Friday, October 01, 2010

Random Thoughts Volume IV

"In a world of pressure cookers, I am a crock pot"
-Michael Brown

How satisfying life is often depends on what you want from it. All I have ever wanted is a simple and uncomplicated life with enough money and things to be comfortable. I have never been, and I will never be, a driven, ambitious, over-achiever. When my life is simple and uncomplicated, I am happy and satisfied. What fills me with contentment might be seen by others as failure. Our culture is filled with driven, workaholic, overachieving, narcissistic people. I think they are on the road to nowhere. They think they are "successful". Each person has their own definition of success. My idea of success is the kind of life I described above surrounded by a lot of love. I don't have as much money or as many things as a lot of people do but I believe I am successful and success is in the eye of the beholder. Don't let others judge your success.

"Baby, I can't always act like we just met".
-lyrics to a country music song.

I thought this was a catchy lyric. What does it mean? I think it conveys the daily challenge of maintaining excitement and enthusiasm. One of the questions on a recent office survey was "When you come to work each day do you feel enthusiastic about what you do"? If I was completely honest I would have to say that most days I don't. However, that doesn't mean I hate what I do. I normally enjoy my workday even when I am chomping at the bit to go home. I have been married 36 years and I have been employed by my company for almost 25 years. I can't act like I am still on my honeymoon or that I just got hired last week. When one is long on the journey excitement and enthusiasm are often replaced with faithfulness and commitment. A faithful and committed partner has survived the ups and downs of a relationship and a long time employee has survived the inevitable change that occurs in the workplace. It's not that excitement and enthusiasm disappear. They simply change their appearance.

"The race is won by running slowly".
-Ian Anderson

This quote reminds me of the story of the tortoise and the hare. Conventional wisdom would bet on the hare to win the race. Tortoises move so slowly and hares are very fast. How could a tortoise beat a hare? Although the hare can move much faster, in the story the hare is often distracted and wastes a lot of time. It is the tortoise who wins the race. How could that be? Well, although slow, the tortoise never stops and never loses focus. The moral of the story is not that everyone should immediately slow down. The moral of the story is to pace yourself, remain focused, and keep your eye on the goal. Life is a long distance run, not a sprint.

"Fair is not always equal".
-Michael Brown

After many years of being in a leadership role I have probably supervised hundreds of people. During this time I have dealt with many people's professional and personal problems. It is very important to me to be fair. What does that mean? Does it mean always doing the same thing for every person and going by the book? I do not think so. I believe it means giving each person what they need...within reason. Certainly some people are needier than others. Some people come dangerously close to wearing you out and a few actually do so. However, all people have some level of need, including me, and although I strive to be fair, life does not do the same. Some people need little and others need a lot. Occasionally I have needed to give some people guidance on doing a better job of managing their life. In the end, however, I strive to be fair and to do the right thing by being understanding, compassionate, and reasonable. The process for doing this is called discernment.

My wife is two years younger than me. One day this week, late in the afternoon, I sent her an email telling her we could both retire on her birthday in 2018. Her reply was, "Dude, thanks for the update but I am just trying to get through the next hour".

"I have never been lost. I will, however, admit to being confused once for about two weeks".
-Daniel Boone, explorer

"All who wander are not lost".
-J. R. R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings

There are many paths in life. Some we walk intentionally. Many times, however, we find ourselves on paths where we didn't intend to go. A few are dead ends while others sometimes turn out to be the most interesting paths of all. It is a very rare person who gets on a path that remains straight for their whole life. My blog is called "Stumbling along the Spiritual Path". This title kind of sums up my journey so far. I think all of life is spiritual but the path of life is not easy. I often feel like I am stumbling along it. Sometimes it is a leisurely and enjoyable walk. Other times I trip over a pebble in the road or I get whacked in the eye by the branch of a tree. I occasionally lose my balance and fall down. So far I have always been able to get back up. Sometimes I am lost, often I am confused, once in a while I relax and enjoy the wandering. However I feel, I always keep walking.

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