"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending." -- Maria Robinson
Many people consider a New Year to be a new beginning. They make resolutions for what they want to begin doing this year, for example, exercise everyday. The problem with that is when something happens to prevent them doing that once they feel like they have failed and give up.
Instead think of your life as a journey. You can't go back and change where you have already been so you can't begin over. The only thing you can change is where you are going. Then the New Year becomes an intersection where you can change your destination, for example living a healthier lifestyle that will prolong your health and allow you to enjoy more activities. Exercise is a part of that lifestyle. However, if you miss a day, you haven't failed. You have just taken a slight detour or paused for a rest stop. You can still get back on the path to reach your ultimate goal.
I chose exercise as an example because I have recently earned the ScoutStrong PALA (Presidents Active Lifestyle Award) patch. It is a joint effort by Boy Scouts of America and the Obama Administration to encourage a healthier lifestyle. The goal for adults is to be physically active for at least thirty minutes a day. (The goal for youth is to be physically active for at least sixty minutes a day.) There are also nutritional goals like eating fish at least once a week. What I found interesting is that to succeed you only had to meet your goal five days a week during six out of eight weeks. In other words you can miss your goal a quarter of the time and still be successful because meeting your goal three fourths of the time will have a tremendous positive impact on your life. I also found that having a goal instead of a rule gave me the freedom to go beyond expectations. There were some days I was active for sixty to ninety minutes. There were other days I decided not to be active at all. I considered those to be rest stops on my journey that made the rest of my trip easier to continue. After earning my badge I have so far been able to continue a more active lifestyle.
The same approach works with your entertainment skills. Suppose you want to become a more skilled juggler and set a goal of practicing ten minutes a day. You don't have to do it every day in order to succeed. Detours and pauses are just a part of the journey.
Here is a different application of the changing the ending principle. This is how I think of it in audience interactions. In my juggling act I have an audience member join me on stage. I start a plate spinning on a stick and then prepare to transfer it to their raised forefinger. Just before I actually transfer the plate, I pause and use a feather duster to clean off the end of their finger which usually gets a laugh. One day I was performing in the recreation room at a city park and brought a four-year old boy up on stage. When he heard the laughter, he started crying, bolted from the stage, and ran out the door. I didn't want the routine to end with him being upset. First, I knew that nobody else would volunteer during the rest of my show. More importantly I didn't want that to be his lasting memory of interacting with a clown. I immediately left the stage and went outside. I knew the audience could see me through the windows. I called to him that I was sorry. I told him that the kids were laughing at me not at him. I promised him that if he returned with me, all the kids would be applauding him in a moment. He agreed, and soon he was beaming as the audience applauded and cheered his success at balancing the spinning plate on his finger. I think the adults cheered the most because they recognized the courage it took for him to return to my stage. Whenever I interact with an audience member I do everything I can to make sure it ends as a pleasant memory for them.
What would you like to change about your life and career? What destination would you like to reach? What path would take you there?
In interactions with others what can you do to change the ending no matter how things begin?