Life is a Business – Chapter 2
A series of essays on the past, the present and the future
In the introduction, we started at 100,000 feet and came all the way down to one person-you. Now, let’s reverse the process and build our world from the inside/outward, just as we did as little children.
Before we can manage life, build a company, or change the world, we must truly know ourselves and develop a workable strategy to convert information into knowledge, into understanding, into meaning, into focused actions, into achievement of our goals. Let’s start with what you think you know:
How many times each day do you hear opposing politicians on TV, or co-workers repeatedly say: “The fact is…”? 99.9% of the time, this is either what they wish to be true, or just plain old propaganda BS to win an argument or sway minds. In the most part, these loud, firm pronouncements are opinions, not facts. Take stock of your own inventory of such nuggets to sort into what is truly factual, or possible, or likely or maybe or just wishful thinking. Just because your parents, preachers, teachers, bosses, friends, spouses, coworkers, TV and radio personalities, or for God’s sake- the Internet says so- doesn’t make it so! I learned long ago that volume and passion rarely co-exist with being “right”.
Accept the fact that many “truths” you have been taught from childhood are either highly questionable or just wrong. Everyone on this Earth has their own viewpoint and personal agenda; many are quite noble in cause, but misinformed none the less. Take the time to challenge yourself when you think or hear an absolute statement with no room to wiggle…look out! I am sure Noah had friends who said absolutely that it was impossible for it to rain 40 days and 40 nights in a row, but they did not stop the weather.
Avoid listening to anyone who is too absolute in their beliefs, for, not so long ago, you could be burned at the stake for thinking the Earth revolved around the Sun, or it was round, not flat; women who read must be witches and destroyed. Man will never fly or go to the Moon! With our own eyes and ears, we are witness to breath taking advances in every field of endeavor from medicine to science to ancient history to technology. 90% of all the knowledge gained in world history was discovered in the last 50-60 years. Caution: knowledge does not equal understanding. The ancients were likely far more advanced than we think in science and mathematics, but they were light years ahead of us in philosophy and relating to the natural world. Like most civilizations today, they ultimately failed due to greed, arrogance, corruption and the unending drive to conquer peoples. Sooner or later, the natives get pitchforks or guns too!
Now, go back to a simpler time, a time when basic survival was a lifetime achievement. Food, shelter, firewood, family and faith were basically all that mattered- sure the kings had a different life, but most of us were peasants (forget what the $19.99 coat of arms your Dad ordered from the back page of a magazine said). What they believed was more meaningful that what they knew-what you stood for meant everything-courage, honor, integrity…like the immortal tales of Achilles, Samson, David, Abraham, King Arthur, along with hundreds more of both fact and fiction. Immortality came from how you did something, more than what you did. This has not changed in 100,000 years, nor will it change in 100,000 more, if we still exist. What do you believe in? There is a reason there are only 10 commandments in the Torah and not 100! As my brother said: “let’s don’t add more until we master the first 10…” Can you list five principles that are not up for negotiation in life, then five that are barely up for discussion? Until you know who you really are, not just theoretical wishful thinking, but under fire in real life situations, when decisions matter, you cannot begin to know your direction or ultimate destiny.
Take the time to digest and think through this process, always dropping any pretenses you have to look honestly in the mirror at the actual person, wrinkles, warts and all. You can lie to a friend, a boss, a priest, a spouse or a parent and survive, but the day you start lying to yourself is the day you lose for life.
We are tilling the ground in your mind to prepare for planting a crop that you can tend and harvest for the rest of your life…over and over again. Remember-how and why you do something is what counts.
By: Bill Hewgley