“I am amused that you continue to ask for me to explain — what is not and never was.”
That was my response to an attorney, who wanted me to explain the unexplainable. He had taken a course of action, which transformed the simple into the complex. In fact, the potential exists that he has endangered a Family by encouraging them to, unintentionally, break the law.
How often do we fall into the trap of letting our thoughts and energies be consumed by the not of what is?
In other words, how much of our day is wasted by thinking about what is behind us — or, what is outside of our control? That’s the purest and craziest definition of — what is not and never was.
If we’re standing in the light of what is right, there is absolutely no reason to explain the darkness of another person’s wrong. To do so changes our thinking from, what is — to, what is not.
This Is What Is
1.) Law provides order to what otherwise results in chaos. Every structure of dynamic goodness functions within the parameters of principle.
2.) Activities of growth and purpose occur in the Present — moment to moment — because of a thoughtful plan for the Future.
3.) We are Captains of our own Destiny, who sail the seas of the unknown and find our greatest happiness in the Journey of enriching the lives we touch.
That’s plenty to keep us busy.
Understanding the core principles of right and wrong is one thing. Living a life of principle is another. Sometimes, we do what we know not — and, then, forget to do what we know. Eventually, we sync knowledge with action, to discover a higher dimension — of thought and being.
Focusing our attention on one thing at a time can best be remembered with this mantra — “Whatever our hands find to do, let’s do it with all our might.” And — if those efforts are constant and consistent with a purposeful plan, the result will be a Reality of our Dreams.
Believing in a future beyond our imaginations unshackles us from the safe harbor of what is known. In fact, belief in a Higher Power becomes the wind in our sails. As with all destinations, Ports-of-Call come and go. What endures, forever, are the impressions made on the souls aboard — and, beyond.
Forget about the small minds chained to the chaos of — what is not and never was.
Remember the power of Understanding, Focusing, and Believing in — What Is.
What would you do if someone screamed, “You’re a Dumb F#cker!” And, then went on to yell, “I have no respect for you!”
Yes, I know, that paragraph is missing the “?” at the end. Yet, the experience for me was more about the “!” — or, in other words, the exclamation of ignorance and arrogance.
If one is an incident, two is a coincidence, and three is a pattern, then I have a Story to share with YOU.
Three Times In Three Months
The first time was in February — when a Teenager had been asked to keep their stuff gathered into somewhat organized piles. Perfection was not the standard — simply the traditional courtesy of keeping foreign objects out of the travel paths of other inhabitants of the Family abode.
When multiple requests were ignored, I asked that young fellow what he was ‘thinking’ — because, I know for a fact, “All we do begins with a Thought.” Well, he shared what was on his mind — which was to find fault with me, for asking.
The third time was in April — when a Marine sought my participation in helping him start a new business. After 26 years as a Gunnery Sergeant and 6 years as an Air Traffic Controller, this Middle-Age fellow seemed to be an excellent candidate for my Coaching Services.
One problem was he wanted to constantly present his Resume and refused to Listen to some pretty good advice. Then, the cherry-on-top was catching him in a lie — which we had wasted a large amount of Time discussing the solution to what, really, wasn’t a problem, at all.
The second time was in March — when a third-generationMillenial rancher was planning a Family transition without the participation of his Parents. Yes — I participated, briefly, thinking, “Although not the best way to start, at least this might be the first step toward something good for the Family.”
2.) Dad (with the help of Mom) was expected to maintain what Grandpa built. Maintenance men are commonly known as Janitors.
3.) Junior was born on third base and thinks he hit a home run. Although he is the Janitor’s son, the rest of the world recognizes him for what he is — a Post Turtle. (click the hyperlink — it’s a good story)
Nothing New Under The Sun
I do believe things today are about like they have always been. In other words, I get it — sometimes misunderstandings happen because of generational differences. The educations and experiences – of each generation – create a different worldview in its participants.
Yet — that to which I’ve been making reference — disrespect is a character flaw. And, the way these Stories end is never pleasant.
Once, there was an old fellow who was on a Mission to give the inhabitants of a County a heads-up. He had an old-fashioned name — Elijah. His successor had another old-fashioned name — Elisha.
In the vernacular, the ship hit the sand when 42 young men decided to have great sport with Elisha. They did not hurl sticks or stones — they simply used words (which, regardless of the schoolyard rhyme, do hurt more than sticks and stones). They received immediate consequences for their disrespect.
Gaslighting Is Pure Craziness
Narcissists are big on gaslighting us in an attempt to disorient and confuse us. They do this by using denial and projection, usually under the pretense of being concerned — in order to make us feel even more perplexed. If they succeed at this, they can then grandstand us by saying, “See, you are crazy and out of control!”
Introduction To A Narcissist
A narcissist’s weapon of choice is often verbal — by slander, lies, playing the victim (in flipped tales of who was the victim and who was the abuser), gossip, rage, verbal abuse, and intentional infliction of emotional pain.
