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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

What stops you?


"After the final no comes a yes."

—from Wallace Stevens poem "The Well Dressed Man With A Beard"

Things can stop you. There can be no doubt of that. A quarter of a million people were killed by the 2004 tsunami that raced across the Indian Ocean.

I work for a bankruptcy attorney. I see things that stop people all the time: illness, job loss, financial mismanagement, greed, mental illness.

So some things can stop you that you have no control over. And some that you do have control.

So what stops you?

Maybe you failed a couple of times and figure it's no use trying any more. Maybe you're a perfectionist that nothing is good enough for. Or you procrastinate. Yeah, there are million things that can stop you.

Sometimes it's not even a disgrace to be stopped. Half the work Leonardo da Vinci did was never completed. Then there is Franz Schubert's "Unfinished Symphony" and Mozart's "Requiem." Westminster Cathedral in London was left undone. And all of these things are considered great even in their unfinished states.

But some things really are a disgrace if you let them stop you. Things like giving up. Or being afraid. Or being lazy. Or not trying.

That's where the Wallace Steven's quote comes in. There is a "yes" coming into your life. You may not get to it. You may. But whatever you do, don't let the wrong things stop you from finding out.

So let the Grim Reaper take you out. Maybe you'll get struck by lightning.

Or maybe you won't.

Inspirational writer Catherine Ponder, herself an early failure, writes: "By refusing to give up or give in to failure, failure is finally worn out by your persistence and gives up its power to success."

A Japanese proverb says: "Fall seven times, stand up eight."

Your "yes" is out there waiting for you.