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How to gauge for better choices
by Joseph Jagde
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ís important to be able to gauge yourself and your development as you make choices down the road. The first question is what do you need to gauge.

If we are hiking, we might need to gauge the terrain, the changing weather conditions, the relative distance to the available time we have, the daylight conditions. We might need to gauge our direction with a compass.

In our job, we might want to gauge and possibly calibrate how well we are doing with the work, our satisfaction, our work product, our feelings of engagement and whether what we are doing is something we want to develop further or is something that we have reached a peak at and started into a dropoff, or basically going backwards.

We may want to gauge our principles in an ongoing situation, as to whether they really apply or they are one step removed from where we are and we might need to rely more an a reading of our actual experience rather than precepts which might be not enough and lacking an experiencial base. Can I experience this in a hoped for way. How am I experiencing this? Indeed anything I am experiencing has a continuance aspect because conditions are changing.

Just because you are a little to the left or right, doesnít mean your not expanding from a common point, or you wouldnít arrive their later.

Just because we were off course this time doesnít mean we will not get there with everybody or anybody else, or that we are still not still dealing with commonalities and concerns shared by others.

There is the issue of continuance, acceleration, transformation or reduction. We arenít going to get an answer unless we go to bat in some way. How do you know if you could ever get a hit if you donít get up at bat?

Continuance is just continuing on with an interest on a somewhat similar path. What the new things and experiences consist of isnít that much different and doesnít require radical changes and outright transformations. An example of continuance is getting a job after college. The material or content of the job might not be all that much different than the coursework in college and may even be a direct continuation of your studies.

Reduction deals also with my own perspective. I was riding a bicycle to the beach and as numerous cars went by and I more slowly went on my way to the beach, I said to myself, I am reduced to doing this, riding a bicycle. Granted I like riding a bicycle but I felt like this at that moment. Everybody else was zipping by in a car and I momentarlly felt like a second class citizen of the road way instead of just enjoying the bike ride.

Acceleration is a more marked increase in an already plain or blantant interest or approach.

A lot of what we do or are trying to do is actually continuance with acceleration. The fear factor seems to be in the acceleration, which is seen as more of a transformation than a continuation which is just building on something you actually do have already. The thought being that the acceleration involves more of a transfer or transformation that we might not be able to make. But it often doesnít require transformation but just a continuance of what is already there in a more accelerated fashion.

Demonstrated intelligence can be demonstrated in more than one setting. Maybe Einstein was also street smart. If I have the intelligence it is more of an overall intelligence that I can rely on in numerous situations and its not just isolated to this task or the particular subject I am working with now. So there is a continuance there that I can rely upon.

I might reduce my thinking to the box I am already in. In fact, I may have reduced myself to rags in my thinking. A reduction could be just a perspective on a seeming reality. Being a voyeur of any type can be a reduction because I begin to center on this approach, I have totally reduced out of any real participation. We might have a reduction of our imaging, why dream and why not just get real. The girl who is mad at her last date doesnít talk to the next guy, reducing her current landscape in that area. The next guy is the guilty never to be proven innocent victim of her reduction in her thinking. Instead of fostering new plans Iíve reduced my horizons. The paradox being that the reduction may not be the safer course. I might reduce my thinking to fit around the circumstances and situation I am already stuck in, getting myself into circular patterns. Ever get lost and end up in the same spot an hour later?

Then also a seeming reduction could involve acceleration. Reducing weight may result in increased energy, being lighter on ones feet and more nimble and open up ways of feeling that hadn't been there.

