Archive for April, 2006

April 12, 2006

April 12, 2006 – Figuring "IT" Out….

Well, I created this blog like years ago and I haven’t written anything in it yet. I actually thought about writing in this blog about 10 months ago when my son Jaden was born. But I never did. Why? I don’t know. I never was one to write in a diary or publish anything online for that matter. But today Google’s lucky search found a quote that inspired me.

The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it. ” — William James.

Ah. Perhaps my blog will outlast me one day. And perhaps one day my son will read this and put it to good use. So who is this William James anyway? Heck if I know, but Google does have all the answers (I JUST LOVE GOOGLE!). He was a US Pragmatist philosopher & psychologist; founder of radical empiricism; advocated physiological approach to psychology; wrote “The Principles of Psychology” 1890, “The Varieties of Religious Experience” 1902

Interesting. Perhaps I’ll read his books or something later. Or perhaps not. But he does have quite a few other interesting quotes. Hmmm…..

Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives. I definitely agree with that quote too.

The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind. Hmm….okay.

However, I am not sure I agree that this was a grand discovery of his generation. I think every single generation has had thinkers who believed in the power of the mind. But that’s the funny thing….people think their life today is harder than previous generations. And the older generation thinks how easy younger people have it today!!! And each generation spends sooooo much time trying to “figure IT all out”. “IT” — what is IT? Life is IT. Some people figure it out I think. Yet a lot of people seem to struggle trying to figure out life. I’m not sure why, but I believe somewhere around age 25, people reach some “point of realization” in their life — the point at which we begin to realize how the world really works. The point in life when the very ideals, values, and beliefs we learned as children are challenged and tested. The point at which everything we thought we knew about life turns out to be half-truths. And as a result, some people become cynical, some negative, some angry, some greedy, some selfish, some superficial, and some have questioned or lost belief in their own faith altogether. And those people are usually the ones who struggle to figure IT all out. Of course, there are people who hold onto what they learned as children and when faced with the same challenges, they only reinforce those same values and morals they grew up with. But let’s face IT, we all seem to become just a little jaded when we hit that point of realization.

Heck I spent the better half of my twenties figuring IT all out. And I’m in my thirties and still have a lot to understand about this journey called life. It has been a bit of a roller coaster ride at times….but I had a lot of fun, travelled the world, got married, had a child, and even made some money too. And I’ve spent my professional career consulting for companies and trying to help them figure IT out by keeping IT real and keeping IT simple. It still amazes me that companies will pay so much money to have someone explain to them the obvious. But the whole process made me who I am today … and I’m pretty happy about that.

Anyway, I have no regrets about my life so far but I sure wish my parents would have taught me more of what I really need to know about the real world. Maybe they did and I just wasn’t listening. But both have past on and with them the knowledge they accumulated in their own lives. I just wish I had some book that taught me everything I needed to know. Okay, not everything I need to know because that’s probably ridiculous. At least something that taught me how to think about different aspects of my life like Finance or Personal Health/Well Being, People/Relationships, Career, Education. Imagine if you had a book that gave you the rules…. a road map of sorts that spelled out key bullet points that you could remember and recite over and over again to the point that it changes the way you think about each of life’s subjects. I have met so many people … smart educated people who are doctors, lawyers, vice presidents of companies … they found their niche and maybe mastered say the education, career, people subjects, but most didn’t know anything about investing or the stock market. Or they mastered the career and personal relationship subjects, but failed when it came to family relationships. I just sure wish I had such a book and maybe life would be easier.

But come on, has my life really been that hard so far? The reality is …. that each generation does have a different set of variables and it is difficult to equate one to the other. I mean can I really relate to my grandparents growing up in the Great Depression with little food….children of immigrants who left their life on another continent to start one somewhere else? Or someone who fought and lived through a World War? Not really. Comparatively, my life has been MTV, video games, computers and the birth of the internet. Is life today harder than in the past? Was life in the past harder than it is today? You could go as far back as Ancient Greece and the philosopher Socrates to see how people back then tried to rationalize life. Socrates 7 principles:
1. Know Thyself
2. Ask Great Questions
3. Think for Yourself
4. Free Your Mind
5. Grow with Friends
6. Speak the Truth
7. Strengthen Your Soul

I wonder why there are 7. I mean why not 10? You’d think if Socrates was so smart, he could come up with 3 more principles. But the reality is… is only as complex as you make it….for it is how we think about life that helps us navigate through it. Maybe Socrates isn’t your cup of tea. Maybe you’re not interested in “examining the unexamined life”. Okay then. Don’t. But when it comes to you figuring IT out within your own life……maybe what I’ve said here makes sense or maybe not. I can only suggest that along the way, you at least consider the advice and insights of people you respect and try to formulate your rationale that works for you.