Will others hold us up as a wonderful example, or a terrible warning? I’m humbly working on leaving an enduring legacy for my son and wife. I’ve developed a simple model for handling Life’s Big Decisions. Through the power of the internet, I’m building a retirement business to make the world a better place before my time is up. It is my hope that others, especially Baby Boomers and X-ers, will also do something great for humanity before their time is up.
Gonna make a New Year’s resolution this year? No? Why not? If you’re like me, your wisdom has taught you that your resolutions have a poor chance of coming true. It’s predictable. Yet, it’s also reversable. Here are 6.5 things you can do to jump start a new resolve this year:
1. Start early. June is good.
2. Make a really easy resolution.
3. Be realistic. Seriously. Too big = failure.
4. What got you where you are will not move you forward.
5. Have a deadline. Deadlines provide you with focus.
6. Have a purpose. Purpose provides you with the reason why.
6.5. Don’t be a chicken-shit*! Learn to kick your own ass*.
(* Please forgive the language. I’ll type 10,000 words and not use profanity; however, it just seems to fit right here, right now. And both words/phrases will be covered in another story, later.)
Let’s talk about # 2 – “Make a really easy resolution”
Several years ago I decided to set all my clocks (15 devices in our house & cars) to the same time. To make it a bit more challenging, with my wife’s support, we made them all the real time. Pretty gutsy move if you ask me.
Why? Because all the clocks had different times and none of them were the real time.
The fundamental change here was to just admit that time is what it is. Playing and trying to manipulate it doesn’t change anything. It only led me to believe I had some control over the clock.
The only thing I have control over is my ability to accept the reality that my habits are the culprit, or victor, over being late or on time for meetings and commitments.
This making sense to you?
It was an “easy” resolution. Set all the clocks to the (same) real time. The hard part was not being late for work, church, school, etc.
Seriously, how hard is it to simply move the big and little hands to the real time?
It felt good to accomplish a New Year’s resolution.
The obvious of course. But also the momentum of “having one in the win column.”
It was the next year that I resolved to do a BIG resolution. More on that later.
Make it a great day, because if you don’t, who will?
Later! And, oh yeah, carpe diem!!
Where have I been? Excellent question. Been busy with life. How about you? How have the past three weeks been for you?
I rest my case, your honor.
Ever been invited to a last minute, surprise party?
So last night my neighbor’s wife threw a surprise retirement party for her husband. They’ve both been our good friends for the past 15 years. He’s 59 and has been a public school teacher all his life. He also coached sports and was particularly successful with middle school basketball at an historically black, low income middle school. He is white. He loved the young men he coached. He was the only white guy in an all black school and he was the team’s coach, mentor and hero.
It’s like an inspirational story with a reverse twist to it.
No matter though, those days are over.
There were about 50 people there. Friends, neighbors, fellow school teachers, family. Food, drink, loud 70’s rock and roll. But not too loud. Just right actually, so that you could easily have a conversation and tap your feet at the same time.
So I’m talking with two of his brothers, both older than him. I ask them if they’ve ever experienced a mid-life crisis. Both had.
They asked me and I said I experienced a significant enlightenment, but it never felt like a mid life crisis. It felt like a mid life celebration.
We continued our conversation for about 30 minutes. Two significant thoughts were presented by the younger of the two brothers. And by the way, both are retired. Both at least 10-15 years older than me. And I ain’t no spring chicken. I hope to make it to my 50th birthday this summer.
Anyway, here’s what I wrote down. And yes, I’m always prepared, wherever I go, to have some way to capture anything “significant”.
1. Pain times resistance equals suffering. (pain X resistance = suffering)
2. “An eye for an eye and the whole world goes blind.” — Ghandi
Both of these struck me as profound. Profoundly simple. Simply profound.
The thought in number 1 is that if you don’t resist, than the formula plays out like this:
Pain, times zero resistance, equals zero suffering! (pain X 0 = 0)
The second idea, to me, speaks to the general human nature to seek revenge. Revenge is actually doing something you said was wrong. But because it happened to you first, now you rationalize that the “bad thing” is acceptable.
When is bad ever acceptable?
As humans, we are acutely afflicted with weakness and temptation. At least I sure am. How about you?
As a father of a young son, I cannot teach patience with impatience. How in the heck is that ever gonna work?
Thank you, if you’re still reading this, for reading this.
All I want to do is be a great role model for my son. If I can do that, than I fully expect to be a great husband, son, neighbor, brother, uncle, colleague, volunteer, etc.
Pain X resistance = suffering.
An eye for an eye, and the whole world goes blind.
Then I shared with the two brothers (I’ve known them for 15 years as well), one of my favorites, from St Francis of Assisi:
Everyday preach the Gospel, and, if necessary, use words.
When was the last time you had a heart to heart talk with yourself? Seriously!
Congratulations if it was recent, meaningful and you feel you acted with decisiveness.
If you didn’t, why not? This is the process I repeat over and over.
As the CEO of Fast Company said in a presentation I observed many years ago, his process was (and probably still is) Launch, Learn, Revise.
Launch, learn, revise. Has a nice ring to it.
There is a book out, which I haven’t read (but hope to soon), called “What Got you Here Won’t Get you There”.
Does this title stir any emotions with you?
Are you happy with the current path your life is on? Many times on my mid life journey I ask this question. Even this morning. And, oh yes, even yesterday. How about this thought from Phillip Brooks (1835 -1893), noted American clergyman and author:
“You must learn, you must let God teach you, that the only way to get rid of your past is to make a future out of it. God will waste nothing.”
Let your “successful failures” give you the seeds of wisdom to make choices that will help you make your 2009 one of your best (if not the best) years ever! And let your glorious victories, small or large, help you see that anything is possible. You just have to believe.
I challenge myself to do the impossible. Like this entry a few days ago about the 10-year old boy with luekemia: https://midlifecelebration.com/?p=220
Carpe diem! Gotta go. The sun is up and it’s time for a run. Later.
I believe Winter starts the first morning you hear a Robin (bird) chirp. So, this year, Winter starts today, December 29. This is a tradition I created a decade ago, when I was thinking about my mid life celebration (aka mid life crisis) and looking for ways, if I ever got the privilege to be a Dad, to help our child understand the changing of seasons. Seasons change in central Florida, but only if you pay attention.
In fact everything changes.
And once again, only if you pay attention. As you approach mid life, change is everywhere. Most ignore it, deny it, hate it.
Change is as subtle as the one morning you hear a chirp you haven’t heard in about a year. Do you know how in tune you have to be to listen for this without listening for this?
Anyway, I’ll leave you with this: “When are you going to decide to kick your own ass and use the second half of your life, to be the change you wish to see in the world.”