What’s funny about this, is that everyone you know would look at this and nod enthusiastically. “Truer words” and all that. But if you’ve ever dared to heed these words in real life, you’ve seen how quickly those same people excoriate you for wandering off the beaten path. The well-worn ruts of those that came before you, pointing the way to certainty of some variety, and you can’t help but look to either side for what the others missed.
Just know it’s genuinely OK, and not just bullshit OK. Take those chances, just don’t expect much support. At least not for the chances that matter.
You really will regret it missing those chances, whether you ever know it or not.
Driving through a school zone this morning it completely occurred to me that the parents dropping off these kids weren’t really much older than them. Not that they were the former cast of Teen Mom, but that when measured against the ever expanding back drop of eternity, the difference is immeasurable.
The distance between our oldest and our youngest is infinitesimally small compared with anything in the natural world. Do I feel more intelligent or better off when parked next to some High School-Cindy who’s ride sports an “I drive like a Cullen” decal? Of course I do. What does that even mean? Was he a race-car-driving-vampire and I missed it? Nevertheless, isn’t it more important to recognize my own ultimate immaturity?
Regardless of how much I desire to know, I’m an ant trying to fill it’s mouth with the Pacific ocean. I am a sack of intelligent water who has borrowed some calcium and carbon for a short duration so I can reflect and ponder on all that is here, and all that I am. Is there a more honest description of life than that?
And children really do know this. And we know they know it. But still, we have ‘matured’ and we have moved on to more fanciful pursuits. And we know that it’s wrong on some fundamental level, at least the most sane among us know it – and we reject them for it.
This morning, my sister said on her way out the door that she was off to battle the beasts at work today. My two year old son asked her where her sword was. “What?”
He explained that if she was going to fight bad guys at work she needed a sword and that he had one she could take. We all just stopped and looked at each other – the unbridled honesty of a child is a wonder to behold. He honestly meant it and couldn’t believe that she’d go out unarmed like that, knowing beasts were there.
She explained to him that she had one in the car, and that she’d be victorious today and he kissed her and hugged her and will inevitably ask about the battle when she returns home tonight.
Children experience life at the leading edge, as it happens. There are no filters in place to dictate how they should feel or what they should think yet – all experiences are new and fraught with possibility and fear, and the most unbelievable ecstasy.
I think anything less than living deliberately, in full pursuit of every second that the earth and the stars and our minds have to offer, is the greatest sin that can be committed. And I really wish I could stop sinning.
I don’t usually watch things with zombies. They’ve never been a draw for me, but this past week I decided to try out The Walking Dead on Netflix. God Damn it.
Zombies, on their own, are quite simply, crap. I Couldn’t care less about walking corpses or anything with gore. Not that I scare easily, but I tend to find the whole exercise boring. After all, i’m surrounded by figurative zombies every day: though with an admittedly lower penchant for wearing my viscera like so much KISS makeup.
After all, i’m surrounded by figurative zombies every day: though those have an admittedly lower penchant for wearing my viscera like so much KISS makeup.
No, the real endgame here for me has been the relentless feeling of near hopelessness which plagues (puns!) the lot outside Atlanta. Particularly, the lead of “Rick Grimes” who is charged with taking care of not just his family (son and wife) but also the entire group of survivors as their leader.
I feel you Rick, I really do.
I’ve got a family and a team of people – in fact, two of them. While we’re not overrun with the un-dead, it can often feel that way. How the hell do we get out of this? How do I find enough time for all the responsibilities? How do you seek, not just to survive, but to thrive and grow in the midst of so much uncertainty?
Maybe that’s why I can’t stop watching it lately, or why I started in the first place. I want to know that someone else is going through something similar, and I want to put my feet up and watch this guy do it for a while and see how he fares. Or maybe it’s that zombies are the “insert pain in the ass/existential threat” we all fear?
Life, when you want to do something, can have a funny habit of piling on. Want to get out of your comfort zone and do something for the benefit of your group? Zombies will show up. Want to take a rest for a moment and count your blessings? Zombies. Love someone more than anything? Zombies probably are heading that way, however slowly. And they always move slowly – just enough for one to internally debate the consequences of their arrival.
I’m sure they’ve always been there, each generation with their own zombies, and many of them the same as the ones we fear now. I’d like to think we don’t necessarily suffer from more of them, but rather we give them more windows to break through. Instead of barricading our homes, we’re letting them through the open window of our phones.
