A large majority of agility enthusiasts express the same positive attitude that "as long as you are having fun, you're doing good." It's so obvious, they never question it. And I totally agree -- NOW. But it hasn't always been so. So I thought I'd share the bad attitude I had to overcome to get to the "fun" part.
Long before I could begin to grapple with a good attitude towards agility training, I had to overcome my father's strong opinion that pleasurable pursuits are frivolous. A product of the Great Depression and WWII, he was so afraid his children might starve, I suppose, that all he approved of was educational excellence and good jobs. Our focus must first be on self-sufficiency, and then on improving society. Perhaps without quite meaning to, he convinced his children that hobbies are superfluous. Even though he played golf avidly, he always told us it was "strictly for business".
He thought that doing things for "personal relevance" is pure self indulgence (biblically, a waste of one's talents), and the fastest road to hell. He was not an appreciater of art or literature, either, unless it was the classics. I can still hear him say, "if you can't paint like Michaelangelo, don't waste the canvas. If you can't write like Shakespeare, don't clutter the world with your drivel. If you're not prima ballerina material, I won't throw away money on ballet lessons." Extrapolating from that, he might say "If you can't be Susan Garrett, don't train dogs". Of agility, he once asked "are you making money at it yet". That was his criteria. Never, ever, "are you having fun".
I bet most of the rest of you didn't have this impediment to overcome!
I've had to learn to pursue my hobbies guilt free. Getting rid of his parental influence in this area has been a life's work, and from my success at it, I can attest that:
- If you let other people's opinions shape you, you can not live your own life.
- If you dwell in the past, you're future becomes so weighted down with old issues it can't take flight.
- If you set your sights too high, you may never start your journey.
- If you don't cultivate gratitude for the many good things around you, the negatives can swamp you.
I expressed my hard won mindset in a poem to my son in 1990, as I struggled to learn to live a joyful life, free from unnecessary struggles and needless grief! It's called "Mamma's Last Request", and imagines the final piece of advice I would give to anyone about "attitude".
Counting my blessings is another big tool. It's the tool kit itself. This often takes the form of putting positive spin on what seems like a constant stream of negatives. Here's a poster I used to keep on my wall which, to me, exemplifies the "spin" trick.
The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.
While to others I may seem more confused than ever,
and to myself as well,
and to myself as well,
I believe I am confused on a higher level
and about more important things.
|Pepper guarding his rock, age 7 months.|
Thanks for letting me share,