Years ago, we had a little wet spot in our backyard. Nothing would grow on it. Everything we planted there got root rot and died. Then one day something just came up on its own. I had not seen anything like it before; kind of a horizontal weed. When Jose, our landscaper, showed up, I asked him to tear out the unwanted plant. He said, “Mr. Bekins, it is green, and it is growing. Maybe we leave it alone.” He was right on so many different levels.
Often as managers, supervisors, friends, parents, and spouses, we discover what is wrong with an attitude, a story, or an incident. How many times have I heard the phrase, “Any fool can see that is just wrong.” The operative word there is “fool”. Almost anyone can recognize a mistake. The real gift is to identify the gold nugget in the dirt. What good can come from this misfortune or bad decision? Will my pointing this out help or harm the people who are involved?
I believe there are only about a dozen types of actions we humans can perform. Giving, taking, creating, performing, learning, engaging, isolating, resting, competing, and cooperating are the first ten which come to my mind. Virtually every activity falls into one of those categories. A schoolteacher gives. A machinist creates at his lathe. Combat soldiers take territory. A parent constantly learns. The writer may isolate in order to turn out the next great novel. The Olympic runner competes. Politicians cooperate with their constituents to form acceptable laws. Donating to a charity engages us in a cause.
What we do matters. Humans are in a position at the top of the food chain to do marvelous things for other humans, for animals, and for our environment. Even the least of us is equipped to accomplish something. Each day when we get up, we can choose what type of actions we are going to embrace to better our world. Oh yes, there will be many obstacles that get in our way, but we can overcome them if our zeal is strong enough. I like what Jack Parr, one of the first late show hosts said, “Life is an obstacle course, and I am the chief obstacle.”
We must start with our own desires and goals. After we decide who we are and what we want, we are better equipped than any other entity on the planet to go after it. Age doesn’t matter as much as passion. Education counts for less than enthusiasm. Finances are of less concern than eliciting support and creating excitement about what is to be done. The intensity of our emotions will take us much further than we can imagine.
Even the weed in the wet spot thrived.
What can you do?
By Bob Bekins
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