Good books, good friends and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.
Whenever I fail to find inspiration in my immediate world, Mark Twain always seems to offer reasons for reflection. This quote is no exception. Whether my inability to remember words, names, situations or facts is due to my age or simply too much information to categorize, it remains a source of frustration. Perhaps the true problem is the frustration, not the inability to remember.
Most of us have experienced the situation. What was the name of the guy with whom we worked at the such-and-such office, in 1980-something? You can remember a variety of small facts such as his penchant for cold coffee, numerous children shown in his desk photograph and his quirky ties. But try as you may, you just can’t remember his name. Ultimately, does it matter? Will you be improved in any way other than the tiny victory of overcoming forgetfulness?
The idea of “sleepy conscience” is worthwhile. Don’t we all have events or actions that we would do differently if the opportunity became available? Somehow, the inability to remember details about these regrettable moments is a blessing rather than the proverbial curse.
Compared to good friends and good books, any flavor of regret pales by comparison. It pleases me to describe my conscience (and my memory) as sleepy rather than a product of senility. Sooner or later, I am likely to remember those things that are worth remembering – names, adverbs, authors, evenings or breathtaking sights. And if not, what’s the harm or foul?
And so, I pass on Mark Twain’s perennial wisdom, for the sake of reinforcing what is good and immortal. If we treasure our friends and the words of our beloved volumes, they will produce the good life. Instead of considering our sleepy powers of recollection a deficiency, perhaps they are incentives for cherishing our gifts. Shalom.
One of my long-standing and treasured clients has entrusted me with the privilege of writing bi-weekly blogs for her two websites. Initially, I was immediately able to identify topics for these very specific subjects.
While these are not the actual topics, imagine writing 250 to 300 words on something similar to eating habits of southwestern prairie dogs during winter. The blogs need to be entertaining, engaging and contemporary. While this isn’t the true topic, you can appreciate the challenges afforded by limited subject matter.
After the first several months, I began to wonder if my inspiration would evaporate or dissipate. This would be nothing short of catastrophic. My promise had been to produce new copy, faithfully and consistently.
At no time have I run short of ideas for my own blogs. While some content may be more popular than others, I have yet to lack in enlightenment from the diverse and dynamic world around me. If this is true, why did I worry about the websites?
You’ve probably guessed the answer – there was no reason to be concerned. Several nights ago, I completed the most recent blog entry and focused on the next. Magically and spontaneously, I recorded ten new blog themes.
And so it seems, I need to become more proficient at the advice I offer to others. Large and small, old and young, we must learn to rely on ourselves, spending the time on visualizing best possible outcomes rather than predicting frustration or failure.
We’ve all seen the clichés – do your best, all great journeys begin with a first step, etc. In this case, my lesson was that I already had what I needed. Waiting for truth (or wisdom or guidance) is a waste of time and effort. You have everything necessary to succeed. Shalom.
Today I had the special privilege of spending half-hour sessions with three kindergarten classes. The details are immaterial but the lessons are enormous.
Three groups of 4 to 5-year olds with a cornucopia of backgrounds spent a small portion of their day with someone never seen before. Without exception, students were welcoming, inquisitive and spontaneously affectionate.
Without filters or precedents, we formed trusting and personal connections. Kids assumed (accurately) that I was combination advocate/secret-sharer/helper and source of knowledge.
As a refugee from corporate America, I am enriched by the 60 snippets of personality that were my gifts today. Traditional jobs have no “I love you,” hugs, excitement about Minnie Mouse on my watch or fervent good-bye waves.
Of course, the tangible remuneration is vastly superior in corporate America. But how many of these jobs welcome you in unison, share favorite books or offer some treasured apple slices?
If none of this seems appealing, so be it. Enjoy your board (bored) meetings, spread sheets and time cards. For me, there is much more to be learned and gained in kindergarten. Friendships have no racial hesitations, lunches are adventures free of politics and smiles are always reciprocated. Shalom.
The value that you bring to your organization is measured by your impact on either the company environment as a whole or on the bottom line – or both.
Your employer won’t increase your earnings except on the basis of how you impact his (or her) productivity, image or self-esteem.
If you have done everything that is intrinsic to excellent performance, you will never need to ask for a pay raise – it will be inevitable. What forms does a pay raise take? Earnings, equity, retirement, management.
How are your accomplishments best measured: internally or externally? Both. What does “write your own pay raise” truly mean? Is it to define your position within the organization as well as determining your income? Of course, both.
Why does an organization need someone who is capable of designing his or her own role within that organization? These are the people who initiate change, growth and profitability. What is the alternative (if any) to writing your own pay raise? Waiting and hoping.
What liabilities are implied by the authority to writing your own pay raise? Leadership, ingenuity, loyalty, identity as active participant in organization. What responsibilities are implied? Continued initiative, management potential, product development.
For those who seek to have control over their careers, displaying creativity and initiative in a receptive corporate setting will generally produce better consequences than mediocrity. Shalom