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August 1, 2020

Shoeless and Clueless

It was a good idea at the time. The offer to look round the university and its colleges and have a bed for the night was too tempting. One of the boys had a car and together with three friends they drove to the ancient University city and took advantage of the two days off school .

That evening the delights of various pubs were sampled and after several hours of imbibing they realised they had missed the college deadline and were locked out of their accommodation.

The only choice they had was to sleep in the car, which was a Mini. 

For most people this would have been a challenging night but on this occasion it was made worse by the fact that all four boys were over 6 foot tall. To make the environment as agreeable as possible they decided to remove their trainers and put them under the car.

After a very rough night’s sleep they were awoken by a dustcart making its early morning collection in the small backstreet where they had parked. 

Stepping out of the car to stretch and get some fresh air they made a startling discovery.

During the night someone had removed their shoes.

Trying to suppress their panic they decided to drive around the city looking for shoe shops which would open early and give them enough time to get to their interviews. What they hadn’t taken into account was that they didn’t have enough money to buy four pairs of shoes so they took the decision to purchase two and see if they could switch them around so everybody went in with something on their feet.

This was not the best preparation for possibly one of the most important interviews in their lives.

Most university interviewers are looking for a combination of academic ability with potential not only scholastically but also in what the university offers elsewhere. A flustered, dishevelled and shoeless appearance would not create the best of first impressions.

With so much change going on at the moment those of us who are rigidly attached to an outcome will find the path becomes bumpy and uncomfortable. It’s when we can be adaptable and have the ability to quickly and effortlessly change direction, or let go of our intention because it is no longer sustainable or relevant, that life becomes easier and friction free.

There are many occasions when we are charmed by something but along the way get tempted to delay or deviate and this can potentially disrupt or terminate the desired outcome

For many of us fixing our attention on the goal and constantly reminding ourselves that this is what we want can lead to a sense of myopic vision – we don’t pick up on other things going on around us which potentially could serve us better. 

If we overly assess these diversions, trying to work out if they will take up too much time or mental and physical energy and ultimately serve the outcome desired there is a big likelihood that the opportunity will pass.

Learning to take spontaneous right action takes practice.

Trusting our innate wisdom and intuition helps us make the right decisions. In my experience over reliance on our intellect and ego can trip us up. 

When you add stress into the equation it makes things messy. 

Stress alters our chemical balance and the excess adrenaline makes us behave in ways which are usually inappropriate such as not being able to concentrate or act swiftly. We can do one or the other but not both at the same time.

Our ability to understand and react appropriately turns into something very basic. We lose our ability to detect the subtle and behave with grace. We are functioning at a basic level.

Learning to become more sophisticated in our ability to assess and respond to stressful moments helps us deal with incidents and moments which incapacitate us.

And that includes arriving for interviews ill-prepared and barefoot.

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