $10K you can own one yourself. I understand the $10K version is 18 karat gold. If you want to use it to tell time, you better have good eyes or good glasses, because the time display is small—or so I am told.

For most of my life, I have enjoyed a love/hate relationship with time. It is my greatest asset. And when I have plenty of it, time is my friend. But when I am facing a deadline and running short, frustration and anxiety turn up the pressure and seem to accelerate the clock. I try to quicken my own pace to catch up, but the minutes fly by and missed deadlines turn to missed opportunities. This results in–you guessed it–more frustration and anxiety. Only now they are joined by their close comrade, regret. This trio sings a melancholy melody in three parts:

  • If only. . ..
  • Life’s not fair!
  • Why me?

If you listen to this trio for long, you will get stuck for sure, especially when the trio is joined by their bully of an ally, self-pity. He gladly lends his voice to the newly formed quartet, singing bass. He especially enjoys the refrain, “What’s the use?”

Sound familiar? Listen to this quartet for long and you will start humming along with them. And they will steal your life, your soul, your courage. We all have to learn to listen in to a different station. I know. Been there. Done that.

Today I asked a friend, “What is the opposite of courage?” We had a good conversation about it and agreed that most people would say the opposite of courage is fear. Yet, the more I think about it, the more I believe something else. The opposite of courage is passivity. We’ve failed before. We failed again. And we will probably fail if we make another attempt. So, “what’s the use?” Passivity.

And that is a shame, because we are often on the verge of greatness. Remember the times when you said, “I can just feel it. I’m on the verge of something fantastic.” Especially when backed up by careful planning, disciplined focus, prayer, and hard work. You were launching into the confident expectation of certain achievement but landed in the bone-crushing agony of defeat. Shocked by the incredulity of the situation, you keep asking, ‘What happened? I knew I was just on the verge. . ..”

Nursing your wounds, you faintly hear that familiar old sad song. Before long you are singing along – you know all the words:

  • If only. . ..
  • Life’s not fair!
  • Why me?
  • What’s the use?

Wait a minute!  Stop the clock! Do not lose courage. Passivity is the inactive response to lost hopes and dreams. It is time for a change. You don’t have to live your life always “on the verge.” You can move past the verge. In the next few weeks, I’ll be posting on this theme and here are a few topics having to do with old clocks of all things, that will help you get past the verge and find your own tipping point:

  • Perspective – what you see on the face of the clock only presents the facts – the time in the present. What is behind the face is what keeps the hands moving.
  • Suspense – clocks have a suspension spring. Like clocks we actually need tension and drama.
  • Power – the force that provides energy – spring or weights –wound up, wound down
  • Perseverance – takes a licking and keeps on ticking
  • Alignment – the teeth in the clock’s wheels must be in perfect alignment – the front and back plates hold it all together
  • Opportunity – taking advantage of the moment – the only way the clock can move forward to the next second, minute, or hour is to take advantage of every moment’s opportunity.
  • Gratitude – accepting help from others and being grateful for the contributions of all who help you move forward
  • Leverage – the clock’s works are designed for maximum efficiency. Each part, however small, has a part to do.
  • Synergy – alone, any part would be unable to keep time. Together, they can do far more than any of them could do alone.
  • Re-calibrating – adjustments are needed in a clock, depending upon the season of the year, air pressure, age, etc.
  • Rest – recreation, restoration, oil on the pivot points.
  • Balance – the pendulum requires balance – level keel.

 

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