Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Moon Walk to Nowhere

It was during a Michael Jackson video, I believe, when I first saw the Moon Walk performed. I want to say it was while he wore the infamous red jacket with all the zippers, but I'm probably wrong. I didn't pay much attention to things in the 80's and just about everything had a myriad of zippers attached, even shoes.

Still, I do remember loving the dance step. And Michael made it appear so easy. I have a hard enough time just walking forward. For those who might have either not been born in the eighties or too stoned to remember, the Moon Walk in it's basest description is to look like you're walking forward while in fact you're actually sliding backward. I was impressed. Of course, I'm told that I'm easily impressed. I am male after all and we laugh at flatulence. Just saying the word makes us chuckle.

I learned recently that Michael Jackson didn't come up with the Moon Walk. I know, I was shocked as well. But, as they say, there's nothing new under the sun. There is a lot of New and Improved, however, and that's what the Moon Walk probably was. The first mention of it dates back to 1932 and Cab Calloway, only then it was called The Buzz. Furthermore, it wasn’t always a dance step. For forty years the French mime, Marcel Marceaus, used it in his career in a routine called "Walking against the Wind."

The routine looks great when performed, but I couldn't help but think how much energy was expended on moving backwards. Now, please don't ruin a good analogy by telling me it's just a dance move, because to be honest, I see people performing that move in their daily lives all the time. They're moving. Yet, for all their motion, for all their activity, they're only getting further and further behind. I mean, they appear to be getting ahead - new car, new home, new promotion, new Captain Crunch - but in reality they're digging the grave on a future already decayed.

The girls tricked me into going to the gym awhile back. The first thing that I attempt when forced to go is torture myself with the treadmill. I set the controls for level one lard ass and the timer for twenty minutes. Biscuits cook that long, but I try not to think of food during my imprisonment. For twenty minutes I'm standing in one place going nowhere and sweating the calories off while doing it. At the gym it makes sense. However, in your job or relationships, it makes no sense at all.

"Don't just sit there. Do something!" Yet, not all activity is progress, especially if, like being on the treadmill, it's the same activity over and over with the same results. Twenty minutes on the treadmill followed by a banana split with extra cherries will never produce the progress all that effort is supposed to gain me. The axiom "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results" is very true. The activity must change in order to gain forward momentum.

Sometimes that means doing nothing. Better yet, sit your backside down and allow your mind to catch up with the rest of your body. Believe it or not, ceasing the activity may actually save you time and wasted energy. People call it different things - meditate, ruminate, pondering. I prefer the term germinate. Too many times I've had an idea that got me so excited that I just sat down and started scribbling out words as they popped into my head. Sometimes that worked, but quite often it was just wasted tree pulp.

Now I try to allow the concept to fully reach its conclusion before putting ink to paper. I keep a little black book - okay, I keep two black books, but the other one is, um, personal - so that I can jot down my ideas. I then, over a few days, sometimes months, bullet out points that might fit with that concept. That's moving forward. Mulling over ideas helps make them concrete.

More people need to do this. Have an idea for a business venture? Great. However, before buying up equipment or quitting your paying job try writing out a business plan that will see you through a few months or years. Save yourself time and money by thinking first and acting later. I had a friend that worked with me several years ago that came up with two new ideas every day. Before we knew it he was selling his ideas to other people trying to drum up support only to be past that new idea rush and onto the next idea before my microwave popcorn was ready. Not one idea ever came off the ground and I think at forty he still lives with his parents. I've seen a lot of people like him who talk big only to produce very small results. Don't be one of those people. Leave the Moon Walk to the dance floor and in life move forward with careful planning behind your passionate idea. You can still wear the red zipper jacket, however.

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