Why did I feel I was involved in a reduction by riding a bike to the beach? I guess because the cars had been getting there so fast to the surf and fun, that I felt it was a slower form of transportation. Also, the cars dominated the roadway I was at some points the lone cyclist and pushed to the side of the road. And I had been in previous weeks zipping to the beach by car in say 40 minutes where it took me close to 2 hours by bicycle and I wanted to have more beach time within the day. While if I had been riding a bike to the beach all along the reduction I felt may not have been so apparent. But then again we could be involved in a continuous real reduction as well, never having gotten to the apparent next level that we feel we are reduced from. So the reduction can be perceived in relation to a prior reality or it can be something that is perceived from what I could potentially be doing, but may in fact have never done. So I think we might feel we are involved in a reduction if we have been doing things in a different fashion or in involved in a continual reference to a previous way of doing things. That I have been involved in a reduction could be an illusion itself. There is the illusion of no choices and no options when indeed I do have some of those choices and options, even if they are seemingly partially hidden from my own view. If I had been walking to the beach previously, I might have felt riding a bike was an acceleration as a form of transportation. . But I might have also felt I was reduced to riding a bicycle even I hadnít been driving a car to the beach in previous weeks. And maybe even if I had a speed or racer bike that had gotten me to the beach fairly quickly I might still have said this is a reduction. But, sometimes it is good to stay with the thought, that I am reduced to this. There might be some actual truth to this and what you want to do is catch the broader outlines and also the specifics of why this might be so. It might very well be, that you are involved in a reduction, that truthfully is a reduction, you are operating way below potential and you need to find out what the unreduced position really is, cause that is where you can continue from and accelerate from. As time goes on, you might get so used to this, you lose sight of your potential. If you are hearing the same drumbeats over and over again, you believe them for their frequency. You might have had infrequent visits to your potential, and that might be in part your fault. But the reduction becomes so believable that it isn't seen as a reduction any more as far as what I believe, and I lose sight of the truth and don't continue on, because of the false reduction I'm involved in. So going on with my bike ride example, feeling reduced to riding a bike, may have causes me to actually turn around, and lose all beach time instead of the time I did actually lose by taking longer to get to and from the beach. And indeed I was getting excercise and I wasn't reduced in that way.

We fear acceleration as being more of a transformation. But if we look at what we are trying to do, a lot of times itís just an acceleration based more on continuance than a transformation and isnít as big a deal as we think it is. If your attracted to something and you pursue it more hands on, it is a more of a continuance of that prior interest. We have already been involved even if it is just at the level of an apparent interest that has been more in the thinking stage previously rather than an action stage. I am apprehensive about taking 5 courses in one semester but I have been taking courses all along. I am doing a new job predicated on good reading ability but I have been reading in varied areas for a long time, so it is more having continuance in its aspects than an outright transformation, so there shouldnít be as much of a fear as what we are doing is more of a continuing nature than the more difficult transformation.

One thing to ponder, am I actually involved in a reduction? How reduced I am. Remember the Mick Jagger song, Shattered. He said he was in tatters. Right there in old London with Oliver Twist, just trying to get a bowl of soup. Is it that bad? Interestingly, Mick is traveling as an international celebrity from mansion to mansion writing and singing such songs as this. Within what I am doing, can I honestly say that I have been reduced to doing this? Was my bike ride a real reduction or did I just feel that way. If I had been able to get their faster, I would have been there for more of the day.

The reduced form can also be unrealistic. I am singing into a towel, rather than a microphone. Based on this, I don't want to sing at the singing bar. But the reduced way that I am singing, shouldn't be the basis for decision as to whether I continue to sing in another forum. I should be thinking more about how I am going to sing in a non reduction situation and base my decisions on continuance with how that is going.

And then maybe I am involved in a real reduction. I was making a million now Iím broke. I am walking down the riverside talking to myself when I used to have two-way conversations with others.

Or say I am walking with a cane. I do feel this is a reduction. Maybe I had been walking without a cane previously and now I need the cane. So against the past freedom of walking without a cane, I feel a reduction. Or even if I have always walked with a cane, I feel like almost everybody else seems to walk unaided and I feel like I am not a part of this, I feel restricted and alienated from the cane free population.

Or maybe I am so mad at myself for having to walk with a cane that I shoot myself in the foot, only this will cause further reduction, exacerbating the problem.

There are many situations where I can gauge a reduction, transformation, a continuation or a continuation with acceleration. I run the marathon. I had a time last year of 5 hours. This year I run it in 2 hours and 30 minutes. A transformation. Or I run the marathon this year at 4.45 or 5.15, which is a continuation. I run the race this year at 3.45, which is a continuation with acceleration. I run the marathon is 6 and half hours this year, which is a reduction from the established time the previous year of 5 hours.

I am playing for the Triple A affiliate this year of a major league baseball team. I hit 2.50 with 10 home runs in 400 at bats. I go up to the majors next year I hit 3.20 with 34 home runs. Thatís a transformation.