Think of direct, clear communication (The Truth) — especially when it is about the manipulation itself — as the psychological equivalent to holding up a cross to a vampire. Most manipulators recoil in the face of being “busted,” and the air goes out of the pressure they are trying to create just as easily as it escapes a punctured balloon.
Respect is only possible with clearly defined boundaries. The sovereignty of a country is defined by its border. As individuals, we are citizens of one.
Self-respect is everything that goes on within our boundaries. Respect for others occurs at the border and according to mutually acceptable customs.
Profitable interactions occur through doors of opportunity that swing on the hinges of “No, thanks.” and “Yes, please!”
Narcissists will capture our attention — they are the swashbucklers cutting a wide swath with their theatrics. They are manipulative and easily angered, especially when they don’t receive the attention they consider their birthright.
People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder believe they are superior or special, and often try to associate with other people they believe are unique or gifted in some way. This association enhances their self-esteem, which is typically quite fragile underneath the surface. Individuals with NPD seek excessive admiration and attention in order to know that others think highly of them. Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder have difficulty tolerating criticism or defeat and may be left feeling humiliated or empty when they experience an “injury” in the form of criticism or rejection.
That young, ignorant, arrogant, and clueless fellow at the beginning of this Story, has chosen to enroll in the School-of-Hard-Knocks — his classes are about to begin.
Similar to the consequences in the story about Elisha, I see bears in the future of this foul-mouthed childish imp. One bear I see approaching is a Market less than bullish — and, another bear even more ferocious is a rate of Interest greater than zero.
You see — I invested hundreds of hours for the benefit of this guy and his Family. Scattered on their little farm, there’s lots of new green paint (John Deere Green) — which can never possibly be paid for with current management practices.
So, I guided him and his wife to an understanding of Balance Sheets — using the basic Accounting Equation of Assets = Liabilities + Equity. Or, another way to state the same set of facts is Assets – Liabilities = Equity. (which can be Negative)
When the light (Truth) was shown on his misadventures (Too Much Debt), he literally hissed all around the house, as the air from his little balloon (Ego) was punctured.
Recently, I was teasing a colleague about the lack of a Waiting Room when he connects with Scholars using Zoom.
His reply, “Well, I’m a believer in the 80/20 Rule — focus on the 80% that matters and get to the other 20% someday.”
Since I have teased him quite a bit in the past, I heard, “Kim, I’m getting tired of your nit-picking. But – to humor you, I’ll be polite and quote the 80/20 Rule.”
There was something about his tone that immediately had me agreeing with him.
Yet, you – who know me well – know there’s more to this Story.
With A Little Thinking
In the shower, the next morning, it dawned on me (pardon the pun) that the 80/20 Rule does not work with People. Because — we never get a second chance to make a good first impression.
And — if a Person chooses to walk with us through this Journey of Life, then, they deserve 100% of the best we have to offer. In my opinion, it’s ALL — or, NOTHING. To know I’m only worth 80% of someone’s attention and effort is hard on the psyche and soul.
Where does the 80/20 Rule apply – and, work just fine? Answer: Process. Yes, we People are more effective and efficient with the structure of Process. Every system from minute to massive has processes. And – that’s a good thing.
Yet – People change and grow on a daily basis.
So – Does the same old Process still work (well) if the People have changed?
Yes, it’s a Rhetorical Question. The answer is: NO.
The net result and continued productivity probably is about 80% – if, we’re lucky, on a good day. Yet, management is relatively happy — because, they have the wheels turning and tend to ignore any opportunity for improvement. The 80/20 Rule has been applied and acts as a governor (used on machinery) to keep everything and everybody between the ditches.
You know, I just can’t help myself. The definition of a ‘governor‘ is quite fitting in the scenario, above, “adeviceformaintaininguniformspeedregardlessofchangesofload,asbyregulatingthesupplyoffuelorworkingfluid.”
Do we, really, want to be regulated and held back from our true potential? I can only speak for myself — and, again, the answer is a resounding, “No! Heck, No! What part of NO don’t you understand!”
A picture is, always, worth at least a 1,000 Words.
Imagine your favorite action movie. The ground is crumbling behind our heroes and heroines as they run toward the only escape available to them. Our heart is in our throat, as we encourage them to go, quickly, forward.
Life is like that. There is no standing still. There is no going back. The only direction to safety is forward.
The Story of a Friend
I lost a dear friend of twenty-plus years because he made a choice to be comfortable in a rut. The definition of a rut is – a grave with the ends kicked out. Yes, it’s dark, damp, and depressing down there. My friend exploded upon being reminded of the only two choices we have: Grow or Die.
He assured me in no uncertain terms that he was not depressed. (The fellow doth protest too much, methinks.)
As recently as, November 15, 2006, this is the complete text of the Testimonial he offered when asked to document our business relationship — Client and Certified Public Accountant.
