Leadership

My list of heroes is growing, which means I’m discovering what I’d like to do, who I’d like to be, my individuality.

I’m becoming more disciplined, which means the bridge between that ideal individuality and reality is being built.

But the bridge is being built slowly, brick by brick. Almost just a brick a day.

And the blueprints for the bridge keep changing because the architect (me) keeps learning and growing.

It’s like I’m in school to learn how to build bridges and on the first day they said to make a blueprint and every day in class I have to adjust the blueprint as I learn more about good design standards.

Luckily, there’s a good foundation…

And this process is probably as it should be.

Two steps forward, one step back; two steps forward, one step back; two steps forward, one step back; STOP! Hold on! We had to turn left three steps ago; let’s change directions now.

Or to continue the bridge metaphor, we had to use iron support beams, not steel, deconstruct it.

It’s frustrating.

Truths of my life: 

  • My voice (unique perspective/artistic and societal contribution) will take a long time than I think it will to develop;
  • Life along the way will be confusing, uncertain, and at times seem downright impossible;
  • I probably will never reach my self-expectations because there is always room for improvement;
  • The foreseeable future will certainly involve a not-so-delicate balance between being too hard on myself and setting realistic, gentle goals; and
  • Despite everything, I will have to fight for idealism, faith, hope, and optimism, and this is likely going to involve a face marred by dust and sweat and blood and flawed, complex companions, not an idyllic trip through Oz with guileless, magic creatures.

And all that’s okay.

It’s more than okay, actually.

It’s expected to be as perfect as it should be not because I believe in some kind of predestination or destiny, but because this is the path I’ve chosen.

While others take the path of least resistance, I’ve chosen the one with great resistance, because that’s what leaders do.

Leaders are the ones who make hard decisions because they’re the right decisions.

Leaders are the ones who wake up every day and strive to be the example, despite the burden of high self-expectations, because that’s what the world needs.

The world has enough panderers, enough people who are comfortable appealing to the masses and to their own self-interest, enough folks who want money despite global suffering, enough people who just want good gigs.

The world needs people willing to sacrifice themselves to serve something: what’s good, what’s true, what’s hurting, and what’s vulnerable.

So I guess, yeah, my life is hard, but it’ll be worth it in the end.

Optimism is a key component of good leadership.

People are hungry for encouragement, and optimism inspires hope and faith and visions of success.

But yes, it can be so hard to remain optimistic.

Busy schedules, negative news, and the pressing demands of adulthood are just a few of the many aspects of life that challenge us.

There’s no secret formula to overcoming them.

I’m learning that sometimes the best thing you can do is be quiet, grit through, and show that this too shall pass.

I think that in time the challenges get easier, that with the right attitude you become more resilient.

Just keep your head down and keep going.

P.S. My apologies for letting these posts slip. I’m so incredibly busy right now with being in the heart of the semester.

Good things can wait.

Besides, how good are they if they take away from your happiness?

They say adulthood requires suffering. It’s a lie you’ve been told.

Sure, you’ve got to be disciplined, but don’t suffer regularly for a paycheck.

Take your time and appreciate what you have, particularly when your plate is full.

There’s so much wonder and excitement and good books and amazing experiences out there.

And so much to look forward to, even things you might not expect.

So quit worrying. Work will always be there. And a good life requires play and appreciation.

 

 

Growing comfortable with silence will make you a better person.

It conveys a sense of sureness.

And it makes the words you finally choose to speak have more weight.

Sorry for posting so late in the day, friends. I hope I haven’t lost your trust much.

I got caught up with living, and I completely forgot to write!

I want to share something a bit more personal with you: the things that I’m working on to be a better person right now. I’m sharing it because I’d like for you to know more about me. But if you find them inspiring, that’s great! I have a note pinned to the home screen of my Android phone to remind me regularly of the habits I’m trying to adjust.

All of them need work, but I can tell I’m getting better at them a little bit each and every day.

They are:

  • No social media (Reddit, YouTube, and Facebook) – This is one that I am not even close to ironing out, but it’s something worth striving for. And I can tell I’ve gotten much better.
  • Be patient, no frustration – There’s almost never any reason to get frustrated or angry. This is something I’ve nearly completed. I slip up once every three months or so. I quickly catch myself, though, and take a step back.
  • Talk little about yourself, be positive – I think a lot of folks have a tendency to talk about themselves or talk about negative things. They say what they don’t like and criticize others. Talking less about yourself makes you a more interesting person to others and being positive is just a good thing to do. It makes for a happier life.
  • No meat – I’m a vegetarian. I choose to not eat meat because it’s better for my health and the planet. Also, so many animals get treated poorly, and it’s hard to be a mindful consumer by avoiding purchasing from unethical farmers. But I do eat fish occasionally, particularly on days when I haven’t been able to get enough protein consumption.
  • Listen actively – This goes along with talking little about myself. So often we listen to respond. By keeping an open mind and avoiding asking ourselves what we’ll say next while someone is talking, we’re enabled to connect more deeply.
  • Be confident, don’t care – I have a tendency to care too much about what others think. I think the coolest people and the best leaders are folks who are just themselves.
  • Everyone is hungry for hope and encouragement – This isn’t a habit, but it’s in the note. I list it to have a regular reminder that, despite the cynicism I might feel sometimes about the world, everyone is just getting by and is imperfect. It also reminds me of the importance of creating art that feeds that need instead of contributes to the starvation.
  • Get feedback – Asking for feedback from people you trust can be tough. It might cause you to hear some uncomfortable things. But frequent feedback (particularly of the bold sort) is necessary to live a well informed, good life.
  • Meet people where they’re at – I have a tendency to go off the deep end with folks. While chatting with acquaintances I might start talking about intrinsic goals, dreams, and philosophy. I have to remind myself that a lot of people don’t like talking about that stuff, so before I get into a deep conversation, I should try to see where they’re at in their life.
  • Self-care – Enough said. My happiness needs to come before all else. I regularly ask myself, “What does a perfect day look like?” And I try to do the activities I describe in the response to that question as often as possible.

There are other parts of my life I’m working on besides what’s listed. For example, striving for creative and territorial thinking over competitive and hierarchical thinking; being more romantic, friendly, and kind; and taking myself less seriously.

I probably shouldn’t be doing so much, but for some reason, I’m not satisfied doing less.

 

As a kid you feel like remembering birthdays is something adults do.

You might wonder to yourself at what point do you need to start giving cards or other gifts.

But the truth is that it’s never too early to start remembering birthdays.

They’re important to people.

And it means a lot to celebrate with someone the day they entered the world.

It’s the kind thing to do because it makes them feel special.

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. – George Bernard Shaw

Shaw is right.

Progress demands originality.

But originality might lead to friction.

People might not accept you.

So those willing to be criticized, disliked, or even hated are the harbingers of innovation.

Change the game. Embrace the haters.