I play one year in the majors and I hit 2.69 with 14 home runs. My next season in the majors I hit 2.90 with 21 home runs, which is a continuation with acceleration. I hit 2.85 the following year from that year with 24 home runs which is a continuation. The year after that I hit 2.30 with ten home runs while having a similar number of at bats which gives me a reduction and maybe a reduced contract.

I have no dates for ten years. A friend introduces me to Cindy Crawford who likes me and continues to seek my company on a regular basis. A seeming transformation you would assume. But the more likely scenario is that I have been involved in a long time reduction in selling myself short in that Cindy is also an intelligent woman who would be able to see what the story is and wouldnít be interested unless I was a top prospect.

JFK suddenly is giving these great speeches for the first time. A transformation you would think. More than likely, he had been involved in a reduction and could have been giving great speeches all along. Maybe he was sitting in the corner of the office involved in intense legal research and no active dialogue similar to giving speeches and therefore was reduced from that aspect he had.

A sports example could be the current St. Louis quarterback Kurt Warner who has had an MVP season in the league. Several years ago he was out of football working as a clerk in a store. Is he transformed now? To be as good as he is now, he had to be at least deserving of being in the league then so more likely he was originally involved in a reduction as per his football abilities and might only have been on the path of a continuation with acceleration.

Common examples of continuation with acceleration are just doing a bit more. Say if I read 4 fiction books a year I continue with that but I read ten fiction books this year. I run 10 miles a week and I increase that total to 20 miles a week. Or I improve my golf score from 96 to 84 on a per round basis.

What do you do if you are involved in a reduction? An example of a reduction could be that I am making a half a million dollars a year at Merrill Lynch and I get fired and I canít find a similar job. I have a reduction in front of me. Do I give up on everything and further reduce or do I look for a transformation? I should first look to see what I have that I can continue with. The transformation might be more difficult. Maybe I have good acting skills, which helped me with my interactions at work, and I could have an acting career. This might be a continuation of a quality I already have that I could also possible accelerate. But I also think I could be a pro basketball player. I however have some basketball skills but I have been sitting in the office and playing for the office team the last 5 years so I am looking at more of a transformation that might be too difficult.

Going back to the person who wanted felt reduced because he was walking with a cane. He shouldnít further reduce by shooting himself in the foot because he canít find the hoped for transformation but he stil look either for a continuation or continuation with acceleration where maybe with strengthening exercises he can walk more quickly with the cane. When transformation is too unbelievable, I can still believe in continuation or continuation with acceleration. The real twist here, I might be so reduced in my thinking, that, the continuation or the continuation with acceleration, either of which could be fairly easy to implement, get's lost because I lost my starting line. I don't even think I deserve to be in the race, because of my reduced thinking. I couldn't run a 5 minute mile, so I reduced myself out of the idea of enjoying a 10-k at all. I couldn't get a date with the super model, so I reduced myself to thinking I was not a desirable date for anyone. So the easy continuations and continuations with accelerations, also rather easy, have the daunting look of a transformation, because of the reduction that I have been involved with. So here, I am facing a false transformation, but since it seems real, feels real, it has the same affect on my decision making process as a real transformation, hence, the danger of reduced thinking. I have just gotten myself into more situations that I feel need to be transformed.

The so-called better idea of less doesnít necessarily give us the desired traits or expand on that list. Al Gore in his recent campaign for President had said to the people, I would fight for you. He had an abundance of attractive daughters by his side. If he didnít have their presence, having less on that front, would his message have been more valid? If we restrict and restrain ourselves, have less, does our message become more humble in itís intent, more stoic and hence more believable. I believe a message can be sent from varied podiums, which could include the podium of real or perceived abundance. His message was not reduced or lessened by the seeming abundance of his circumstances and prior record of service. His message remained intact or was still in one piece not in a more reduced form. But some might believe that being more austere, that giving up things results in the message that less is more, or this is the secret message being sent by code. It might be the more, bigger, better, ect, fits you and where you want to go and weaves better into your overall potential. Not that you want to start out thinking, I have to have more, or bigger ect, but ruling this out, is not the way to go either. What might befit you and the situation depends. Say someone is going for a part in a movie, and they say, I'll just take something with a line or two. But maybe they do fit for a lead character, a bigger part. The reduced form, isn't the best fit for here and now. Bigger and more is better in this situation.

Can I deliver the message I want to deliver to the audience abroad and the audience at home which could also include myself, from any state I am in, from abundance I can handle this call from that center.

