Take Nothing for Granted

  1. If it doesn’t work, don’t do it!
  2. Find Your Calling
  3. Be Where You Are
  4. Change Happens Faster if You Lie to Yourself
  5. The Finger That Points…
  6. Take no credit. Cast no blame. Seek to empower others. Enjoy life.
  7. Always Tell the Truth, as You Know It
  8. One Thing at a Time
  9. Take Nothing for Granted
  10. Wait Patiently
  11. Seek solutions, without placing blame
  12. There are no Rules

Take Nothing for Granted — we assume that, because we believe something, that’s what will always be true. Not so! What is, is.

Psst! Hey!

Want more great writing designed to help YOU to shift your behaviour? Want to learn how to find, build or deepen your principal relationship? Want to know more about Zen living and being? Check out Wayne’s books!


Just a quickie note that our time in Costa Rica is coming to a close — we’re on the move again. Thanks to all of our Costa Rican friends for a great 5 months. See you in April!

OK, so… “Take Nothing for Granted” has a plethora of meanings. I’m thinking I’ll tackle two of them, but this might change by the end. So, don’t take for granted that there will only be two… 😉

  • First, this expression is a reference to how often we do, in fact, take behaviour for granted.

Take nothing for grantedThere’s a lot of nothing in everything…

A few years back I was pleasantly “fooled” by a friend. He mentioned a guy he’d met a few years earlier; the guy was a doctor, the “chief” of one of our local hospitals, and into a ton of stuff.My friend described how much fun they’d had singing together in a Barbershop group.

One day the guy received one of those infamous, “you have six weeks to live” diagnoses. Then, he’d died.

My friend sighed, and paused. In the pause, I took things for granted by making a “predictable prediction.”

I expected him to say, “I just wish I’d spent more time with him, gotten to know him better, sung more songs with him.”

Instead, he shook his head and said, “What an example. There was a guy who lived his life to the fullest — who made a difference — and I’ve come to realize that that’s what is missing in my life.”

I sure hadn’t seen that coming

The younger we are, the more we assume that we are invulnerable… and that life will go on forever. We assume that there will always be time, later, to speak our truth to those around us — to resolve differences, to say “I love you,” to spend quality time with our partners, to get over ourselves and actually “live life.”

As we get older, we get multiple wake-up calls, as things change and things end. Kids grow up and leave home, jobs end, bodies slow down and start aching. And still, many people refuse to see the obvious — that there is no “forever.” There is just the now, the moment, and the promise of, but no guarantee of, the next moment.

Many live their lives on hold, missing the fact that while they sit there in their little pile of self-induced pity, their lives are running through their fingers like grains of sand.

Yet, each moment they spend in distress, blaming, and sadness is a moment they will never get back. Because they take the future for granted, and think they have forever, they are curiously unmotivated to deal with their own lives in the only time frame they can — in the here and now.

I’m writing this on Saturday, and hurricane Irma is on the move. One of 3 hurricanes in the Atlantic, it follows Henry and a bunch of earthquakes in the Pacific, one of which rattled us awake last week. Things are changing, all around us, and we don’t really have a “paradigm” for what might happen next.

Old beliefs just aren’t going to cut it

There is no guarantee that there will be a “tomorrow” to say what needs to be said, to get the degree you want, to start living life as your passion dictates. There is just today. Stop taking tomorrow for granted!

  • The second “taking for granted” is our belief system.

You know from past The Pathless Path articles that I think that the only test for the validity of a belief is the “utility” test — does it get the results it proposes to get?

Example: I declare that I want to have a deep and meaningful relationship with my partner, and then I choose to act toward her by blaming, accusing and distancing myself from her. Given this scenario, there are only two possible interpretations:

  1. my behaviours do not match my stated objective, (and therefore, since my objective is “true” to me, I must change my behaviours,) or
  2. I actually want to create distance between myself and my partner, in which case I need to be honest and stop pretending I’m working on the relationship.

The “third, faulty” assumption is that I really do want to deepen my relationship — but that my partner
is stopping me from doing so. I can therefore justify torturing her. This is the “taking for granted” posture. I’m excusing myself from taking responsibility for my life, while waiting for someone else to do it for me.

This is just one example of “taking it for granted” that something I believe is actually “true.”

I want to take nothing for granted, including what I believe to be true. I want to be present with myself… and in my “paying attention-ness,” see how things are going. From this place of simple observation, I keep what works and quickly let go of what does not.

Taking nothing for granted is a posture of not clinging… either to the infinity of my life, or to the “truth” of my beliefs. At the end of the day, I am best served holding only to the moment — to acting “now,” to putting off nothing, to declaring nothing to be “true.” Because living with clarity, honesty and integrity is to cling to nothing.

  • Which, parenthetically, leads to a third interpretation. The one thing you could choose to take for granted is “nothing.” No-thing is real, and no-thing goes on forever. That is one thing you can take to the bank.


About the Author: Wayne C. Allen is the web\‘s Simple Zen Guy. Wayne was a Private Practice Counsellor in Ontario until June of 2013. Wayne is the author of five books, the latest being The. Best. Relationship. Ever. See: –The Phoenix Centre Press

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