Sunday, October 5, 2008

Life is like...a dinner plate

Life is like…a dinner plate.

The items you place on your plate represent the responsibilities that you undertake in life. Carefully choose the responsibilities to ensure that you live a well balanced life just as you carefully select the items for your plate to ensure that you eat a well balanced meal. Our eyes sometimes deceive us to believe that we can eat more than we are actually hungry for just as our perceptions sometimes mislead us into believing that we can take on more responsibilities than we can handle. Time, accompanied by trial and error, strengthens our ability to accurately identify the amount of food we can eat and also our ability to accurately identify the level of responsibility that we can handle.

Fill your plate slowly. Take what you know you can eat, and if you’re still hungry go back for more rather than overfilling it in the beginning and finding yourself unable to finish every bite. Overfilling your plate can prompt some items to spill off the side which could, in turn, cause the entire plate to spill, resulting in the loss of all items. In the context of life, assume responsibilities that you know you can manage and as you satisfactorily carry out those responsibilities then add more. Exceeding your capacity for responsibility can result in poor execution of some responsibilities and may ultimately yield the loss of all responsibilities.

Another consequence that may exist when the plate of food becomes too full is that some or all of the items might merge together to create a new flavor. The flavor of the newly discovered food combinations may appeal to certain individuals, while others may be turned off by the taste. The new flavor represents the result of a merger of various responsibilities that are added to the plate of life. And, just like the plate that is loaded with overlapping items, the overlapping responsibilities may appeal to some people, while others dislike the newfound combination.

People have individual taste buds for food, and also for responsibilities. The flavors and responsibilities that induce pleasure in one person can vary slightly or dramatically from the next person. It’s important to identify others with similarities to you and analyze and/or sample some of their combinations to determine if they align with your taste. But, caution yourself to avoid commitment to the new combinations until you know that they are a good fit for you, until you know that they will fit well with the other items on your plate. If you fill your plate too quickly with food based solely on another’s recommendation, you risk the chance that you will dislike the flavor, yet lack room for alternate choices. Similarly, if you rapidly assume responsibilities based solely on another’s recommendation, you risk the chance that you will dislike the outcome, yet lack the time required to undertake responsibilities that are designed for you.

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