Al Gore delivers his message I will fight for you, with his evidence of his personal abundance further highlighted by the presence of his attractive daughters. At the same time, we speak to ourselves deliver the message I will fight for you. Moving forward for you, accepting abundance, as well, Al Gore gave his message as a continuance of his previous record. He fought for us he said as a serviceman in Vietnam , as Senator from Tennessee , as Vice President of the United States and he would accelerate this as President of the United States . So his message was deemed as more of a continuance into acceleration, rather than a personal transformation.

Can I allow the gauges to operate whether Iím low on fuel and involved in some sort of reduction and also whether if Iím high on fuel and involved in an acceleration. If Al Gore had spoken from a cloistered monastery, saying I will fight for you, would his message have had more validity? If we can deliver the message from different podiums, which could could also be a more global podium that is inclusive of both areas of reduction or abundance, acceleration, or even transformation. None of which clouds our ability, viability and validity to say what we want to say and how to deliver the message, both interiorly to ourselves and to the outer world, allowing ourselves to gauge development from all the possible positions I have stood on and I could yet stand upon. I need to be able to speak the message both to the wider audience and myself. Like Al Gore, I will fight for you and you can say to yourself first I will do this. So.

Al Gore had spoken probably more out of continuance with acceleration. He has a sense of fighting for his State of Tennessee as a Senator, his country in his service in Vietnam , as Senator and as Vice President of the country, and for his family including his daughters and their continuing pathways in their personhood. He didnít take flight from who he was and who he had been in his message. But again his message has two audiences, the one being me and you and the other being he. He was sending the message to himself as well as us that I will fight for you.

How would I take to Alís message if he had less credentials, less ideas, less abilities and experiences in the government, less abilities to lead effectively. His message might have been perceived as mixed if he went to Canada to avoid Vietnam . He was talking about a continuance of his record with acceleration into doing more. He wasnít saying he would be a transformed person. He had already hit some home runs. There would more home runs. And when we go to the game we want home runs and the further the better. Donít tell me you donít have the home run swing.

Even where we live, we need to gauge whether another location could be of interest, whether we would prefer an area with a somewhat different weather pattern, style of living, a better road system, more or less people or population density.

We can gauge whether we have options or we seem to be in a dead end situation no matter which way we turn. We can gauge whether or not there needs to be or there are long-term ramifications to what we are trying develop now. I can come to conclusions with the ability and option to disengage if I so choose.

We can gauge our ability to move in and out of situations or whether we have a level of interest that remains or is waning and I am on the decline as far as this is concerned. Monitor the ongoing situation against continuing options and presenting opportunities. There can be many options and opportunities on a bumpy road as well. In the situation that can be most difficult what are the options, opportunities, and background stories only in sight but somewhat out of sight. Just because something isnít in sight now doesnít mean it isnít there. The iceberg was there for the Titanic. More positively the Golden Fleece was there for Jason. What might have been seemingly in the background is in the distance, but it can start to come into the forefront and take form.

But to get the proper gauge, I need to put some development to process. Can I really gauge if Iím a good runner if I have no training and then decide to run a marathon. Can I really gauge if I have home run potential if I never had an at bat. Can I totally gauge my level of interest in Florida if Iíve never been there?

But we realize even at the very beginning stages of development that we are working with certain tools within certain confines and limitations.

I do like to hike and swim, but I can presently pretty much gauge that I canít climb Mt. Everest or swim the English Channel as some people have. Sometimes Iím starting with a ballpark range of what I can do. I have potential but I donít think its sky high. Itís probably better to keep my estimation of my abilities in the ballpark range.

But the ballpark Iím in becomes obscured if I continue to postpone, procrastinate, and push aside my development. As time goes by, I donít even realize I can play the game.

We might begin to lose touch with an idea, a beginning, a concept, which we could pursue.

We disengage from the process involved or somehow believe we are developing something when in fact we are not, we are actually doing nothing. If the process itself is not going well then it might be more difficult to gauge ourselves with less of an engagement or motion forward. Or we might be skimming the surface, continuing to tread lightly, and that is difficult to gauge. As I go forward, I can further immerse into a situation I can better gauge my situation.

