Friday, May 02, 2003

If you aren't part of the solution, you are a part of the problem.

I've never really understood that phrase. It only now makes real sense. My previous post ended on basically that thought. I didn't so much end because I had nothing else to say but because it stopped me dead in my tracks.

It's easy to find mediocrity in your life. Things are just good. I'm reading a book called, "From Good to Great" and it has kinda made me think about this a bit, but it fits on a personal level as well as business level (as the book is primarily presented). But if you want things to be great you have to work to do so.

I've been stuck in a rut a number of times in my life. I suspect many people do. Some find a rut and are quite content there. Others hate it but still remain because they are too scared to jump out. I've riden from rut to rut. But I'm not in a 4x4 Jeep. Sometimes I get stuck longer than I want, love it or hate it. Other times I can transition easily from one to another.

Ruts are places where we are safe. Things don't change dramatically. You have a pretty good idea how you're day to day life will turn out. Unfortunatly we get used to this safety zone. We put the blinders on and don't see what else is out there for us. I made a significant and difficult jump from a safe place in Nebraska to Nashville, where I knew only a couple people and not very well. I barely had a job or place to stay. I almost gave up 3 months into it. Today I can look back on that and be thankful. My life has accelerated 100 fold since moving. I've grown in leaps and bounds, both personally and professionally.

Now I'm looking to go back to school. I'm getting a lot of support about that, but if I wasn't getting support or rather people telling me to stay where I am, they'd be working against me. My boss could suggest rather than take business classes that I go get some computer certifications instead. That way he'd not loose me as a network admin. He'd be keeping me in my rut. Luckly he isn't doing that.

The point is that people can easily unintentionally stunt the growth of others. This goes with relationships as well. Any relationship where cooperation is needed. If I'm helping you move but we are not using the same game plan we are going to work against each other. You may want to put the couch in first, but if I piled in a bunch of boxes, I have wasted my time and frustrated you.

As with most things, communication is the key. Even if not planned well out in advance communication can still be made in the process. "Wait, let's get the couch in and then the boxes. Ok?"

On the same token just because I screwed up and put the boxes in first doesn't necessarily mean I'm no good for helping you move. It just means I need to move those boxes and now communicate with you, "What is the plan of attack? What do you want to put in the truck next?" If there is no plan then one needs to be made, together.

Here are two reactions that will not help:

  • Ok, since you are so smart, you do it. I'll be over here out of the way. Let me know when you're done.

  • Just let me do it by myself. You're only going to get in my way.

Yes, I'm over simplifying, however I suspect we have all been on one end of that situation at one point or another and have probably heard or said phrases very similar.

I'm just as guilty. I read what I write and I think to myself, "Gee Marc why can't you live up to you're own expectations of the rest of the world?"

Two reasons:

  1. I'm human, not perfect.

  2. I don't expect the world to be able to live up to anything I write.

I'm human, not perfect. - Easily said as an excuse, but frankly it's true. We are flawed by nature. No matter our best intentions, dreams, hopes and promises, we will fail. We can suceed many times, but there will always be a few taints of failure in there. Ha, "few" I say. More like a lot. Even those who work very diligently to not fail do so often. Maybe a few isolated monks in some hidden monistary might have a low failure count, but the rest of us are mostly screw ups trying to win a few battles where we can and relishing in them because the rest is shit.

I don't expect the world to be able to live up to anything I write. - I'm no Messiah. I don't have all the answeres and the ones I have certainly are not guarenteed. On top of that the only person I really can expect to live up to my writings and thoughts is myself. I write and say these things more for my own benifit than anyone elses. If others can learn and walk away with some nice nugget of knowledge about themselves by reading these things I'm quite glad for their sake, but I do not expect it.

I have to ask myself, "Am I helping or hurting? Am I doing everything I can to make things as good as I can?" Not just for myself but for those in my life. There in lies the rub. The balance of all of your struggles. Work. Love. Self. They should weave together to create a beautiful tapestry. At least that's what we all hope.

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