Be a proud work in progress

I once worked with a cantankerous fellow named Doug.

“If you wish success in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counsellor, caution your elder brother and hope your guardian genius.” — Joseph Addison, English essayist, poet, and politician

I once worked with a cantankerous fellow named Doug.

Colleagues sometimes referring to him as Old Thunder Cloud as he seemed to walk beneath a small, dark thunder cloud. We worked in a large building and my department had little interaction with Doug’s. It wasn’t until the company did some renovating that I began to encounter him in the hallways. For a couple weeks, he was kept busy transporting items from his old office to the new one.

One day I happened to be in Doug’s area of the building and found him carefully hanging a number of plaques on the wall of his office. Each was small and black with gold writing — the types you see in gift shops. When Doug left the room, I walked in and had a look. There must have been a dozen or more plaques each with an uplifting or inspiring message. It occurred to me that many of the messages seemed in contrast to Doug’s usual demeanour at the office.

I was about to leave when Doug returned. He seemed annoyed at first to find me there.

“I’m sorry,” I said, pointing to the wall. “I was just admiring your plaques.”

He looked at the plaques then back at me.

“I like the messages,” I said and smiled.

He stood there for a moment then walked over and pointed to one of the plaques.

“My wife started giving me one each year on our anniversary. This is her favourite.” He pointed to a plaque that featured the quotation, “Just be patient. I’m a work in progress.”

“And how is the work progressing?” I asked.

“Pretty slow,” Doug said and smiled. “But my wife says I’m worth the investment.”

What a great way to think of ourselves and the journey of self-esteem — as a work in progress. I like the quotation because it acknowledges that this journey requires effort and commitment. If we think of ourselves and others as works in progress, we’re likely to be more forgiving and tolerant.

When I think of the perseverance required to bring about personal change, I think of the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza from his book and now DVD Evolve Your Brain – The Science of Changing your Mind. Says Dispenza, “Cells that fire together, wire together.” According to Dispenza, over time we actually wire together neural networks of associated memories, feelings and experiences that support a particular way of thinking and being. We can wire together memories that support our success and progression, or a network of disempowering beliefs.

Take the emotion of love for example. We might assume that love would be represented by the wiring together of gentle and affectionate associations, and for many it is.

For others, however, the emotion of love may be comprised of memories associated with broken relationships and broken promises — with feelings of anger, bitterness, and heartbreak.

Each time we think of love, this network lights up. Not only that, each time it lights up, the connections grow stronger.

As with the love example, the lighting up of this network will create joy for some, anxiety and despair for others — both impacting choices and perception.

Despair not! Dispenza claims the opposite is also true: “Cells that no longer fire together, unwire.” By applying perseverance and dedication toward positive change coupled with a growing sense of self-awareness, we can actually create a new neural network and dismantle the old.

When an old network has failed to be energized for an extended period of time, the cells begin to lose their connection or commonality and eventually disconnect.

How long the process takes and how effective you’ll be in building new networks depends upon your level of commitment and understanding of techniques, principles and yourself.

Mark Twain said, “The miracle, or the power, that elevates the few is to be found in their industry, application and perseverance under the prompting of a brave, determined spirit.”

Forge on and be a proud work in progress. After all, you’re worth the investment.

Murray Fuhrer is a local self-esteem expert and facilitator. His new book is entitled Extreme Esteem: The Four Factors. For more information on self-esteem, check the Extreme Esteem website at www.extremeesteem.ca

Just Posted

Readers’ Choice Awards 2021
Best of Red Deer 2021: Winners list

Here’s the Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards 2021 winners list:… Continue reading

FILE - Albertans enter a COVID-19 mass immunization clinic in downtown Calgary, on May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Red Deer down to 115 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 165 new cases Sunday

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Canada head coach Bev Priestman reacts during the women’s international friendly soccer match between England and Canada at Bet365 stadium in Stoke on Trent, England on April 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Rui Vieira
Canada coach Bev Priestman hopes to see improved performance against Brazil

Priestman will likely field a more senior lineup to start Monday

Jimmy Smits arrives at a special screening of “In the Heights” during the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival at the TCL Chinese Theatre on Friday, June 4, 2021. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
Jimmy Smits figured he could carry a tune ‘In the Heights’

‘In the Heights’ follows dreams and struggles of Latino community in New York

Actress Devery Jacobs poses for photographs on the red carpet during the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto on Thursday, September 13, 2018. Jacobs grew up in the Kanien’kehá:ka Mohawk Territory in Quebec but says shooting her new TV series “Reservation Dogs” in the U.S. felt like “a sense of home. ” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Toronto-based Devery Jacobs on starring in Indigenous-led series ‘Reservation Dogs’

Series to make its world premiere at Tribeca Film Festival

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

A man wears a face mask as he walks by a sign for a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, May 16, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Canada paid a premium to get doses from Pfizer earlier than planned

OTTAWA — Canada paid a premium to get more than 250,000 doses… Continue reading

The Kamloops Indian Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., is shown in this 1930 handout photo. HO — Deschatelets-NDC Archives
Calls grow for Ottawa to review settlement decisions for residential school survivors

Lawyer Teri Lynn Bougie still cries when she talks about the final… Continue reading

Most Read