CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Here we are with a brand-new slate -- 363 new days to come. It's the time we look at the year in review -- and the year in preview.
Some of you are making New Year's resolutions. Some have let this tradition go. And others may be trying to focus on just what you want out of 2011.
Check this out. The words "creation" and "reaction" have the same exact letters in them. If we can hold the thought at all times that our lives are either a creation or a reaction, we can continually remind ourselves to be creating, rather than just drifting along, according to Steve Chandler, author of "Reinventing Yourself."
Many of us can spend whole days reacting without even being aware of it. We wake up reacting to the news on the clock radio. Then we react to feelings in our body. Next, we start reacting to our spouses or children. Soon we get in the car and react to traffic, honking the horn and using sign language.
Once at work, we see an e-mail on our computer screen and react to that. We react to insensitive customers or co-workers who are intruding on our day. During a break, we react to a server at lunch.
This habit of reacting can go on all day, every day, if we're not careful. We become goalies in the hockey game of life, with pucks flying at us constantly.
There's another way of approaching life, though. You can design your own life game plan, and let the game respond to you, rather than the other way around. Sure, we all have to be open to contingencies. That's just it, though. Those can be the exceptions, rather than the rules.
Bill Walsh, the late former head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, was viewed as eccentric because of how extensively he planned his plays in advance of each game, according to author Chandler. While most coaches have plays in mind and wait to see how the game unfolds, Walsh would pace the sidelines with a big sheet of plays that his team was going to run, no matter what. He wanted the other team to respond to him.
While his approach was quite unorthodox, Walsh won his share of Super Bowls. And all he did was act on the crucial difference between creating and reacting.
When your life itself becomes the subject matter of the creative process, a very different experience opens up to you, one in which you are involved with life at its very essence, says author, composer and filmmaker Robert Fritz. Fritz, who says we can create our lives just as we compose a song, write a book or create a film, offers an online course in "Creating Your Life" and an e-book titled "Your Life as Art."