I am therefore I ask questions. Lately, my questions have been about our survival as a species, our zealous and unrealistic quest for freedoms, and what appears to be an aversion to responsibilities.
Tears and Scars
I have laid down stakes across Canada spent large chunks of residing in parts of California and Scotland. Still, it isn't in a geographic location where I find home. I return home to a social and emotional locale. I have a scar on my right knee and can feel the ridge where stitches were put on the inner side of my bottom lip. Both the disfigurements occurred almost sixty years ago when I was seven or eight years old.
Where Do You Land
Are you optimistic, pessimistic, neutralistic? Is the world abundant, scarce, or three bears just right? Is your view of the world about how you perceive the truth, your disposition, and your experiences? I can find myself feeling ‘hell-in-a-handbasket’ like my father, my grandfather, and I am sure on occasion, my grandchildren or I can deliberately expect and demand a different perspective from myself and different results from the world. My tendencies are a matter of wiring, and if I don’t want to continue wallowing in self-pity, I can undertake to rewire my brain to observe the magic, beauty, and mystery alongside the tragedy, hatred, and vitriol.
Courage; where does yours come from? Courage isn't the opposite of fear; it is the opposite of complacency. Complacency is the bastard child of certainty and convenience. When those two get together, they sap our curiosity, commitment, collaboration and destroys our courage by convincing us to continue clamoring confidently along. When we believe we are correct, we don't need to be courageous – just stubborn. When convenience removes all challenges or, worse, convinces us to avoid circumstances that cause inconvenience, we get stuck more profound in the muck of mediocrity (complacency's cousin). It doesn't take much mediocrity to bring about inertia. When the mud gets above our knees, we become paralyzed.
Every day last month I posted an idea, a thought, a provocation somewhere on social media. Some posts resonated and some were train wrecks. Because I have realized that I write voraciously so that I get a glimpse of what I am thinking, I need to write a lot of junk in order to free up space for something worth considering. My filters hide gems behind a fence of feeble glibness so that I don't need to work hard at the digging and tunneling that deep reflection requires.
If I am not making at least three mistakes a day, I am not trying. My most significant opportunities are waiting for me to have the courage and willingness to attempt them. The least I can do is step up to the plate and swing the bat. Sometimes I will foul off a curveball and learn to be more patient. On occasion, I will whiff on some high heat and gain some perspective regarding the challenge and some skills I need to develop. In a few instances, I will get hit or brushed back and end up on my butt looking foolish, but if I get back up and step back into the box, I get another appearance at the plate. On the other hand, if I put my head down and slink off to the dugout after striking out, I have missed the chance to improve, innovate and endure.
My struggle, recently, has been about my personal benefit and the common good. Well, honestly, it is one of many struggles that I seem to be immersed inside. The pandemic, lockdowns, financial crisis, social disruption, belief, and disbelief are swirling in my head and heart. Wow, that makes it all seem unfathomable and unfixable.
Certainty is one of the three c's along with comfort and convenience that erodes creativity, courage, and curiousity and replaces it with the mire and muck of complacency. In my opinion, we need more uncertainty, inconvenience, and discomfort. I am not suggesting a perpetual masochistic deception but an acceptance of insecurity and suffering. Occasionally, we should embrace our doubts, the delays and lineups, and the minor pinch points of growth and change. There is much to learn, appreciate, and correct when we experience the real world rather than pretend and delude ourselves that everything is okay or will be fine.
I Don't Understand
I am a prideful guy, and I think that I am a pretty sharp pencil. I like it when people think that I am clever. Sometimes I am clever, and sometimes I wing it. I rarely say, ” I don’t know” or ” I don’t know.” I am choosing to make Thursdays my “I Am Just Trying to Understand’ day each week. Thursday will be the day that I proudly declare my ignorance. I won’t synthesize what I do know and try to shape it to fit an unrelated question. I won’t bluff my way through conversations. I will just say ” help me understand” or ” tell me more, so I can understand.” By being transparent and inquisitive, I will learn more about the subject under discussion and the person or people around me.