Enlightened Conflict

ignored truths for temporary happiness

March 13th, 2017

temporary fleeting g

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“Who in the world am I?

Ah, that’s the great puzzle.”

 

Alice in Wonderland

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  “We ignored truths for temporary happiness.

 

——

six word story

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“Most people do not realize that thinking about something is inviting the essence of that something into their experience.”

 

Abraham Hicks

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presentist 1Ok.

 

One of the most difficult things to figure out is what to do ‘now’ when given a choice … particularly if that ‘now decision’ would appear to provide some happiness.

 

I mean … WTF … who would pass on happiness?

 

We have a tendency to either not think long term when facing happiness … or maybe we weight happiness to such an extent it appears to have a higher value then it may actually have.

 

Fortunately for us … we actually have an inner scale.

 

This scale makes this decision a fairly easy one.  That inner scale is the “I know who in the world you are’ scale.

 

If you know that your happiness assessment glasses are clear, not smudgy and provide you at least fairly good vision … well … you have a better than even chance of actually figuring out whether it represents temporary happiness or ongoing happiness.

 

Regardless.

 

The desire or seeking of Happiness cloaks everything. Even truth. And maybe exponentially so for truth.truth people hate

Truth is tricky.

 

We confuse it with common sense, intuition & instinct.

All of which suggest the real truth about … well … truth without actually being true.

None of those things truly reflect truth … just a characteristic of truth.

 

The characteristic? Glimpses. Glimpses of truth are temporary. That isn’t to suggest truth is not everlasting or steadfast but rather our viewing of truth comes in glimpses.

 

That said … I will offer a word to everyone on temporary … a word, if you take some time and consider it a little, which partially explains ignoring truth – evanescent.

 

Evanescent refers to that which almost vanishes as soon as it appears, implying that a thing is ‘tenuous, delicate or unsubstantial ‘ as part of its nature <an evanescent glimpse of the truth>

 

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“If you put your happiness in temporary things – your happiness will be temporary.

 

 

Nick Vujicic

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last haven evanescent temporary glimpseI chose evanescent to make a point … I could have used momentary, passing or fleeing.

All synonyms of temporary.

 

I could have used transient or transitory … both of which stress brevity and impermanence and the fact it will not endure.

Both synonyms of temporary.

 

I could have even used ephemera which denotes that which changes aspect rapidly and continuously.

Another synonym of temporary.

 

I could have even focused on temporary which is a nice general term that implies measurable but of limited duration.

 

But I didn’t.

I didn’t because truth, more often than not, can vanish just as quickly as it appears.

 

Let me explain why.

 

Truth is rarely simple and is even more rarely a “it just is” factoid. Instead it is more likely represented in a disparate range of factoids and fragments. They all swirl around this truth and most often we, seeking simplicity & happiness, ignore all the fragments and put our arms around the easier happiness.

 

The danger in this is that we then have no depth of understanding. We are not forced to assess the fragments and think. We don’t because , in our heads, truth should be simple, clear and obvious <hence the reason we far too often confuse it with common sense>.

 

This is where evanescent comes back into the conversation.

As noted earlier truth is most often represented in a big blob of swirling disparate fragments … and, yet, on occasion if we look at just the right time all the fragments align … and truth appears.wow excited astonish no

 

Some may call this an “ah ha” moment. I would suggest t is simply a moment of clarity.

 

It is a moment in which you truly become a conduit of truth.

 

It is a moment where everything is aligned and Truth stands there … right in front of you … still amidst the swirl & chaos of Life.

 

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“Liberty of thought is the life of the soul.”

 

Voltaire

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Of course … you actually have to be paying attention.

Of course … you actually have to not be distracted by happiness.

 

Of course … you actually hate having to do both of what I just wrote.

I mean, c’mon, to have the opportunity to be wrapped in a nice cozy blanket of happiness for the rest of our existence <because that is what we hope every time happiness snuggles up against us … that this is the time it lasts forever>?

 

Uhm.

 

What a fucking fairy tale.

That is like basing truth & happiness on unicorn farts.

 

Here is what everyone needs to remember as they ponder ignoring truth for happiness.

