Quit aspiring to be; Simply Be….
Being disciplined is hard. What’s even more difficult are the consequences of an undisciplined life. Creating and sticking to a plan can be painful. However, having to come up with a plan in the middle of chaos can be downright agonizing. Developing real leadership will certainly test one’s fortitude. On the flipside, having to follow a lackey because you left your fate to another will almost certainly result in an unbearable albatross.
Things are hard right now. Our world’s been flipped on its head and our leaders are struggling to shepherd effectively. Throw in the fact that recent times have observed an unprecedented challenge of authority and bipartisanship of all types, and we appear to be on the brink of anarchy.
However, for what it’s worth, I see something different emerging. A reversion back to the mean of sorts….
It’s sexy to be different. Challenging the status quo has become, well, the status quo. Begging for forgiveness instead of asking for permission has become standard. And, for the most part, this approach works when starting out or creating something new. It especially works when life is easy, simple or a previous path has already been blazed in the direction you are heading.
Nobody wants to be told what to do, especially when they’ve been taught to not respect authority or to only respect those in leadership positions who agree with the way you’ve been trained to think (and yes, you’ve been trained to think that way, regardless of how special or how much smarter you’ve been told you are than the rest of us).
This isn’t a plug for any person, political party or methodology of thinking. Mistakes have been made at the medical, political, world, national and local levels. Some of the best and worst decisions have been made by dictators, presidents, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, republicans and democrats. And despite how bad this situation is, I continue to hear folks on all sides of the aisle support those their trained thought process tell them to, regardless of how bad their ‘leaders’ have performed, as well as condemn those they’ve been trained to disagree with. Political parties are spending billions of dollars on television and internet adds to repute those on the other side at a time when our hospitals don’t have adequate amounts of ventilators and our doctors don’t have vaccines or even a treatment for Covid-19.
I have a personal plan. I’m not saying it’s the best plan, but I’ve found that having one to stick to makes life a lot easier when things gets hard. Every day I wake up and immediately ask my creator for guidance. I look to His word, as well as the words of others (by way of books, podcasts, etc.) who have been successful. I think of 3 things I am grateful for as a way of realizing how good my life really is in a world that continually wants me to think it isn’t. I work out daily and ensure that most of what I put back into my body provides optimal fuel and recovery to keep me healthy and capable of defending and providing for those entrusted to my care (thanks, Chad Howse). I live on less than I make and save/invest the rest (thanks, Dave Ramsey and Chris Hogan). And this gives me the opportunity to do something that gives me an even greater peace of mind: Give. Because much has been given to me, I give of my time and resources to others, including supporting causes I believe in, like Habitat for Humanity, The Mission Continues (Veteran-led), my local American Legion and my Church. I also help out as individual needs arise, whether it’s a Church member moving or a bill that’s causing more stress to someone than it’s worth. I try to make every day a success by noon (thanks, Gary Keller) and I know that the 5 people I hang around most and the last 5 books I’ve read will likely reflect who I am as a person (thanks, Jim Rohn). I tell those I live with and those close to me how much I love them regularly, including Kadar, who calls me early every Saturday morning to hold me accountable. I meet with Lee once a month for our long mountain hikes, but more important, our conversations, which always leave me aspiring to be more like him. The end of each month and quarter also requires me to report to my accountability group via email as to how well (or poorly) I am sticking to my quarterly goals. Each evening ends with self-reflection and thanks to my creator for allowing me to make it through another day. It’s also where I most realize how un-special I am and how questionable what I’ve been taught over the course of my life actually is. I catch myself reaching back to those gone (My father and Grandma the most, although others know who they are) for guidance, as theirs tend to be suited to any time and situation. These are the moments (during evening retrospective moments) where I realize that my being special isn’t about me challenging authority or being different; it’s about the fears, inadequacies (and similarities) I share with the rest of my fellow citizens. It’s when I’m most vulnerable, relying on God and those who have gone before me for future direction. Strangely, it’s also when I feel most powerful, drawing on those same energies for guidance to lead those I’ll someday leave behind, who carry my DNA, making me somewhat immortal.
I spoke earlier about a reversion to a mean….
It’s easy to be an investor during a bull market. And when the economy is good and you’ve been provided a decent upbringing, it's not all that difficult to find your way in a free market, capitalist society. Finally, everyone’s an expert and no one needs help (or leadership) when you’re young, healthy and surrounded by peace and prosperity.
· There are no atheists in a foxhole (I’ve been there – this axiom is true)
· You always find out who’s swimming naked when the tide goes out –(thanks, Warren Buffet)
· Crises don’t build character. Crises reveal character.
Because of this universal tragedy, people are coming back to the middle, where the majority of us actually reside. Political parties, ideologies, etc. are being shown for what they actually are: divisive entities. We have far more in common than is atypical. We all seek shared truths: ‘What do we come from?’, ‘Who are we?’ and ‘Where are we headed?’
I’m seeing a lot more collaboration than disagreement. I’m hearing a lot more discussion than arguing. I’m experiencing a lot more giving than taking.
Our better angels will prevail. They always do. Our collective wisdom always overcomes our trained disagreements. Our Creator is always in control, despite who we think/wish/hope is in charge.
Keep your head up. Remember that people are watching you right now. Be the person you always said you would be when things get tough.