The Fractured Man

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

-Teddy Roosevelt

I am a fractured man. I have multiple scars and limps from battles lost, and won. All of these are forming every day. The forming of:

  • Empathy
  • Love
  • Humility
  • Focus
  • Contentment

The fractured men and women I’ve known are full of clarity. They see no point in pretense and posing. They understand that life is a limited time offer. This is only known when a human comes in touch with the brink (death, business failure, relationship loss, and more). Each time I’ve been in the position of looking at the brink, I’m reminded of the futility of thinking I have control. The story will never cede its authority.

I used to see the process of fracturing as unwelcome visitors. I discovered some time ago that these visitors are friends designed to bring me to a form of completeness.

In the age we live in, my words are contrarian and not talked about. Everything is about winning, typically at all costs. You would think life is just a big contest with all the glory at the end. I wish we paid more attention to the input, the blood, the sweat. It could make a big difference.


Thoughts on Marriage-The Winning and the Losing

I don't know if I've ever written a post on marriage. I know I've never written about the winning and the losing side of it. With the exception of my wife, I just haven't. Sorry.

Marriage can be a powerful part of Epic Living.

I happened upon this post while on Google + last week. The writer, Kelly Flanagan, is a therapist practicing in Wheaton, Illinois. It is by far, one of the best takes on what makes for a thriving marriage. He does an excellent job of breaking things down in a way that most anyone can unwrap. I think he's onto something that many already know; a life-long relationship is essentially about serving/giving to the person you love. The greatest irony of this is found in the fact that you get so much more back from that serving/giving.

Married or not, you'll gain a lot out of his perspective. I'd love to know if you see applications beyond marriage too. 

When Winning Produces a Loss

D Rose Injury
May sound contrariain, but sometimes winning can produce a loss. From a sports perspective, your team may win the game, but if your star player goes down with an injury, that's a big loss. This can apply to life too. You know, we've been told how great it is to be the one who's in charge or the one everyone wants to hear from. All the while forgetting the price involved.

We've been turned into sheep. We're led along with the herd and told what we must be. All the while being seduced into believing that all of the goods and awards make being a sheep not such a bad thing. And the longer we stay in the herd, the greater the chance we will never have the will to live differently.

The reality is found in understanding that if we win at the expense of something very important, we will lose and that will be the lasting legacy.

I really don't want to insult your intelligence by creating a "here's how" list for avoiding this plague (winning that produces loss). Truth is, most of us know what we need to do (take our spouse out on a date, begin the exercise plan, cut back on work, etc.), it's just our will and courage to do it.

If you're in the category of not knowing, then read this post from awhile back for some direction.

No Promises

No Promises 

We would have been better off hearing early on in our adult lives that there are no promises given in life and work.  Some of you might be thinking I deserve the "duh" award about now.  But isn't it ironic how often we hear and throw around promises.  Often this happens without any thought at all.

What if we heard something like the following:

    "No promises here, just the opportunity to get up after falling down and to try again."

Maybe not the cure-all, but certainly clear and based in reality. 

In America, we're so obsessed with success and winning that we tend to run from the "loss" like the plague.  What exactly do we learn when we succeed?  Much I hope, but if we're honest we just want it to keep going.  In our time many of those successes are hollow and unfulfilling.  So sad, since a fulfilling win can only come after the bitter taste of failure.  

We can't change the past (yesterday), so let's get on with it.  You should not expect that every road leads to the dreams in your head.  Follow your gut and be prepared to course correct.  So many give up because they wanted life just as they desired.  They fail to realize that it takes a lot of pain and disappointment to birth a dream come true.  Eyes wide open here, ladies and gentlemen.

The following is a list of promises I've been willing to put all of myself into.  But first understand, I made a decision some time ago that I would allow myself to be vulnerable and accept the risk inherent.  Vulnerability and risk come together to open the door to happiness.  Even with that, I've been hurt in all of these areas.

  1. The type of promises given to me by God.
  2. The marriage promise from my wife.
  3. The promises from friends like Rick, Marc, Terry, Steve, Jim, and Robert.
  4. Generally promises that come from people I meet for the first time, but I always manage those with verification in-mind.
  5. The type that come from my children.  Verification is important here, but more importantly, they need to understand that I believe in them.