no brain pain

“Haply the Law that rules the world allows to man the widest range;

And haply Fate’s a Theist-word, subject to human chance and change.

This “I” may find a future Life, a nobler copy of our own”.

=

Sir Richard Burton

 

 

Well.

 

I was tempted to call this “is this all there is?” … but instead decided on talking about being noble. And finding what Sir Richard suggests is a future Life a nobler version of our own.

I call it ‘a nobler version of I.”

 

I think anyone my age, of my generation, having either grinded out the day to day work life … or even loved every minute of the 2,800 work hour years invested <that last was me> … has stood back one day and said “is this all there is?”

 

I would suggest we are actually questioning whether we are living a noble life … or ‘is there a nobler version of I?’

 

Now.

 

I love working.

I am probably a borderline workaholic.

 

It kills me a little each day I am not working.

 

 

I have had two of my closer friends say in different words that my work defines me.

 

I cannot argue.

And, frankly, I don’t want to.

 

 

But that’s not the point <although it will contribute to my point>.

 

A significant amount of people in my generation are ‘dropping out of the rat race’ and shifting to ‘doing something that matters’ <let’s call it ‘doing something nobler’ for the sake of this post>. They are doing so like it is a light switch moment in Life.

 

Off with ambition and ‘work.’

On with noble and ‘purpose.’

 

Watching closely … the younger people see what is happening … hear our words … and are questioning whether the work world my generation created isn’t lacking something … or that there is something wrong with ‘this rat race they built’ … therefore they are coming out of the blocks into the working world looking for careers ‘doing something that matters.’

Seeking to make some grand gesture or higher purpose investment of time & effort.

 

Well.

 

noble small things great wayWith all due respect to my generation <and hopefully young people listen and follow along> I think we are making a mistake.

 

In my pea like brain I think this whole discussion of ‘purpose driven business’ or even ‘business with a conscious’ is kind of wacky. Ok. Maybe not wacky, because it has great intentions, but misguided. It is so .. well … grand … and I believe we would be better off focusing on the gestures.

 

Teaching that work can be done with purpose … not TO a purpose.

 

Teaching that purpose doesn’t have to be grand … but rather working with purpose is noble in and of itself.

 

Inevitably it seems to me that we would be better served if we simply taught people <and encouraged people> to be the noblest version of themselves regardless of what they did in the working world and who they worked for.

 

We all want the ‘grand gesture’ but instead maybe we should be seeking the ‘noble nudges.’

Living this way is something I call being a tugboat in Life.

You nudge the ships around you keeping everyone and everything on course.

 

Therefore … being a ‘nobler version of I” can actually be found in nudging.

 

Purpose can be found in everyday actions.

You can be noble all the time. Even throughout what some people may call ‘the grind.’

 

In fact … I could argue that this is the noblest of noble living.noble unselfish-and-noble

 

Nudging at exactly the right time … at the right moment <because … let’s face it … some moments are more important than others> … and you can steer someone back on course.

 

And you can be noble upwards <to someone who is managing you>… and downwards <to the ‘someones’ you manage>.

 

I learned early on in my career … working under the management of some spectacular managers <and spectacular people> that there were moments that if I could take one straw off their back … or even better … be aware enough to not put another straw on their back … it was a burden they could carry and … well … make it to the next moment. My best team members did the same for me when I became  manager.

There are moments in work life where you can make a difference in people’s lives.

 

How they think.

How they adapt.

How they cope.

How they carry a burden they may have assumed.

Even how they make a decision <that could steer them down one path or another>.

 

Therein lies nobility.

 

Emerson suggested the most valuable thing was an active soul. He called this active soul one which unites and animates the farthest pinnacle and the lowest trench.

 

I am sure my soul dwells more often in the trench. But I am confident if I remain true to myself … and remain true to being as noble as possible <and the noblest version of I> … I know I can not only dwell in the trench and be okay … but get to see, and maybe visit, the pinnacle on occasion.

 

I imagine, metaphorically, in Life and in our work life we must explore the farthest pinnacles and lowest trenches.

 

Day to day can often be ‘the trench.’ And the trench … even if you live it nobly … is relentlessly unforgiving:

nobler version small-things

“We judge ourselves by our best intentions and most noble acts but we will be judged by our last worst act.”

Michael Josephson

 

We do our best … and most often our best is pretty good … good intentions and most noble acts.

Yet. Even with good intentions … we make mistakes or miss things. And get judged on ‘our worst acts.’

 

 

Maybe that is why work is … well … called work.

Work is called work <and not pleasure or leisure> because it is … well … work.

And working in and of itself is not a purpose … but HOW you actually conduct yourself as you work can be done with purpose.

 

Done in a nobler fashion and with noble intent.

 

How was I able to work 2800 hours year after year? I imagine that without realizing it was because I embraced the nobler aspects, the nudges, of the everyday work. The belief that if I was aware enough I could measure up to scrutiny of nobility by doing the right things in the right moments. The moments that not only made good shit happen … but happen to make good people be the best they could be.

 

Is that not success?

 

Is that not living a life with purpose … or maybe better said … living life purposefully?

 

And isn’t this having a career with a purpose?

 

Having a successful career … and making a difference … doesn’t have to be made up of some grand gesture … nor is it simply found in the company vision you work at. Success resides in HOW you do what you do. How you go about it and how ‘noble’ you are in your attitude & behavior.

 

 

“How melancholy a thing is success. Whilst failure inspirits a man, attainment reads the sad prosy lesson that all our glories “Are shadows, not substantial things.” Truly said the sayer, “disappointment is the salt of life” a salutary bitter which strengthens the mind for fresh exertion, and gives a double value to the prize.” – Sir Richard Burton

 

 

I worry my generation is disappointed with their careers and work life for the wrong reasons.

We are melancholy with this thing we called success.

 

Maybe it is because our noble glory was to be found in nudges and not grand gestures.

 

Anyway.

 

A nobler version of I.

 

I cannot think of many things better to be aspiring to … a nobler version of ourselves.

hero not common

But maybe we should be teaching how it can be done in the everyday work Life rather than treating it as if it is a light switch Life decision.

 

In the end.

 

I will always seek to find a nobler version of I … in everything that I do.

I sleep well at night.

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Written by Bruce