 

Everlasting happiness is a myth.

 

Shit.

 

Everlasting truth is a myth.

 

Whew. How ironic is that?

 

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“I have lived with a sense of irony and cold curiosity.”

 

——

Friedrich Nietzsche

 

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Two of the most valued things in Life are myths.

 

Well.

 

It sure sucks to think that.

 

bad decisions for temporary happiness

Anyway.

 

Here is the most basic truth of all <a non temporary truth but an everlasting one>.

 

Truth will always be truth … but it will never be easy … easy to gather, to understand and to believe.

 

And because it is not easy … and we would much prefer happiness <even temporary happiness> we will accept being right sometimes … wrong sometimes … and at all times believe things on insufficient evidence.

 

Yeah.

We should just face the fact that even on the things we believe, and claim we understand, we are doing so often in an incomplete way <even if we are correct>.

 

I believe my smartphone works … but I have no clue how.

 

I believe … well … full in your own “black box belief” here … things you just assume will work and assume we understand how to make it work but certainly do not understand the ins & outs of its workings.

 

This is the economy.

This is effective government.

This is climate change.

This is finance.

 

This is most of the big stuff in Life.

 

Which brings me to my conclusion … something little … evanescent.

The glimpse of truth.

The moment when all the disparate fragments align and truth stands in front of you.

 

It is the moment when … well … things are sufficient enough to understand and believe.

 

It is the moment we should not ignore truth for either temporary happiness or the temptation of what may appear to be everlasting happiness.

 

It is the moment when we have the opportunity to … well … “see who I am” and yes or no importanceplace an important piece of the puzzle in place.

 

Wow.

 

That sounds like an important moment, doesn’t it?

 

You bet.

Pay attention for it.

Pay very very close attention.

Pay attention … because the glimpse of truth is evanescent.

 

Pay attention … because the last haven of truth often resides in the evanescent.

Order and Chaos

February 3rd, 2017

order chaos consistent hugh

 

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“There seems to be a kind of order in the universe … in the movement of the stars and the turning of the Earth and the changing of the seasons.

 

But human life is almost pure chaos.

Everyone takes his stance, asserts his own right and feelings, mistaking the motives of others, and his own.”

 

—-

Katherine Anne Porter

 

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Well.

 

What an interesting thought this quote offers.

historic thinkerSuggesting that it isn’t Life that is random and chaotic … but rather us.

 

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

 

This suggests that Life, if left alone, would be quiet, orderly and consistent.

That is something quite contrary to what I have written and what I believe most of us tend to think about.

 

I know I tend to think of Life as indifferent to us and , in fact, tends to care only about itself and its humorous existence by randomly pulling the strings of our Life on occasion just to make sure we are paying attention.

 

What if I have been thinking about it all wrong?

 

What if it is really just us crazy humans and not Life itself that creates the sometimes quirky zigs & zags in Life?

 

Wow.

 

If it is us then … well … we all better get our shit together.

 

This would mean that not only do we need to stop thinking about how we adapt to the quirks of everyday life but that we need to become better fighters of better human behavior <and attitudes I would imagine>.

 

Why?met the enemy and it is us pogo

 

Well.

 

Because this means the enemy is us.

 

This would suggest that there is, and will always … always, be something good we will need to be fighting for.

 

This would also suggest that what we see as true individual autonomy, which we most often associate with a sense of freedom, is a false narrative.

 

It is false because our self-interest and autonomy is not unfettered by rules or obligations to others but rather constricted, or fettered, by other people.

 

I would imagine we could view this on maybe several levels … our own self interest, imposed self interest <rules and guidelines set up by some larger entity> and the other persons’ self interest.

 

We then see the world as an orderly place if, and only of, all those things are aligned and all have the same interest at the same time for some meaningful amount of time from which we can get some sense of orderliness.

This would also then suggest that any adversity is not Life imposed but self imposed <if not by you but by someone else>.

 

But there is another aspect. I need to go back to the interest trinity of own self interest, imposed self interest <rules and guidelines set up by some larger entity> and the other persons’ self interest.

opinions fight myself

For if we only seek obedience to the ‘imposed interest’ we are doomed for failure.

