how we survive makes who we are

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“There’s always a strange feeling you get when you come across one particular line by chance.

 

It feels somehow significant.

 

That’s irrational of course, but humans are irrational creatures.

Even the sturdiest, most down-to-earth chap will turn pale if he opens a book at random and sees the words PREPARE TO MEET THY DEATH. “

 

 

Mark Forsyth

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Well.

 

Survival is a great motivator.

 

Suffice it to say there is pretty much nothing like feeling like ‘prepare to meet thy death’ is imminent to create a sense of urgency in your actions. I believe this is true in your personal life as well as in your business life.

 

 

But.

 

Let’s be clear.

 

Up until that “death scenario” point most of us swing back & forth between a general sense of lack of urgency and … well … just getting all the shit done you need to get done <no urgency nor laziness … just doing and checking shit off your list>.

 

 

It is a fairly practical approach to approaching Life <and business life>.

 

Looking at Life objectively … Life is almost always a balance of pacing yourself so that you don’t burn out <and have the energy when you actually do need it> and a sense of urgency to ‘do’ when the situation dictates.

 

And, yet … we almost seem irrational when it comes to this balance. We run, and run, and run … and then all of a sudden schedule some forced ‘stop’ under the guise of ‘re-energizing’ or recharging our batteries.

 

This is kind of nuts.

 

This actually implies we can control what we face and when we face it.

 

 

But let me explain what I really mean.

 

Well.

 

Even the sturdiest, most down-to-earth chap will turn pale if he opens a book at random and sees the words PREPARE TO MEET THY DEATH.

 

 

So let’s say your idea of balance is a simple “go” or “stop” … either 100% of one or 100% of the other.100 percent stop go

 

So let’s say you have been running and running and running with your planned “stop” imminent.

 

Uh oh.

 

Life stands in front of you with some situation and places the words is ‘prepare to meet thy death’ squarely in front of you.

You pale.

 

Shit. We all pale in  moment like that.

 

It is a ‘survival moment.’ What many bosses flippantly call “an all hands on deck” moment.

 

Well.

 

You are fucked.

 

Just when you need the energy the most you are most likely at your most depleted.

 

Suffice it to say the ‘100% stop or go’ Life strategy is not the most practical or efficient living Life model.

 

And, yet, that is exactly the model most of us use.

 

Our reason <excuse>?

 

This is what Life demands of us.

 

Well.

I could argue that Life may certainly pressure us to live life this way but it certainly doesn’t demand us to live it this way.

 

We get lots of choices in Life and one of them is how we live it.

Even with all the “survive must do’s” we get a lot of room on how we conduct our lives.

 

Death or survival moments reminds us of this. It is in these moments in which our survival mode kicks in <” I am not prepared to meet my death … if at all possible”>.

 

silence speak death dieMost of us figure we may as well go out fighting … hence the urgency.

 

“Better it is to die as a soldier since die we must.

And though the man who dies hath pain – to all his house accrues praise and pride. “

Euripedes

 

 

Now.

 

I will admit.

 

I hated the false ‘prepare to meet thy death’ moments a shitload of managers create in business.

Well. I really believe most of them do not create them but rather they simply cannot discern between a true “meet thy death” scenario versus a “a calculated action is called for here.”

 

In addition.

 

I admit.

 

I found it incredibly frustrating to have a “prepare to meet thy death” scenario rear its monstrous head and any and all resources became available. Not because I begrudged the resources needed to meet the situation but because months before you had asked for the same resources <maybe even a lesser degree> and if invested … this particular ‘prepare to meet thy death’ scenario most likely would have never occurred.

 

But that is why I said what I said upfront … most of us grind our way through life, business & personal, with a general lack of urgency. Creating urgency without a ‘prepare to meet thy death’ situation is … well … difficult.

 

And because it is difficult an because there is a mostly lack of urgency general attitude … managers almost get trained to inspire urgency with ‘death-like scenarios. This is the truly evil business version of “false sense of urgency.”

 

It is a mind numbingly stupid situation we have created ourselves.

 

I, personally as a manager, do not know if I was particularly good at heading off ‘prepare for thy death’ situations and I don’t know if I was particularly good at recognizing real ‘prepare to meet thy death’ scenarios <because sometimes they tomorrow we shall meet death and Iactually can be slightly sneaky> but I do tend to believe I erred on the side of treating almost all scenarios initially as ‘non urgent’ believing more often than not if we didn’t run around like chickens with our heads cut off and didn’t invest a shitload of extra resources we could most likely handle it fairly efficiently.

 

My only proof to back up what I just wrote?

 

I am not dead.

 

Regardless.

 

I do wish more of us, in Life and in business, could cut back on the “go 100%” and “stop 100%” interval living. I don’t think it is particularly healthy nor particularly effective in the long run.

 

Death comes to all of us soon enough … no reason to seek it out.

 

 

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Written by Bruce