I’m not hopeless – not even close. And by all accounts, that’s the most scared a person can get. When you have nothing, you fear nothing – have it all and you have all to lose. Tell me that doesn’t describe our America today.
And by stuff, I really mean people. I have the most loving and amazing family and friends. I have a team of people I get to work with which is just phenomenal top to bottom. The thought of losing any of them is just… exhausting. But each day I wake up and want to do it again, because that’s what love makes us do.
I don’t know, forget the moaning and wearing of intestines as french braids, I’m more concerned with the relevant allegory of the whole thing. The notion that I’m Rick, doing his best to protect his family and his team, against such overwhelming odds with such small arms is just too familiar to be left alone.
What are your zombies? What do you quietly fret over and wish to god you could protect once and for all? Or do you really just like watching the dyed corn syrup pour out of punctured zombie skull? Because that’s cool too.
One of my favorite quotes is from Marcus Aurelius’ book, “Meditations” – which, if you haven’t read it, please pick up a copy (the penguin version is a great translation and highly affordable).
A lot going on there! Implications?
So what do we do? Make YOU the best, most sturdy version possible. Become more patient, more trusting, more confident, more humble, more flexible, more worthwhile.
Be the YOU that you’d like to imagine your “future” self to be. Your “weapons of reason” are your smarts and your ability to adapt. Your ability to think of new ways of looking at things.
Go forth. Be bold, and mighty forces will rush to your aid. Shrink not from the daily scrabble of bramble brush and political quick sand. Grow large in your ability to love those around you and be confident in your ability to manifest awesomeness from your very fingertips.
Be bold. Worry not. Awe more. You know what to do, now go do it.
Brilliant quote here from the book “Damn Good Advice (for people with talent)” which spells out why trends are exactly what you think they are: Traps. Dead ends.
I declared a few weeks ago that “Keep Calm and… ” is the new “Got Milk?” for how ubiquitous and cliche’ it has become. It’s the Harlem Shake of typography.
Working in the Student Housing industry, everyone is seeking the next “cool thing” that we can plaster on shirts and flyers and swag we toss out like slop to hogs. Often times, we pick the safest route possible. Nothing daring – nothing truly cool or unique – just safe.
If I see one more flyer/ad/brochure that says something like “Live, Work. Play” I may just gag.
What’s new? What’s next level? What has gusto and verve and life behind it?
You know, maybe I should move forward with my idea for a “Tu-days of Tupac” festival. We would feature a day of performances of his poetry, followed by a movie marathon of his films, and then wrap it up with a karaoke night and look-alike contest. It’s so ridonk, it just might work.
It’s a learned behavior. Odds are you had mentors or bosses who were forever putting out metaphorical fires. You learned something implicitly: Busy = productive. Scratch that. Busy = valued.
It’s not true and odds are when you started out in your career you sensed it in your heart, if not your head. But the allure! Running around all crazy you couldn’t help but feel… important! Needed! This whole thing relied on you to keep those balls in the air or else they would fall and everyone would be let down.
Busy is often times, bullshit. Sure, you’ve got deadlines and reports, and big things in the works. Who doesn’t. If you’re running a restaurant, the kitchen had better be busy or you’re not making jack. But you’re not the sous chef for Chez Awesome, now are you? Didn’t think so.
To be effective you need to delegate your time and spend some much valued time planning so others can faithfully execute. Like a good point guard, yours isn’t to score all the points – it’s to distribute. And to do so in a way that allows your team an easy dunk.
If you sense yourself saying any of these things as a leader – check yourself, lest you wreck yourself:
- OMG! I’ve got so much to do!
- WTF! I’ve got 156 emails since lunch!
- IDK! Maybe I have 10 minutes next week, maybe!
- If I don’t send this TPS report by 3pm, I’m burning this whole thing down.
Also, it’s a good tip that if you find yourself speaking in “text talk” then you’ve likely got some big issues.
Busy isn’t beautiful – and it sure isn’t effective. Yes, at times, you’ve got to put the head down and scramble, but that’s not the ideal situation. The glory goes to being prepared. Toward having effective systems. Toward making the most of opportunities and marshaling resources into a mighty force for good.
So next time you have the inkling to put off your work till 5pm so you can stay until midnight and claim your gallantly selfless act, don’t do it. Leaders don’t engage in such sophistry. You’re better than that. I know you are.
Insert a bunch of quotes here on: not waiting till the last minute, being awesome, and having great commitment to rad internal systems in your winning organization.