What is the “Curly” Factor?
Remember City Slickers? There’s a scene that’s been as overused in analogous writing and presentations as cat memes on the internet.
In the film, Billy Crystal plays Mitch, a 39 yr old man in a rut, a mid-life crisis. His friends present him a birthday present–two weeks at a dude ranch. Mitch has made previous commitments to go with his wife to visit her mother but his tone and mannerisms reveal that he is none too excited about that trip. Mitch’s birthday party is interrupted by the sudden appearance of a young woman who announces she’s pregnant with Mitch’s friend Phil’s baby. Mitch’s wife, realizing that Mitch needs something to get out of the rut he’s been in and not wanting it to end with the same result as Mitch’s friend experienced, releases him to go to the dude ranch to “find himelf” with his equally searching and dysfunctional friends, Phil and Ed.
As the movie plays out, the three “dudes” are assisting with a cattle drive from New Mexico to Colorado. It’s during that adventure that the previously mentioned “meme” scene takes place. Curly, a big, burly, gruff cowboy is escorting the trio and leading the drive for the rancher. Curly is a man of few words and scares the city slickers playing cowboys. As Mitch tries to get to know Curly by asking him a series of more personal questions, we get to THE SCENE. During a verbal exchange where Curly generally and summarily blasts men in midlife crisis all seeking answers to questions they have but never able to find them, Curly tells Mitch that the answer to their searching can be found in “this” and holds up 1 finger. When Mitch asks Curly what that means, Curly responds it’s One Thing that each man needs to find “the secret to life”. When Mitch asks Curly what that One Thing is all Curly says is, “that’s what you have to find out”. It’s all about the “one thing”.
The “One” thing
As we take down the 2014 and put up the 2015 calendars, we look at the new year with a lot of hope and anticipation. It’s amazing what happens to the mind in a second as the clock goes from 11:59:59 to 12:00:00 on December 31. It’s as if the past is gone and the new day has arrived. There’s something about a fresh start that energizes us. For some, it’s the closure of a difficult year. For others it’s the expectation of something that is already planned for the year ahead and now we anticipate it with greater urgency and excitedness. But for many, the promises of the new year are simply verbal massages that leave us a little hopeful but wanting more after the thought fades. That’s probably where most of us live. We have hopes and dreams but not sure how to move them forward or really don’t believe they will. Maybe we’ve done the “resolution” thing in the past. But, like most, those resolutions ended up becoming just another failed attempt to make wholesale changes only to end up right back where we were the prior year. That’s been me for way too many entree’s into a new year. Yet this year I have real hope that things will finally take hold. Not because of something magical or mystical. But, because of One Thing. It’s the “Curly Factor”. And, I’m using it to make 2015 a year of real change for the better.
What’s that “one thing”? It’s a series of “one things”. It’s my one attitude. It’s a series of “next one right thing” steps. It’s taking a lot of things that I want change and taking each of them individually and then, taking one of them that will be the key to the other ones happening as well. It’s about ONE. It’s always been about that but I just missed it. When I have failed to follow through with resolutions, plans, goals or whatever else you want to label the fresh start approach to making positive changes in my life, I’ve almost always taken them as a whole. And, it gets overwhelming.
Making 2015 Better than 2014
But, this year with the help of Michael Hyatt‘s 5 Steps to My Best Year Ever, assistance from listening to a good friend of mine (Leary Gates) Reinventure.me podcasts and some personal time of planning in mid November, I’m in a much better place to enact the changes I’ve wanted to make but failed to reach in previous years (and for so many years). Now, the verdict is out on my success, obviously, since it’s just January 1. But, I wanted to put this out in public to cement my commitment to accomplishing thoughtful, planned, personal goals for this year. And, I’m going to do them using the “Curly Factor”. I’m not going to try to do all of them at once. I’m going to take each of the written (by the way, having written goals has been a huge change for me—my one new thing was to write them out) goals and do the next right thing to accomplish each. And, I’ve done one more thing that I think is important.
The “One” Word for 2015
In addition to planning each of my goals, communicating those goals to this readership and a friend of mine whom I’ve asked to help me accomplish those goals this year, I have chosen ONE WORD to guide me this year. I tried it last year for the first time. I wrote a word on a sticky note and put it where I would see it. The problem was that I wasn’t committed to the idea of living out the word in the many facets of my life. I was simply satisfied that I took the next step by coming up with a word. And, you know what? That’s OK. There grace. That was a better step than not doing it in the first place. There is no magic in a word. However, by having a defining word to help shape your thoughts, decisions and direction, you are more likely to consider those actions prior to simply doing what “feels” right at the time, a terrible habit I’ve developed over many years. Last year my word, oddly enough, was “intentional”. I wanted to be intentional about everything I did. I have to report that if I was taking a class on fulfilling that goal, I would have probably gotten a D. I resorted back way too often to simply living by the “seat of my pants”. Yet, I did a LOT more intentional living last year than I ever had before. So, in my case it was a success. Just not the success I need to make the changes I really want to make in key areas of my life. With that experience to build upon, I’ve chose another word to help guide and shape me this year. The word is “Refining”.
I want to be refined in the personal, spiritual, mental, entrepreneurial/professional and emotional facets of my life. So, as I make decisions in each of those facets, I’ll ask myself, “is this refining me to become a better man, dad, leader, husband, friend, or Follower of Christ”? If not, I shouldn’t do it or at least not spend much time or energy in it. But, if it is, I need to embrace it and nurture it in my life, even if it causes some pain and trials. Silver or precious metals that are refined are only pure after they have been highly heated so the impurities rise to the top to be skimmed off, leaving the precious metal pure. The result is something of high value and precious to others. That’s what I want my life to be this year. Refined for God’s glory and to be a gem of great value to those around me. That’s ultimately my “one thing” for this year.
What’s your “one thing”? Instead of playing the extreme ends when it comes to New Year’s resolutions (either overstating why resolutions are the worst things since Disco or placing more importance on the process of making the resolution than the changes they produce), why not start small and think of the “one thing” that you can do that might lead to many of the other things you’d like to see changed in your life? It may be related to getting your financial house in order (definitely one of my “things”). Or, you want to draw closer in your relationships to others or God this year. Maybe it’s coming up with the one word that will help direct all of your major decisions. Whatever it is it will only happen one thought, one step, one task at a time. Make 2015 the “Curly Factor” year for you. Don’t get discouraged by all the things you want to do but feel overmatched to accomplish. Choose one. Then, accomplish it one step at a time. Join me by telling me your “one thing” for 2015. Then, 365 days from now we can compare notes and see how many things happened because we took one step together. Blessings to you and your families for a fulfilling (or even refined) 2015.