it registers

I shared a lot from Todd Henry’s two books in my last post; here’s another gem I didn’t get to share, which was mentioned in Die Empty, but originally came from Abraham Maslow’s “Toward a Psychology of Being:”

“The serious thing for each person to recognize vividly and poignantly, each for himself, is that every falling away from species-virtue, every crime against one’s own nature, every evil act, every one without exception records itself in our unconscious and makes us despise ourselves. Karen Horney had a good word to describe this unconscious perceiving and remembering; she said it “registers.” If we do something we are ashamed of, it “registers” to our discredit, and if we do something honest or fine or good, it “registers” to our credit. The net results ultimately are either one or the other—either we respect and accept ourselves or we despise ourselves and feel contemptible, worthless, and unlovable.”

It reminds me of the self-coaching tool that I use: In every given moment, you get to choose whether to step forward into growth (+1) or backward into safety (-1). Every +1 and -1 registers; the goal is to have more +1 and less -1 each and every day. It’s that simple AND that complicated at the same time, right?

How are things “registering” in your life today? Are you accumulating +1’s throughout your day – or finding that you are engaged in more -1’s? Remember, EVERYTHING REGISTERS!

And if that wasn’t enough, check out these last words from Die Empty:

“I hope that this book has been helpful in some way in instilling a similar level of urgency in how you think about your life. You have a finite amount of focus, time, and energy to offer the world, and it can never be reclaimed once it’s spent. There’s no use in wasting your time lamenting the past, because you cannot change or control it. Rather, I urge you to focus on what’s next.

Ultimately, your life will be measured by what you gave, not what you received. Don’t hold out on the rest of us—we need you to contribute. Spend your life building a body of work you will be proud of. Engage today with urgency and diligence. Plant seeds every day that will yield a harvest later. Tomorrow is only an unfulfilled wish, so live and work as if today is all you have. If you do, you will be able to lay your head down each night satisfied with your work, and in the end, you will die empty of regret, but full of satisfaction for a life well lived.”

So, in this transition in my life, I continue to ask myself, “what now?” and “what’s next?” And then I’m reminded of this quote by Stephen Pressfield: “Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you got.”

And that’s my answer to “what’s next” – Give us what you got.


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