Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Power of Not Knowing

I was watching an episode of 30 something - that seminal drama from the mid 80s - early 90s about the lives and loves of 30 somethings from Philadelphia. It actually coined a new phrase ie 30 something, which is still being used today.

In the last episode, the main character,
Michael Stedman has left his job at the advertising agency, DAA and swears never to work in advertising again and is spending time with his wife, Hope and their two children.

Until he gets the call................................

He gets a call from an ad agency in Los Angeles, who want him to come and work for them. He is tempted, very tempted and tells Hope that he isn't really interested in the job, but would welcome the time to clear his mind.

He goes to LA - meets the ad agency, doesn't commit to anything, but meets up with his good friend and former business partner Elliott Weston. Elliott resigned from the ad agency they both worked for and is pursuing his dream directing commercials. Michael and Elliott had previously set up their own ad agency, which went out of business.

Reneging on his promise

Meeting up again with his old buddy has given Michael ideas. So whilst he doesn't want the ad agency job, he decides that he wants to move to LA to set up a commercials company with Elliott. Problem is when he mentions it to Hope, it feels like a fait accompli and she is furious and refuses to go to California.

She sees Michael as reneging on his promise not to work in advertising or anything advertising related - she perceives it as a backwards move. She then reapplies for a job in Washington which she had turned down previously and implies that she will leave him/file for divorce if he goes ahead.

Meeting his nemesis

In order to get collateral for his new company, Michael goes back to DAA agency with Elliott to secure a guarantee from them that they will work with the new commercials company. In doing so, Michael comes face to face with Miles Trentell, his nemesis. Michael resigned from DAA because of Miles' dubious sense of business ethics, he tried to ignore it until he felt that he was being compromised beyond his self respect.

As Miles, Elliott and Michael toast the success of this new company, Michael asks if anything will be different this time.

We then see Michael and Hope talking in the final scene. Michael has decided not to go ahead with the commercials company. In fact he wasn't ready to work at all at the moment. He was happy to stay in Philadelphia or move to Washington if she wanted the job.

I found this final episode a perfect way to end the series, but it also spoke of something bigger to me; the power of not knowing.

The Discomfort of Transition

Sometimes when we're in a transitional state (as Michael so clearly was), it can feel very uncomfortable to be there. We are so used to distracting ourselves away from reflection. Michael's intention was to ride through the transition, but when the call came (as it invariably does, it is ultimately a test of your resolve), it is tempting to go back to what was known - the security blanket, even if it was hated at the time.

And Michael does just that. But the threat of losing his family brought him to his senses and he withdrew from going back into the abyss with a known enemy (Miles Trentell) and associate (Elliott Weston).

The Power of Not Knowing

I remember something similar, having left a job at a charity, which took its toll on me and rather than giving myself some breathing space, I decided to go for another job, more local to me, cut down on commuting time. I had to prepare a presentation for the job interview and left some materials at a print shop to be collated.

However, I misread what time they closed and got back too late to retrieve my presentation. This was on Friday. The interview was on Monday. I then realised (or was forced to), that I didn't want the job in the first place; it was merely a knee jerk reaction to what Ithought I should be doing. I was too scared to give myself the space to think about what I wanted. Although I did eventually.

Relaxing Into That Space

Relaxing into the space of "do nothing" can be extraordinarily powerful, if you can sit still, release and be present long to experience this power. If you can relax into this space of not knowing - something, a sense of direction will reveal itself. However, the speed at which it arrives is directly proportionate to how much you can fully relax into it. And it is also indicative of whether you resist or allow abundance into your life.

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