Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The A, B, C's...revisited

In my anxiety and distress, I have been reaching out to anyone within corporeal distance. I’ve been grasping for some local sense of security, or advice, or maybe even a bit of sympathy. Of the latter, there is an abundance- and if not sympathy, then it is empathy- and considerable amounts of commiseration. I’m actually getting sick of wallowing in my own self-pity, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m beginning to irritate those on the receiving end as well.

Therefore, when I heard back from my friend Andreu, who has accomplished everything in his life that I hope to accomplish myself one day, I took his advice a bit more seriously than that of other students or friends- with biased or subjective opinions.
Andreu wasn’t sympathetic…which was perfectly fine.
Sympathy is overrated.
What he did do though, is give me a framework within which I am meant to assess and organize my thoughts and pretty much, my daily life.

I cannot say that I will be able to follow this advice, but it was excellent nonetheless. Maybe it will be of aid to individuals in my similar position (i.e. MBA students, mid-20 somethings attempting to combine their dreams with their realities, and anyone else just a little bit lost).
Actually, I have no doubt that it will be of use to someone, somewhere.

He wrote:

“ Write down your goal on a piece of paper, frame it and put it somewhere in your bedroom, in front of your desk, or anywhere where you will see it often.
All the things that you do in life are in one of these three categories:

A) Things that are basic needs for living (i.e. eating well , sleeping, washing, defecating and a few others)

B) Things that will help you reach your goal (attending classes at ESADE, studying, reading The Economist, going to the library, planning your studying time, spending time working with people who are focused on the same goal, etc…)

C) Things that are irrelevant to reach your goal (going to parties, traveling to Rome, drinking alcohol, answering e-mails from friends, browsing irrelevant web pages on the internet, talking about irrelevant things with others, and a million of other things we all do in our lives….you know what I am talking about…)

Every time that your do something think in which one of these three categories you are and do the following:

If you are in C then you are not focusing. Stop doing C and go to B.
If you are in B you are focusing, stay in B and persist.
If you are in A, finish soon and move to B.

Spend your time, or better said, invest your time in things that are in the B category. And from time to time take a break to do some things on the A category.
The more time you invest on things that belong to the B category, the closer you will be to your goal.

Easy… isn´t it? But not so easy to implement. 
Especially for a woman full of heavy duty artillery like you who adores life and has an inner power to enjoy everything, do everything, meet everyone, etc..

Don´t you agree?”

Not only did I agree, but Andreu’s final words proved that he really does know me- and get me- and after all that, still speaks with me! “Heavy duty artillery”..,love it…had to include it. In fact, maybe that’s why I liked the advice so much.

However, there is something to be said for this plan. And then, there is something to be said about how incongruous (as stated) this agenda is based in view of the context (context being me).

I responded frankly, quickly (because responding to e-mails from friends is in category C), and bluntly with:

“I like this advice, although it is going to be quite difficult for me to follow it.
I have to all makes perfect sense.
Here’s my problem: sometimes I can’t see beyond B. I know where I want to be...but I have a problem when it comes to "living for the future". To me- come siempre- it has always been about the NOW aspect of my life. Today is where I focus. Not tomorrow and definitely not yesterday.

I couldn’t care less about the A's....because they get done regardless of our desires. The C's are where I reside- and the Bs? I have a hard time visualizing the advantages of surrendering the C’s.

I do know what I want, I have a relatively good idea of where I want to be, and I sort of know how to get there…but I often question whether I will ever get “there”- so I inadvertently choose to focus on the Cs and hope that the Bs will come- naturally. By default. Everyday, I hope for the theoretical result of living by the B’s while concocting some type of formula of the necessary A’s, a few B’s, and an abundance of C’s.
With that said. I love the Cs....I live a C-focused life. I was born to be a C.
Now, how does one convert to B?
and yes, being someone like me- this theory is exactly that, great in theory...but implementation may cause a few problems.

What about defining my goal? What is my goal?
There is SO MUCH…too much for a plaque on my wall or an inscription atop a notebook. Maybe I want so much that subconsciously, I know it will never happen and then the B’s become immaterial. So why waste my time?”

It’s funny. In elementary school, during the very first part our preliminary educations- we learn the “A, B, C’s.” As we were learning them, as best as I can remember, we feel a bit burdened. It’s exasperating- protracted- but once we have them down-pat, and with a perfect understanding of their usage, they become imperative in everything else we do- the basis for the remainder of our educations. We never forget these lessons- no matter how difficult they were to accept or appreciate.
And now, Andreu has outlined an entirely new series of “A, B, C’s”- The basic groupings of our daily activities- the actions that fill our days and define our futures- where we will end up. Maybe its best to bring it back to basics- everything in life is cyclical right? Accept these new A, B, C’s as universal truths- common understandings that we need to regulate and classify with a necessity for acceptance in order to succeed.

And like our first ever A,B,C’s, these new A,B,C’s will become the basis on which everything else lies…and sorting through them in our minds- and defining the framework for ourselves, will be the way in which we operate within the world- and more immediately, within the MBA.

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