So many people live their emotional life like a yo-yo, going from high to low and back again. A Sufi parable alleges that a powerful king challenged his wise men to create a ring for him that would bring stability to his reign. The sages put their heads together and came back with a gold ring engraved with the phrase, “This, too, shall pass.” We need to realize that this motto applies to all of us, as well. When our children were young, Mary Alice often repeated those words when some teenage trauma seemed to bring total disaster.
As we mature, we learn to lengthen our emotional wheelbase. We take the bumps with less jolting. I often tell people to think of themselves as a Rolls Royce limo, rather than a VW bug. When you go over the bumps almost simultaneously the jarring is far greater than having a period (however short) of recovery before hitting the bump again. Our grandchildren perfectly illustrate this. One minute they are smiling and the next they are crying when something doesn’t go their way. Soon that moment is forgotten and they are happy again. That is a bumpy ride for their parents.
This realization bring equilibrium to our life. I find pessimists extrapolate the bad too far into life and the hyper optimist extrapolates good too far. Time and opportunity change conditions, so that Smith’s maxim says, “Extrapolate objectively.”
Whatever our condition, we need to keep in focus what we are trying to accomplish. An aim without a target is worthless. Part of keeping focus is to keep the machinery well oiled. To me, this means developing a sense of humor. I see some people running around with excessive heat who are doing damage to the engine simply because they don’t have that little shot of oil which dissipates the heat. I am convinced there is no better lubricant for life than a sense of humor.
Yo-yos are good for children and for friends like Bunny Martin who as the Duncan World Champion traveled the world. But yo-yo lives are not productive for most adults. In fact, they make even the most sure-footed sea sick.
This week think about:
- What situations put me behind the wheel of a very small car?
- How am I practicing the art of extrapolating objectively? Weakness?
- How do I keep my sense of humor well oiled?
Words of Wisdom: “As we mature, we learn to lengthen our emotional wheelbase.”
Wisdom from the Word: “For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7 NET Bible)
To read more writings of Fred Smith go to www.breakfastwithfred.com