Simplistically this is why authoritarianism and totalitarianism and autocracies fail.

They try to impose self interest which, more likely than not, does not actually align with real self interest and this generates a feeling of adversity … and chaos.

Which is slightly odd in that we are generating chaos from order.

All this does is point out that imposed order is more likely to create chaos than not.

 

There is a phrase called ‘obedient autonomy’ and I am purposefully misusing it to make a point.

 

Individualistic autonomy is a false narrative. Yes. we can make individual choices but unless we are on some island, alone, … we inevitably interact with other people and are connected culturally in a variety of ways.

 

We must have some self-imposed order to enable the greater whole to have a greater good.

Our self imposed order limits chaos created by people … not created by Life.

 

And … if we get our self imposed order wrong? Whew. It only creates more adversity, more angst, more friction and more inefficient cultural and societal behavior.

 

All that philosophical mumbo jumbo aside … here is my point.

 

We sometimes confuse what appears to be a disorderly and uncertain world with what is actually just disorderly and uncertain people.

 

Therefore, maybe we confuse chaos or randomness with what is actually unpredictability due to our lack of understanding or information <or maybe a thread of ignorance>.

next generation of thinkers

I believe we all know that there has to be some kind of standard, some kind of mutual agreement and that ‘some’ means it should be captured in some laws, rules and guidelines. That is not really ‘imposed interest’ but rather ‘interest captured in guidelines.’

This shouldn’t be that hard to grasp because, similarly, we all know there are clearly some scientific laws that govern the universe.

These are the things that help make some aspects of life predictable and orderly.

 

I read somewhere … there isn’t really much variation from stone to stone, or from lion to lion, or from cloud to cloud to us people. Therefore, you would have to say that without people the universe is extremely orderly with the occasional exception that actually proves the rule rather than disprove this rule of thinking.

 

Therefore, if we see randomness or we see chaos, it is not ‘the world’ nor is it some ‘universe thing’ … but rather people and personalities creating what we “see”.

 

 

thinker thumbtackWhy does that matter?

 

Because what people make … people can unmake.

Just ponder that when you think about a universe and world and Life which seems uncertain and out of control.

 

It is people creating that feeling of chaos & uncertainty and those people’s behaviors can always be constrained and contained by other peoples who are in the right and seek some orderliness.

raincoats

December 29th, 2016

 autumn-rain-fall

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“Because of the way this garment <Mackintosh raincoat> is made.

There is no stitching involved, it’s completely bonded/glued, in order to keep the garment completely waterproof. I owned a vintage Mac that I wore for years in my early twenties until someone stole it at a party.

Even after literally doing everything to wear it out, that coat always looked immaculate.”

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Ok.

 

Today is the 250th birthday of the guy who invented the Mackintosh raincoat <a Glasgow Scot named Charles Macintosh>.

 

 

 

raincoat-charles-macintosh-google-doodle

 

I used to own a Mac. It was hot when wearing … but that sonuvabitch kept you dry as a bone.

 

Alas.

 

I believe it was a victim of one of the dozens of moves I have made as part of some garage sale or some Goodwill donation as I was purging things <that I only ended up rebuying again at some point>.

 

Charles Macintosh was a Scottish chemist and inventor of waterproof fabric.

 

Why am I writing about raincoats today <other than the fact I rue ditching my fabulous Mac>?

 

It is a reminder that inventions don’t have to be glamorous and that inventing is rarely glamorous.

 

It is a reminder that even with all the apps being ‘invented’ almost 95% of them are wasted energy and wasted money.

 

It is a reminder that most of the inventions that truly matter to us are the fruits of labor and not complete ingenuity but rather a practical ‘what the hell can I do with this’ attitude.

 

For example.

 

Macintosh had a nothing-wasted mind-set.

 

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His discovery of the long-sought solvent for rubber came out of his search for uses of some of the nastiest by-products of the nineteenth century progress,” Barnett writes. “Gas lamps were becoming popular in the cities of Europe, lighting up the wealthier streets and private homes. But the tar sludge left behind in the manufacture of coal gas was a public menace … Macintosh saw practical uses in the sludge and wastewater, which include valuable ammonia.

