Archive for July, 2011

2011 July 22 Running and Working

From 2011-07-18 Road shots for subor invite (that’s the new road the government just finished building using Euro-Union infrastructure money).

During up-periods I tend to think a lot about specific quotations from various people that happen to resonate with me. It’s one of the reasons I admire the various holy books in the world as pieces of cultural technology – written and spoken word, meant sincerely or with purpose grants the recipient a kind of canvas on which to paint their own meaning. Jesus says “X” and you hear it as “X+Y.” That’s what I’m talking about. The recipient adds their own meaning.

The last week has been excellent. Excellent in the getting things done, staying disciplined and keeping a routine sense. It being an up-period I’ve had a couple of lines on my mind.

Huelo gave me this good one which she got from one Chris V-J:

“You’re only a runner if you run when you don’t want to.”

It’s a good thing to repeat to my self, say on Wednesday morning when I got up at 415am to go run 8 miles before traveling all day. That’s the only time I was going to have that day so the choice was obvious: If you have to run, you have to run when you have time, I didn’t have anywhere to be that early, but we were planning on leaving the village at 630 so there we go. What’s most important is that you really can replace the word “runner” with anything.

In fact, you should.

Outside of ascribed statuses, where someone holds a license or a title granted them by some board somewhere (like being a contractor or a lawyer etc.) you really are what you do and if you’re not doing something much, you’re not much of that thing. In fact if you’re not practicing law, despite your license to do so, I’d say you’re not much of a lawyer. (Of course there are other lawyerly activities that use the same skills so don’t take me wrong here.)

If you want to do or be something. Start. Do. That’s what I take from it. Communication always being a two-way street, you’re welcome to come up with something different.

Something else that’s been getting me out of bed earlier and earlier, which has been the flavor of the last week is something one Denny Plyler told me:

“Champions train while others sleep.”

Now I’m not going to be a champion of anything in the near future. Being a “champion” is actually not something I’m planning on. Being great is, however and in thinking this over I equate the two absolutely. If I want to be great at anything, if I want to have an impact on peoples’ lives in the way I seek to, there is a kind of vigilance this desire demands of me, of us. It requires more than showing up and accepting what the world serves me, excuses and successes both. The world being inflexible in certain ways, I must bend to meet it.

The last couple of words that keep coming back to me come from Seth Godin an it goes like this:

A definition of a leader…

Leaders lead.

Is that too simple?

Writers write. If you want to be a writer, write. And be sure to have people read what you write.

And leaders? Leaders lead.

If you want to be a leader, go lead.”

Again, replace “leader” and “writer” with any ambition of yours and you’ve got your road map, marked only by that single imperative. Once you decide to go, your compass only needs one direction on it anyway.

Fear of failure, especially under circumstances where I’ve seriously applied my self, has always been a fear of mine. I can’t imagine that’s unique either. Having been put through a situation where no amount of work on my part could have resulted in my normal rate of success (Pre-Service Training) has done a lot to push that fear elsewhere. Swimming almost entirely in unknown waters since then has done a lot more. I’ve been just as affected though, and perhaps in an interdependent manner, by the notion that failure is irrelevant in many areas of life that otherwise are perceived to be governed by hard, pointless rules and thresholds that must be met or all is hopeless.

It simply is not the case.

And even if it were, “we must become the change we want to see” in the world, right?


Special Report from The Economist on how news is changing

Special Report from The Economist on how news is changing