While reflecting on the past years of business growth … the ups and downs; the trials and tests; the hard work; and, never-ending commitment to push forward … I come to realize that you have been a vital part of that growth. You have been with us all the way.
The accounting profession has truly been honored by your steadfast commitment to serving, to advise … to help direct my thoughts in the financial decisions of our company. It has made my job as CEO much easier.
We are in our 15th year and looking forward to working with you in the years to come.
Fast forward to September 14, 2011, and this is my goodbye to a business relationship, which was enjoyed by that friend, who (at one time) was closer than any brother.
The purpose of this letter is to document the essence of our phone conversation, yesterday.
At the end of that conversation, you wondered if your message was adequately communicated by asking, “Is that clear?!” My response, “Perfectly.”
It is crystal clear that there is a difference in core philosophies.
You believe and have stated quite clearly, numerous times over the last few months, that you and your Company are at the mercy of the Hand of Fate. In essence, you are tethered to a fixed set of practices, which have brought you success in the Past — and, now, are frustrated that the Present is less than accepting.
I believe life is what we make of it, friend — if it doesn’t fit, make alterations. My purpose in business is summarized in four words: Building Bright Financial Futures. I have gone to great lengths to promote this idea to the world via every digital means possible. I have clearly communicated this core belief to you via an email conversation thread from May 17th to July 20th.
My last email request of you was for one hour of your time to discern how we might build a dynamic business relationship. Having heard absolutely nothing from you, I called yesterday with an offer for year-end planning. In the past, you welcomed the opportunity for us to talk about your Company.
You chose to refuse my offer. You have that right. I also have the right to choose.
As of today, we no longer have a business relationship. You are encouraged to engage other professionals to provide services for your financial fiscal year (and, payroll calendar quarter) ended September 30th. Documents in your Client File Portal will be available to you and your representatives until December 31st.
What happened between November 15, 2006, and September 14, 2011?
We will never know. To be judgmental toward my friend and all he has experienced in the last five years is the wrong thing to do. I can, though, tell my story. In the past, I have first-hand knowledge and experience of what it’s like to be stuck in a rut. It is dark, damp and depressing.
Rest of the Story
Since this is my story, I’ll finish telling it my way.
The darkest times in my life began, at the moment, when I started to think that I had arrived. Thinking that I had reached my destination and could quit — or, coast — or, savor the rewards — or, otherwise think I had, really, become somebody. You see, the focus had shifted to thinking, believing, and acting as if, the world revolved around me.
In the simplest of analogies, my life had gone off a cliff. The ground was, literally, crumbling beneath my feet as I tumbled into the chasm of darkness.
Recovery from the pit was only possible by acknowledging, “There but for the grace of God go I” … further down into the abyss. At that moment, there was a Rock on which to cling and a view of the hard work necessary to climb from the rubble into the brightness of opportunity, once again.
Don’t Look Down
There is nothing new under the sun.
There’s a story of a guy walking on water. His name was Peter and he was a cocky fellow, with relatives from Missouri (the Show Me state). He enjoyed the companionship of a friend, who cared deeply about the growth of others.
So, one day Peter challenged his friend with, “If you’re really as good as you claim, ask me to walk on water.” Guys being guys, the friend accepted the challenge and said, “Come ahead.”
Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water. But, when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink.
Moral of this story: Don’t look down.
Children Grow Up
In fact, don’t look back, either. The ground is crumbling behind us. There is only one safe path — Forward.
There’s another story of a guy pondering the progression of life. His name was Paul and one of his many attributes was that of a Philosopher. He observed, “When I was a child, I talked like a child. I thought like a child. I had the understanding of a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”
Moral of this story: Children grow up.
At this point in my story, there is at least one person just aching to challenge this thesis of — Forward motion being the best direction and Growth being a prerequisite to a rich life. They will posit that “going back” has its merits.
We miss a turn at the intersection and need to go back.
We forget something when leaving on vacation and need to go back.
We neglect to learn a lesson and need to go back (for another dose).
We ignore an opportunity, which is good for us, and need to go back.
Going Back & Moving Forward
I agree. There are legitimate times for us to go back and recover from frailties of the human condition. “Thank God for Good Directions and turnip greens!” (by Billy Currington and his album Doin’ Somethin’ Right) Turn up your speakers and enjoy this tune.
For the astute scholars among us, I will acknowledge their point that we are encouraged by the Good Book to go back. As we examine this riddle to the very essence of life, the answer is simple. We are encouraged to be childlike, not childish. There is a difference.
So… at the moment, when there is the temptation to think we have arrived and can stop growing — Look up, think forward, and really focus on the hard work to take the next step.
Go ahead — do it. Now, that we are big kids — older and wiser, with all of our education and experience, hurts and betrayals, safely archived in the memory banks — do it. Be innocent, be sweet, be open, be humble, be accepting, be trusting, and believe that we can experience heaven, here on earth.
All we need to do is to take that next step — often into the unknown — forward, to grow.