In 1819, Glasgow Gas Works was only too happy to sign a contract to sell him all the waste it produced.”

 

According to Today in Science, the sludge led to Macintosh’s famed invention:

In June 1823, Macintosh patented his process using a solution of india-rubber in naphtha soaked between two layers of cloth forming a sandwich that was pressed together. The rubber interior provided a layer impermeable to water, though still flexible.

His patent, No. 4,804, described how to “manufacture for rendering the texture of hemp, flax, wool, cotton, silk, and also leather, paper and other substances impervious to water and air.”

—-

 

From the nasty by products of civilization, which were thrown out as useless by the majority, one guy developed the rainproof fabric.

 

lamp bulb tulips isolated on white with clipping path

My point is that great ideas rarely arise from nothing … they arise from something. And they arise from someone who sees something in what others deem as useless or unimportant or some version of waste of time.

 

My point is that even disruption is defined by “discovering an unconventional way to do conventional things.’

 

My point is that the most meaningful inventions, the ones which impact the way we live, are not glitzy or glamorous or ‘seeking to be a global brand’ but rather pragmatic, practical and part of a way of living Life.

 

My point is that the best raincoat in the world was made from human excrement and industrial waste.

 

My point is that everything is useful.

 

young people smarter egg context

My point is that it is fairly likely that the next great idea is not going to be found by some branding guru or within some big high falutin’ brand but from someone we don’t know working in some garage using all the shit, some ideas and probably some random by-products … that all the ‘smart people’ have thrown away.

 

Owning up

October 26th, 2016

 ideas-cloudy-chaos-trouble-contraian

 

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“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.”

 

 

Bruce Lee

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“If you own up to your mistakes, you don’t suffer as much.

But that’s a tough lesson to learn.”

 

Lee Iacocca

 

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So.

 

responsible act feelOwning up is all about the respect for the boundaries of responsibility.

 

Owning up to what you have done and said is possibly the truest test of character you will ever see.

 

When you are managing people you learn a shitload about employees by how they handle a mistake … and how they ‘own up.’

 

Now.

 

As a manager … you always filter the ‘owning up’ through your own management style <because you affect your employees behavior whether you admit it or not>.

 

Any leader worth half a shit encourages the people on their team to think, go and do.

 

And, in doing so, they also accept the inevitable mistakes that happen with those who are often reaching beyond what they are currently capable of <that reaching is called “growth” by the way>.

 

Leaders aside … anyone, in any organization worth a shit, is going to find themselves in situations where well intended actions which have become mistakes have been made.

 

<note: I will ignore the crappy organizations who believe stupid ongoing mistakes are a fundamental building block to everyday business>

 

This is where ‘owning up’ moves to the forefront.

 

In general … you will find owning up falls into three basic categories:

 

 

  • Cocoon the mistake.

It is mine. Examine it. Accept it. Blame yourself for it. Own it as an isolated incident.

 

 

  • Leverage the mistake.

It was mine. Examine it. I learned from it. Own it. Use it moving forward as a stepping stone.

 

 

  • Equivalize the mistake

<note: I made up the word “equivalize” … I could have used ‘equalize’ but it is actually more about someone searching for some equivalence that they can pony up in their defense>

 

It was mine … but … it was pretty similar to this other mistake … and remember when <insert name> did this? … which makes it not so bad, right?my bad mistake

 

 

<note: there are certainly degrees of each and every of these response categories>

 

 

Let me talk about these.

 

The first is a martyr. Throwing themselves at the mercy of the court.

 

The last is a victim. Saying … well … if you are going to convict me, be aware, you will also have to convict all these other people.

 

The middle one? Well. Before you convict me let me tell you how it makes me, and us, better.

 

Once again, any good manager worth half a shit will reflect upon their responsibility for the response before they respond. Good managers understand that they set the tone for ‘encouraging mistakes’ and managing the main filter someone flows through when assessing and articulating their own mistakes – fear of repercussions.

 

All that said.

