It is an age-old question. We use it when pondering some of conundrums of life—which came first, the chicken or the egg? Well of course you know the chicken came first. But what about success and happiness? Is there a happiness advantage?
Are you happy because you are successful, or are you successful because you are happy? Many people, maybe most people, think success leads to happiness, but it actually is the other way around.
It was a moment like few we ever experience. This was a moment of significance that will be remembered forever. People will be talking about the setting and event for years to come. But for me the significance of a brief moment was more—much more!
I have dreamed of these moments. But try as we might, these indelible experiences can’t be planned for or manufactured. We are unlikely to see them coming. They sprout from seeds we sow along our journey possibly never realizing we had nurtured them along the way.
We have a love hate relationship with feedback. It is not an equally balanced relationship. We love to hear positive feedback and push ourselves away from what we perceive as negative.
We don’t wake up in the morning thinking, “I sure hope I get some constructive criticism today. Oh yeah, I can’t think of anything I’d look forward to more than a heaping of unsolicited constructive criticism.”
You know by now that I like questions. I have not always had a warm relationship with questions. I am sure I am not alone. Goodness, learning to invite inquiry capable of exposing ignorance is uncomfortable.
Through years of being rewarded for having answers we learn to lead with confidence and rely on what we know. Slowly but surely we extinguish our innate teachable spirit and insistently rely on a base of knowledge that grows more fragile every day.
The juxtaposition of youth and maturity (growing old) had my full and undivided attention this past week. In a brief 24-hour period, I found myself standing in a hospital room and a college classroom.
At first glance, I didn’t consider for a moment there could be similarities. How could it be possible that the intersection of youthful anticipation and the pursuit of graceful aging could share something so powerful in common?
Knowledge is a commodity. Just ask “Siri” or “Alexa.” If you would have said, “Google It,” 10 years ago, few people would have known what that meant. But today “Google It” and “Ask Siri or Alexa” are part of our daily lexicon. Thus some of us are only as smart as our “smart phone” allows us to be.
Known answers are at our fingertips and we are bombarded (even overwhelmed) with data. High alert—“the value of explicit information is dropping.”
I lost something. You’ve likely lost it too. We had a lot of it as kids. But something happens on our journey to adulthood that allows it to slip away seemingly undetected. We lose our innate curiosity and stop asking questions.
It happens to all of us—some more than others. We’d rather stick to what we know. But what we know won’t be enough. In fact, what we know today won’t even be enough to sustain the present let alone allow us to make meaningful contributions in the future.
We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right.
Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.
I am not good with punctuation and grammar. Goodness my writing software just proved it by correcting “grammer” to “grammar.” I get reminded fairly frequently that I didn’t pay a lot of attention in my youth during English class.
I pay a lot more attention today. I am still working on the grammar and I’ve come to appreciate the value and power of words through the years.
We all carry a question around with us every day. It’s a persistent question that doesn’t have a singular answer. We may not verbalize this question, but it always presents itself anew each and every day. Am I making an impact?
Who do any of us know, including ourselves, that doesn’t want what we do to matter? We can’t suppress our desire to make a difference because it is embedded in our DNA.