For me, the term religion has become a synonym for fulfillment – the fulfillment of the potential within me. My Religion Of One, will only be as real as the fulfillment of my intentions. What it comes down to, is simply waking up each day and staying committed to the act of merging what I want to do, with what I can do, and creating results, despite the distractions and temptations which surround me. I want these past four essays, (Taking Back My Potential, parts I, II, and III) to be more than words, because they are more than words – they have become my essence.
Priorities, And The Art Of Letting Go
Among my more immediate goals are to write a book, to volunteer in my community, to work more, to read more, and most importantly, to better nurture the relationships which matter most in my life. I believe I have the potential to fulfill all of the above. But I can’t approach it without disconnecting from some other aspects of my life, and that will be hard.
Some relationships will suffer, that I better nurture others. Some aspects of my personal time will need to be amended, others eliminated altogether. Time will need to be maximized, and there will definitely be some “doing without” in my life for the first time in years. Even my fitness agenda is going to be significantly streamlined. Every aspect of my life, but for a few relationships and my business, are subject to the chopping block.
Discipline, And The Act Of Change
What I have lacked has been discipline. I have lived the last decade of my life at standing at the intersection of Just Getting By, and I Just Don’t Want It Bad Enough. My priorities, relative to my potential, have been atrocious. Work has been a low priority. Though I work hard, I play in equal portion and I have not maximized the potential of my business. Sleep has been a low priority. Though I go to bed at 8:30, I take my laptop with me and watch lectures on i-Tunes, trade emails, or mindlessly Facebook into the wee hours, only to net about 4-5 hours of sleep over a 8-9 hour period. That behavior must stop.
Using money properly has been among the lowest of priorities in my life; such as the $16,000 I have spent on i-Tunes over an 8 year period (the equivalent of a used Lexus). There’s also the $200 per month I spend on wine and tequila, the $300 per year I spend on chewing gum, or the $500 per month I spend eating out. Those I truly love, and who love me back as much or more, have been far too low a priority; I need to reach out more.
The forces at the heart of this lack of fulfillment have been laziness and selfishness. That may seem harsh and excessively self-critical, but if the assertions in a prior paragraph is true, that I do have the potential to write a book, grow my business, and serve more in my community, then why have they not been fulfilled…? Of course that is rhetorical, but I know the answer.
The Religions That Bind
So how have I made this stretch, within four essays, from building my own religion to simply fulfilling my own potential…? Because fulfilling my potential has taken its place in the pantheon of my polytheistic madness, alongside exercise, love, creativity, and music, as one of my religions of choice – and I mean that in the most literal use of that term. When my daughter was once asked by a friend, “What does your dad do for a living?” She replied, “I don’t know, I think he’s just busy being Roy Cohen…” Indeed, and here I go again.
I say often that in a Mad Max world, I like my odds. I have never been much of a church or synagogue guy. Not because I don’t appreciate their value in society, but because I’m hard-wired to go it alone – it’s just always been that way. I’m just a self-taught kinda guy, finally willing to admit that my religion too, must be self-taught. And though I may be picking and choosing from the tenets of others, and may have ended up with a derivative faith, as Christianity is derivative of Judaism, at the end of the day, my faith is my faith and my brand is my brand, and they are both very dear to me.
When I look closely at those who have most inspired me, and they are many, among their common threads are the abilities to avoid distraction, to stay on task, and that they have been largely self-taught in the areas where they excel. And for those who may wish to criticize me for taking this path, because the God you suggest is the real God was here before any of us, then wouldn’t he too have been self taught…? And if that God did create me in his own image, then perhaps being self taught is one plausible direction for the discovery of truth… Be well. rc
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Please check back in two weeks, for a new article – subject TBD. Oh, and there is this from James McMurtry. Enjoy…