 

If you remove fear of repercussion you gain some true insight into the person.

 

For example … a senior person who feels entitled and ‘above the fray’ will have little to no fear of repercussion and you will see who they truly are in their response. And they can fall into any of the three categories I outlined.

 

Younger employees, on the other hand, are more likely to be scared shitless and their response is like looking into a mirror of your management style.

 

But.

 

Here is an interesting thought with regard to owning up.

 

Shit hitting the fan is like … well … a hurricane. Rarely is it simple and even rules not follow shitmore rarely does it stay a simple storm if you ignore it … it will eventually become a hurricane if you let it.

 

The thought?

 

The ‘i’ of the word hurricane is also in its center.

 

That is where owning up truly resides. How the “I” in the middle of the hurricane acts.

 

Still amidst the buffeting winds?

 

Scared of the mountain high waves?

 

Make little nuanced responses to remain in the calm of the hurricane?

 

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“The little things? The little moments? — They aren’t little. “

 

John Zabat-Zinn

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I imagine my point is that in owning up there is certainly the larger “am I willing to accept responsibility” but there are numerous little things within the acceptance which showcase character.

 

Being accountable, in general, demonstrates you are responsible. It certainly demonstrates you are willing to do shit, to make a mistake and are prepared to take accountability for it.

 

Being unaccountable creates an incredibly irksome dilemma to a manager.

dance-adams-family-couple-distinct

“I didn’t do it” , when all the obvious evidence states you did do it, creates incredibly stilted conversations circling some alternative universes.

 

It can become an absurd dance around reality.

 

And, worse, not owning up to something actually creates a spark which creates a smoldering fire which needs to be constantly dealt with over and over and over again.

 

And each time its little flame appears it scorches that person’s integrity just a little more.

 

I know.

 

It is incredibly easy to point fingers when things go wrong. Even easier to not even speak up and hope that no one notices.

 

Good things, the right things, are always harder to do.

 

Which leads me to a really neat thing I found about ‘owning up’ … which I found when doing some research — an organization called ‘cultures of dignity’ that has a curriculum they offer for young people.

 

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Owning Up teaches young people to understand their individual development in relation to group behavior, the influence of social media on their conflicts, and the dynamics that lead to discrimination and bigotry.

 

Whether you’re teaching in a school, a team, or a youth-serving organization, Owning Up is a flexible, dynamic curriculum that respects your knowledge of the young people you work with and the communities in which you serve.

Owning Up is a tool to help educators work with the most interesting, funny, and challenging people in the world: tweens and teens. It’s also a tool to teach young people the capacity to understand their individual development in relation to group behavior with their peers, the social dynamics that lead to discrimination and bigotry, and the skills to be socially competent in the difficult yet common social conflicts they experience.

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I love it. I love we go out of our way to show young people the power of ‘owning up.’

 

Uhm.

 

Now adults have to exhibit the same behavior <or have their own class>.

 

 

Which leads me to Trump who is, unfortunately, serving as a potential role model for our young people.

 

I imagine I thought about ‘owning up’ because of Trump.

 

He has mastered the art of not owning up to anything. But he does it in a way that I am not sure I have ever seen before. He just ignores what he has said and done. He just keeps moving onward <not upward> and I imagine in his head he shows a disdain for ‘owning up’ because it is so far in his rear view mirror he can’t even see why others want to keep talking about it.

accountability quote

I am not sure if in his own alternative universe <in his head> he never did anything to own up to … or if he is so focused on where he is going next he cannot be bothered by going back to what was.

 

Either way … it teaches nothing about the value of ‘owning up’ to our young people and sends a horrible message with regard to accepting responsibility for words & actions.

 

I would be quite pleased if Trump ‘owned up’ to that.

 

Regardless.

 

All I would suggest to everyone is that there may be nothing more reflective of someone’s character than their ‘owning up’ behavior.

in order to do what we want to do

October 20th, 2016

 

stop-go-signs-life-business-do

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“We do what we have to do in order to do what we want to do.”

 

—–

James Farmer Jr.

 

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“Success doesn’t come to you – you go to it.”

 

Marva Collins

 

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So.

