28 August 2008

A Commitment to Extraordinary

I once had a philosophy professor who was a fascinating fellow. As a monk, he had kept a vow of silence for about a decade. By the time he was teaching us, he had things to say. I remember, at lunch, he once advised a couple of us young guys (I would have been about 18 or 19) not to ask a woman for a date – at least, not directly. Instead, he said, plan a great outing and then let her know that you’re going to do that and you’d be happy to have her along.

I’ve come to think that this is apt advice for any relationship. Work first on creating an extraordinary life, a great outing, if you will. And then invite people along. If you are going to see a beautiful sunset or painting, or walking through a great park, or eating at an extraordinary restaurant or any number of wonderful things, people will probably want to come along. They may even invite themselves. If you create a great life – one that is engaging, enjoyable, and meaningful - you’re likely to bring along others in your wake. They’ll be compelled to come along.

And even if you don’t bring along certain people on your trip to extraordinary, you still get to go to extraordinary. If you plan an extraordinary evening and get it right, it’ll be extraordinary whether or not the date you’d like to bring is with you. Given you can’t control other people, it’s probably best to make your commitment first to extraordinary. That’s not a bad environment for any relationship to unfold.

If you commit to a relationship first, you might find yourself compromising on extraordinary. and if you commit to extraordinary first, it is the rare person who - particularly if they are already in a relationship with you - won't want to come along.


exskindiver said...

Mr. Davison,
Any chance I could hire you as my life coach?

texasholly said...

I am still reeling that anyone could stay silent for 10 years AND THEN TALK.

What made him talk? What changed his mind? How did he end up teaching? (Do you sense the need for a part two of this post?)

As for the rest. Pure genius. I think is another way of stating the law of attractions. Fun begets fun (I was hoping to use the word begets today...hopefully I did it correctly).

Anyway, I loved this.

Ron Davison said...

I am so glad that you asked. I have been wondering how to broach this topic with regular readers - looking for some opening for suggesting various life changes. Given that you've asked, I think it'd be great if you started getting up at 4 AM, running at 4:30 for 30 minutes and 5 miles, doing deep breathing exercises for an hour from 5 to 6 (or what I like to call gasping for breath), and then lying in bed for about four hours feeling kind of woozy. Once you've got that down (might take a few weeks), we can discuss certain exercises for overcoming shyness.

Thank you. Your comments could beget a post but I really don't know why my prof began to talk. I vaguely recall that he finally articulated in his own mind what his worldview was and what he had to say.

Jennifer H said...

There are many of us who could have used that advice at the same age you received it. Or now.

I have a feeling that advice will stay with me.

Gypsy at Heart said...

I just booked my travel plans to Extraordinary. Even though, to be truthful even while sounding frightfully immodest, I think I'm nearly there. ;-)

Wonderful post Ron. Better than your normal average and that's saying much.

Jordan said...

Thanks for the post, Dad. I think that it draws the same conclusion that I came to when I realized that I have to be someone that I enjoy spending time with before I can hope that others will want to spend their time with me..a conclusion that sprung from something we heard at Santee about watering the grass on your own side of the fence (when the grass looks greener on the other side). I've tried this and it works, but it does take some deliberate doing.

Ron Davison said...

I wish I could say that I used this advice well. This might have been the best use to which I've put that advice - as an intro to a point I was trying to make.

I've made nearly 800 posts. I hope that about half are above average. and I should have yo guest post about what it is like to actually live in the land of extraordinary as opposed to just wandering around in search of it.

daughter of mine or not, it is poor form to say so much more succintly and effectively what took me paragraphs to partially convey. Well done, my dear.