The Crazy Part of Thanksgiving

The crazy part of thanksgiving is we’re not that thankful-at least most of us. It’s not a conscious act that makes us un-thankful. Most people have good intentions. However, as you know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Can you feel me here?

I used to wonder in my homeland why people tend to get thankful at Thanksgiving and during the general holiday season. I don’t any longer. It’s very clear that we Americans like entitlement. Yes, you heard me, we like entitlement(s). Look around and look within, the beast lives within. Whether we’re impatient for traffic to “get moving” or anger that we didn’t get a pat on the back from our employer, we feel like we’re owed. I won’t even pull out my list of embarrassing things in my past that made me feel entitled. I live a different life now than I did in those days past. Just the same, I have to keep careful watch over my reactions to circumstances that don’t cater to me.

Here’s some encouragement to consider:

  • Take a moment and ponder present or past losses. When you do that, you’ll find out what’s worth being thankful for
  • Find some way to remind yourself daily to be thankful. I use my iCloud calendar to do this. Find a system that works for you
  • Exit the stuff not worthy of the gift of time. I can’t figure this one for you, it’s a dance you must do alone
  • If the herd says go left, you should think hard about going right. The herd got us into this constant state of distraction
  • Read this profile of a man who knew he was running out of time and did

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Impatience and Reality

Come on, Come on, when will I get off hold. Impatience enters stage right.

That was me this past week. I was on hold forever, listening to a narrator tell me how important my call was. My self-talk kicked in and I began to justify my impatience. Isn’t there a law that you can’t be put on hold for more than 20 minutes?

The point of this post is not about call center hold times. I really want to drive home this photo I got from my friend, Jim:

Jim's Image

 

Our plans in our head are so pure and linear. I’m not writing anything you probably don’t already know-in your gut. But if you’re like me, the first drawing is very seductive. Not to mention, how tough reality can really be. Reality is the ultimate equalizer and humility pill. I’m thankful for it.

Years ago I was advised of the volatile pattern of entrepreneurism. Someone may have even shown me a graphic like the one above. My ego was too large. I convinced myself that I would be the exception. It was rooted in a desire to see something take root and fulfill a vision. That desire was very powerful. More and more, I treat my desires like a lion. The lion needs to know whom the master is. Absent that, I would be torn apart by a desire turned into an obsession. That’s a story with a disastrous ending.

What I do is a calling (from God). I have to do it. I can’t turn around and go back. I have only one option. Regardless, you should join me in accepting, if not embracing, reality.  The business of “your plan” should be held onto lightly.

The Trouble with Entitlement

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Had a bit of an epiphany last night about entitlement. Specifically, the trouble with entitlement and what it leads too. This post is about human beings. The government issues are for different writers out their in the blogosphere.

The trouble with entitlement is it connects directly with a nasty habit called taking things for granted.

In my world, I often hear family and friends decry taking things for granted. Most of the motivation for this comes from all of us getting the unexpected/shocking news of someone dying or someone losing something valuable. The list includes family, friends, health, and much more. You know the old saying around you don’t know what you have until its gone.

I believe taking things for granted has an evil twin, and his name is entitlement. Entitlement is a deadly trap on multiple fronts. The biggest relates to a since that I’m owed something. For example, I was downloading an update to some software last week. In that process, there was a failure. I had to start over. I caught myself saying something like, “this is not supposed to happen, I don’t have time to wait on this.” Humanly speaking, we’ve all been in that situation. The ugly truth is I felt entitled to technology working the way I wanted. So the story goes.

Our words may not utter what is really going on inside, but we do walk around with this idea that:

  • “I’m supposed to have smart, successful children.”
  • “I’m supposed to have a spouse who will not cheat.”
  • “I’m supposed to have health that doesn’t fail.”
  • “I’m supposed to have a career that lasts forever.”
  • “You’re supposed to be there when I need you.”

I’m sure you could add to the above. The truth is we’re not entitled to much. Most of what we have (Life) are gifts. Seems to me, thankfulness should overrule our attitude of entitlement. Imagine what impact that would have on our wellbeing.

The Giving Up Thing

Giving Up

Wrote this back in 2011. I was in the garden this past week and it dawned on me how I’ve been to this place and back, and back again. Hope you get some inspiration here. Cheers!

Picture this, you’re moving through life wondering where you fit in.  You’ve played many roles.  You’ve tried finding happiness in what everyone says you should be happy with.  But, alas, you’re still looking.  Every day you’re looking and the “giving up thing” rears its head (ugly or beautiful).

This is tough and lonely work.

If we’re honest, we’d admit that the purpose/mission has at one time or another whispered to us.  Trouble is we’re not a very honest culture.  The art of lying to oneself is very much the norm.  And so it goes, the whisper.  The proverbial, “this is what makes me come alive” or “I belong in this space.”  Do you listen or try to ignore?  So now you know.  It’s calling you and maybe you’re one of the few that listens.  Your first step out into the great unknown is a dip (thank you Seth Godin).  Maybe it’s skepticism, maybe it’s envy or maybe it’s flat out fear on your part.  Before long you begin to wonder what you’ve done and is it too late to turn back.  Turning back always has your number on speed-dial.

There is a reason Cortez burned the ships in the harbour.

Let me be clear, sometimes you should give up.  I think we know when that is.  The time to give up is not when you’re being refined by the crucible of exhaustion and doubt.  And believe me, that’s when many do give up.  I’ve always believed that no one can truly play a part in changing the world until they have felt pain and loss.  By the way, that’s what everyone else has experienced.  And is experiencing in some way.  The audience is looking for someone who is unwavering in integrity and has a passion to solve the problems.

Here are some observations on combating the desire to give up when you shouldn’t:

  • As mentioned earlier, your exhaustion and doubt may be related to the crucible.
  • Being who you really are is Tough Work.  Don’t buy the lie of ease and comfort.
  • Going back is often the first step to your own eulogy.
  • Don’t confuse the need for reinvention of your work versus turning the lights out.  Your work is your work, know what it is.
  • Be allegiant to your life.  This brings clarity, you’ll need this when the difficult times come.