Life is Short, but the Days are Long…

Sunday Morning Reset

I got up this morning and began reading the Farnam Street newsletter (https://fs.blog/). A collection of suggested books and articles that comes out every Sunday morning. Today’s featured article focused on a note of advice Hunter S. Thompson wrote to a friend. I had read this note previously, however, this time the phrase “…whether to float with the tide, or swim for a goal.” struck me differently than it had before.

We all face the prospect of determining how we will spend our time on this earth. When people would ask what I was doing at work, early in my career, I was fond of telling them that I was “wasting time in a productive manner”. Somewhat cheeky… yes, but ultimately true. I have often heard the saying “find your passion and you’ll never work a day in your life”. How many people truly find that match of career & passion. Mike Rowe, on the other hand says “pay attention to opportunity and work hard at what presents itself”. If you’re lucky, opportunity and passion coincide. Check out (https://www.mikeroweworks.org/).

I now have a house full of teenage boys whose goal seems to be nothing more than to spend their day online gaming or youtubing. I can see a younger version of myself in them… I imagine my own parents were thinking the very things I think now when I watch them wile away the evenings.

What is the Goal?

To be honest, I am actually quite productive while I work… more so when it is something that I am invested in. Much of what I do is project work which typically requires laying out a plan before plowing forward. One of my favorite quotes comes from Abe Lincoln, who said… “Give me 6 hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” My boss’  reaction to that statement ultimately defined whether we would be a good fit together.

Life inside the corporate sphere. Many refer to it as a soul sucking endeavor… but why? My experience is that while I am able to control to some degree the area or discipline within which I work, the projects and ability to focus longer term are not there. On multiple occasions, I have begun a series of sessions focusing on statistical training, or process control, through the lens of Juran’s Quality Handbook, or Wheelers Statistical Process Control. Ultimately those efforts are eliminated due to; shifting priorities or workforce reductions.

Where to Now?

Thankfully, I’ve been preparing and my time in the corporate sphere nears it’s end. My goals and aspirations lie in those “sharpening the axe” areas. I’m good at finding the right path and laying out how something should be done. I am not your guy if you simply want me to turn the crank, hour after hour, day after day doing something I’ve done before. The horizon is presenting itself and I sense opportunities! I leave you with the words of Walt Whitman’s O Me! O Life!

Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

Answer.

That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

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