Then, I might be in situations where I feel relatively detached and disengaged, this might be good if it lends to objectivity and viewing things for a detached distance, but if I am immersed, and I'm disengaged while being immersed or heavily involved, then I am only headed for trouble in the long run. An example might be someone in a job they really don't like but can bring a good performance level to. What happens, is the immersion in the work, happens with a level of disegagement that also puts me away from reading the situation, and the interest in the job just isn't there. Being disengaged, yet still putting face time into a situation, does tend toward turning the gauges off. If you have to do it, you have to do it, such as doing a job you don't like for the money.. But realize that you probably would have to change course to get a better guage of what would be more appropriate and fullfilling. If you put yourself in a position where you have better and better levels of engagement, you can do better for yourself as far as gauging the situation and gauging your potentialities for a wider, more prominent ways of involving yourself. If I am reading a book that isn't at more than a 4th grade level and I don't even like the subject, this doesn't give me a good gauge on my level of interest in reading more demanding and intriguing literature and whether I could and might continue doing that.

I want to read this book, but I browse through a page or two and then conclude my efforts towards this endeavor.

Or maybe we havenít been able to gauge our approach, our interest or what we actually want to do. Then maybe itís better to loosen the reigns, scan the skies and shores, remove those blinders and give ourselves permission to scan the field, roam the range, crossing into new horizons.

As we begin to develop, letís gauge whatís happening here. Maybe there is a case of over development. Iíve developed this job, this hobby, into my whole life. I havenít kept the gauges on for other things.

So, hey, gauges verse just a gauge. We need to be monitoring more than one thing.

A simple idea of the weight loss would involve monitoring lifestyles and changes involving exercise and diet.

We drive a car, we not only gauge the level of fuel, but also oil and water in the radiator and whether the tires are inflated and so on.

If things havenít had the need to be calibrated lately, that doesnít mean they arenít important.

The mistake that we make might be that we gauge based on very little information, not expecting that the opportunity will be there in the failure, that our minds will not shift, that I can still change or the seas will also be calm again.

Iím sure the Titanic had numerous gauges on that ship. Who was watching for those giant icebergs? But if there are icebergs to be watched for in the view, look out then. If others have fallen, we can to.

Also, as we develop, we can try to gauge if an impediment is temporary. Maybe Iím just having a bad day, a bad game, and I donít have chemistry with this particular group and I just need a change of scenery. Circumstances donít always equate with who I am as a changing person. Even if I am equal to the task or circumstances, these situations isnít tantamount to who I am. We donít have to relate to these circumstances to our core abilities and experiences. But if the weights are heavier and heavier, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel, permit yourself to bail out, jump ship, separate, disengage, avoid involvement, in this process, this set of circumstances, and allow yourself to explore new avenues of possibilities and potentialities, other inviting pathways.

Just what then is impeding my way? Identify and make a list of what you think are the impediments to what you want to do. Try and get a handle on what they are, and what they mean. They might not go to the core of what you are trying to do, or the core of what you have to offer. Yet, impediments do impede our way, and then they tend to get weaved into the core of what we are trying to do. But the reality is, they might have a thin veneer and we naturally make them a thick veneer, so what is impeding me might also put me into reduced thinking, which again makes what I want to do seem like it involves transformation, which is often not the truth, I still just need a continuation, or continuation with acceleration. If I am in a car, and driving down the road and a tree branch is across the road, I need to just stop, get the branch off the road and continue on the road. The impediment, doesn't make this a reduced situation. If I hit the branch and my car becomes inoperative, then I am in a reduced situation as opposed to a situation that just involved continuance upon removal of the impediment. So when facing an impediment, try to get around it without making the situation into a full scale reduction. Keep things going where you can continue on, even if some additional acceleration is needed to catch up.

If you made a commitment, you still need to gauge the course of this commitment. I made a commitment to myself to climb this high point , but there is a tremendous storm forming with blinding snow, and possible avalanches. Gee, do I bail? Remember Harry Truman, when Mt. Saint Helenís was beginning to rumble he said he would stay in his home near the mountain in his last interview. It was great to live next to a dormant Volcano in the state of Washington . But when the Volcano woke up, conditions changed and it was time to move on. Harry didnít. It was his last interview.

Give yourself some room even if itís one percent to back out of your commitment. You donít want to be too committed. Have some respect for the outside forces of change and their various formations and how they can arrive in an unpredictable fashion.

So, even if things are going great, keep the gauges. If your car, plane, or train is running great, do you turn off the gauges?

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