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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mind, Body & Doing The Job

Last week I had responsibilities at work to carry out that, let's just say, represent the worst of the "stuff" I ever have to do professionally.  I think anticipation leading up to this work increased my overall stress level so much that I ended up getting physically this case a fairly decent head cold that is only now abating.  I don't mention that for want of sympathy, as I deserve none in this particular case.  My stress over doing my job pales in comparison to the stress others are under, and besides, when you want to have a certain kind of job you have to take all that goes with it, both good and horrendous.

My point in the above paragraph?  Well I have two fold purpose in mind for this particular rant.

Point One:  As I grow older, I am becoming increasingly aware that how you feel...that is emotionally, attitude-wise, outlook in life...plays a part in now you feel physically.  Not related to what I noted in the first paragraph, but part of my job entails doing adult-learning related work.  There have been times on occasion when I genuinely don't feel good, suffering from the kind of maladies that strike all of us from time to time.  You know what though?  For some reason I'm always able to hold it together for that portion of time when I am in front of others.  Yeah, there may be the errant sneeze or cough, but by and large my energy level is high, I'm physically moving around a lot, and I am actively engaged in the learning process.  Before and after the event I may be the physical equivalent of jello, but when I'm on it's all systems active.  Mind over matter if you will.

Point Two:  I do have sympathy for those engaged in the Wall Street occupation movement*, but I'm not completely sold on everything that is being spouted. I get the distinct impression that some folks...particularly those who are younger...feel there is a "right" to a good job, high pay, a pension, etc.  Simply put, there is no such right, and this is a GOOD thing.  Why?  What we have to enjoy today isn't the result of an entitled citizenry!  No, it's the result of people working their asses off in pursuit of more.  They wanted more, and they realized that the only true way to have more in life is to work hard and strive to achieve.  Life hands us adversity, and we choose how to react to it.  We can....

  1. Choose to whine, cry and complain that we are entitled to stuff and point fingers of envy at those who seem to "have" OR
  2. Choose to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and get back in the game.

Maybe my perspective is somewhat different than that of the average 20-something these days.  By way of background, I grew relatively poor.  My three brother and I lived with our mother in a housing project.  Mom worked nights to support us so that she could be there for us during the day.  We didn't have a lot, but my mother constantly impressed upon her sons the need to get an education and showed us by example that all work was noble.  Fast forward to now and I did get an education and I have a very good job that enables me to do some good things, such as help my children pay for their college educations.  What I have now career wise is the product of some luck (being at the right place at the right time), but by and large it is the product of almost persistent hard work and determination.  Yeah, there were times when I thought I "should have been promoted" or something like that, but they were fleeting, as I would inevitably come to my senses and remember that the best things in life aren't given to you...they are earned.

The common thread to both points above is simple:  how you feel matters, and by and large you control how you feel.  Yes, we are guaranteed the right to pursue happiness, but there is no actual right to be happy.  Oh, and sometimes happiness takes a mighty long time to achieve.  The world isn't a video game there rarely is there actually instant gratification.  Real gratification comes from a life well lived.

(*) There is an element of the Wall Street occupation movement that I do very much "get" , and that has to do with egregiously excessive executive compensation.  No executive, no matter what they do, is worth hundreds of times the wages of an average worker.

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