“… refuse to be fearful… Don’t give in or give up believing that in fact your life is yours. It’s unique and not truly in anyone’s daily control but your own. And… that surrendering your peace of mind is counterproductive to problem solving, family fun and colonic regularity.” ~Jack Costantino, President, TFU~
In the grand scheme of things, when approaching a new project, we believe understanding the outcome before a shovel hits the ground is the most important step. Our clients sometimes spend years contemplating, researching and dreaming about their new homes or renovations. We are frequently greeted with a thick portfolio of napkin sketches, clippings and sample plans. After over 50 years as a hands-on carpenter / builder…I’m always impressed with their significant investment in time, their intelligence and awareness of the building process.
As a continuous barrage of unsettling local and world news descends on all available ears from the podium of media and government alike; our tendency is to be swept into the resulting ocean of negativity, absorbed daily through the skin of our worst fears and paranoia. The instability of the economy competes with regimes gone mad pursuing vendetta’s of violence and random acts of slaughter. At the same time other nations poised on the brink of nuclear delivery, intent on settling old scores, rattle sabers at the rest of the free world. The intrigue and combined tension producing effect is worthy of a novel beyond Hitchcock, Dr. Strangelove, and Terminator combined. How do we continue with productive lives as all around us appears on the brink of dissolution?
Here’s a thought… a built in phenomenon at the beginning of a new year is its implied sense of renewal. Weâ€™re greeted with renewed opportunities to achieve old objectives; from waist reduction to waste management. Why we believe again, we can accomplish, what we have not so far, is a nonetheless valuable asset we should reconsider the importance of. It’s during this time of year, when, although typically short lived…our belief system temporarily operates on all cylinders. We believe we will clean out our closets, lose weight, join a gym…and through it all the world hammers us back with its relentless rhythm of reality checks; delivering all the reasons why our personal pursuits are truly trivial and pie in the sky. The combined effect convinces us that we should feel terrorized by terrorists, defeated by the defiance of accord across the aisles of our leadership and generally fearful that we have no control over our lives, future employment, affordable health care, middle east stability, or global warming.
I suggest that a worthwhile resolution to all the foregoing is a conscious decision to refuse to be fearful of any of it. Don’t give in or give up believing that in fact your life is yours. It’s unique and not truly in anyone’s daily control but your own. Andâ€¦that surrendering your peace of mind is counterproductive to problem solving, family fun and colonic regularity.
One of the smartest, most sophisticated men I have ever known was my Uncle Perry who helped raise me. His erudite nature and knowledge stretched from the history of the early Roman Empire to fine wine, classical music, chess (earning multiple prestigious championships) and poetry. He was a beautiful Greek God of a man. Women swooned in his presence, men wanted to be him…but couldn’t. While in his 20â€™s he suffered the loss of a lung to tuberculosis. For years he worked at a job far below his qualifications as a Bob Cratchit style bookkeeper in the dimly lit, dust layered back room of a pillow factory. He wore sleeve retainers and a transparent head visor and filled in endless columns of numbers in thick ledgers bound with heavy leather covers. During the last ten years of his career he found the niche he was meant for working as the Comptroller for a proprietary hospital. He bloomed like a healthy garden vegetable; as rosy and proud as a beefsteak tomato and crisp and peppery as fresh Arugula. It was wonderful to behold. He was in his early 60’s and learning the most important lesson of his life.
At the end of his life, as I joined his sons at his hospital bedside…when asked “Dad…if you had it all to do over again…what would you do differently?”…my dear sweet beautiful Uncle said…”I would live my life with less fear”. His words echoed over and over…the meaning sinking in until I understood the entire context of his words. After all he had survived, achieved, celebrated and enjoyed…his conclusion was that fear was a wasted emotion; stealing the good in exchange for doubt and concern over forces and circumstances outside our individual control.
“No passion so effectively robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” ~Edmund Burke~
As we place the bricks in the road of 2011, we are already ensconced in the intrigue and uncertainty of apparent cataclysm in the Middle East and North Africa. We watch as images flow from hand held technology beyond the censorship of crumbling autocrats perplexed by the instant globalization of events. As Facebook facilitates revolution, crude oil hops over $100.00 a barrel dragging pump prices again toward $4.00/gal. Mass media engulfs us with the serendipity of our lives, and injects a sense of helplessness based on events obviously beyond our control. Fear, uncertainty and confusion reign. STOP!
There is no doubt the world will continue to offer challenges within and without our direct influence. But…there is much which is good to be enjoyed and celebrated. Our clients are engaged in a journey filled with the excitement and pleasure of envisioning and realizing their dreams. We and our colleagues are privileged to benefit by the true love of their life’s work and the love of our client’s for what we build. It is an enduring love at both ends of that equation.
In 2011 and beyond…resolve to “live your lives with less fear”. Love deeper, laugh harder and fear less. Those who are doing their best to steal from us what is good…will have lost.