 

I have written a number of times with regard to passion and how I tend to afraid lose mind find soul lifebelieve it is misguided advice to ‘follow your passion’ … in fact … I wrote ‘don’t find your passion’  as one of my thought pieces.

 

I will not recount my concerns with it.

 

Instead let’s focus on this little gem: what we want to do.

 

What we want to do spans everything from some grand audacious objective to some small ‘I want an ice cream cone’ want.

 

But I don’t care where you are on that spectrum … if you decide to do what you want to do you … well … you end up doing what you have to do in order to do it.

 

I imagine this is a different version of ‘go get it.’

 

I am fairly sure the line “if you want something, go get it … period” comes from “Pursuit of Happyness.” But this is not about happiness this is about doing what you want to do.

 

Doing what you have to do is not a passive thought. It is not ‘bending the rules’ or ‘do whatever it takes to win.’ It is all about actively pursuing what you want … going after it and … well … go get it type attitude.

 

This attitude is fairly consistent in its aspects & overall formula. I say it is a formula because you need to do all three of the things I list below … not just one.

I tend to believe everyone knows these aspects and this formula … and actually agrees with them … but not everyone actually does them.

But here you go:Bad 27 7 doing shit

 

Work … or … doing shit.

 

What you want almost certainly never comes to you.

I can almost guarantee that anything you want you will need to go get. It will require you to do some work and do some hard shit to get to some place where what you want is within reach.

 

If you do not take any action there will be no ‘what you want’ anywhere in your Life.

 

Period.

 

 

 

Relentless & resilient.

 

Work and doing is, unfortunately, not enough. Some people would suggest you need persistence … I will not. I think you need to be relentless and resilient.

 

Relentless implies not just persistency but a real ‘go get it’ attitude. Fortunately, participate relentlessly in manifestation liferesilience is inextricably tied to that attitude.

 

Relentless people tend to be more resilient.

 

I say that because, truth be told, rarely is ‘working hard’ enough. Because even though you are working and doing … Life has a nasty habit of throwing obstacles in your way. And, let’s face it, it is always easier to find an excuse then it is to fight thru the obstacle <especially if the obstacles are relentless>. Resilience is kind of the engine for your progress … no resilience and the engine will stop.

 

Look.

 

Relentless and resilient may not insure Life won’t find some way to beat you down but it sure makes it more difficult for Life to do so.

Relentless and resilience keeps you in the game. It keeps you on the path toward what you want.

Period.

 

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“It isn’t normal to know what we want.

It is a rare and difficult psychological achievement.”

 

Abraham Maslow

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Lastly.

 

Give your best.

 

Not all work is created equal and not all ‘relentless’ is created equal. In other words … you can work long and hard and still fall short of what you want to do.

 

But.

Never forget.do your best boy

 

You are the architect of your own fate. And the architects’ best tool is … well … doing your best.

And, unfortunately, you cannot know if the day you take off … or the day you decide to give something less than your best … is the day Fate decides to pay attention to you.

 

You have to give your best every day and every minute you can.

 

The other unfortunate thing is that rarely is ‘your best’ and ‘something’ <the outcome> immediate. It can sometimes take days, weeks, months and even years before you can see the results for your actions and relentlessness.

 

The only thing that is for certain is if you stop or give up you will lose it all.

 

Period.

 

 

That’s why this is a formula … you gotta work, be relentless and give your best to do what you want to do.

 

Lastly.

 

Here is the good news <because that all sounded like a shitload of work>.

 

If you really do all the things I just suggested and do what you need to do to do what you want to do … your success will be on your terms … and no one else’s.

 

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“If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.”

 

 

Anna Quindlen

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In order to do what you want we do what we have to get it.

work in progress i

Not only does good shit ‘just happen’ but you have to work hard to have good shit happen.

 

Most of us know that.

 

Yeah.

We all wish to that success, and gaining what we want, would just be a little easier on occasion.

 

The only solace I can offer is that if you do things on your own terms, you do what you need to do to get what you want and you work hard doing your best … well … that is the best tasting success you will ever be served.

 

Enlightened Conflict