I have mowed my lawn for an entire summer again — but not all of it effectively. I could tell something wasn’t right as I mowed my lawn once more: mower wheel tracks still showed in areas yet to be mowed. It caused me to look more carefully.
I looked more carefully and could see a pattern in my lawn. A well-worn repetition allowed some grass to be cut, while some, pressed down by my mower’s wheels, had learned my approach so well, that the grass had begun to grow in a sideways direction to avoid the mower’s blades. My habitual work was so fixed that stripes of aslant growing grass had become the norm. A closer look exposed flawed results and motivated me to alter a behavior and replace it with a new course that would give me a more consistently clipped lawn.
Beginning a new course always takes more time than simply doing the same thing over and over again. So, I have to admit, that when I began to implement the change, it made me feel uncomfortable as well as hopeful. Uncomfortable, because I had to engage in the task differently while hoping it would all be worth it in the end. Fortunately, after I put my lawn equipment away and walked onto the green for a little verification, I could see that it was worth it.
The thought, “Varying the way I go about living my life, in small ways, can produce an amazingly different and positive outcome,” popped into my mind as if blown there by an autumn afternoon breeze. It seemed an especially appropriate thought to have while breathing in fresh, clean fall air and seeing snow-capped Oquirrh Mountains above my home. So now I want to search for additional positive outcomes.
Attention given to finding new, possible positive outcomes, created through examination of well-worn repetition and naturally occurring changes of season, can expose flaws and motivate a person to make small, yet impactful changes. It is exactly this kind of attention that is causing me to look more deeply at other potentially circular habits and actions that could use change.
After all, you and I have been living our lives for an entire summer again. Well, not necessarily in the most effective way possible. Perhaps you and I can see the tracks created by the way we’ve been comfortably living. Those tracks are giving us an opportunity to strive for more positive results.
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.