I’m watching Jeff Bezos prepare for his first flight aboard Blue Origin, his own space company.
Immediately, I start thinking about my own endeavors.
“Don’t compare yourself to others,” is a popular admonition that not many people likely actually practice. All of us talk a big game, but I suspect it’s a super rare person who can actually avoid doing it.
I’m doing it right now while Jeff Bezos enters that catwalk to get into Blue Origin’s space vehicle. I’m thinking, “I’m not trying to conquer space, something he and two other billionaires are trying to do.” These guys are attempting to do things that have never been done by the private sector and they’re succeeding to varying degrees.
I’m not trying to do anything that’s never been done before. I’m pursuing greater success in a few areas, but nothing I’m doing is trail-blazing. Going where no man has ever gone before kinda stuff.
A week earlier I was in a conversation about ambition. A special focus of the talk was how a man’s (not a woman because neither I nor my conversation partner was a woman) ambition changes over time. I recounted how I was so ridiculously driven when I was in my 20s and 30s. And even into my 40s. But somewhere in my mid-40s things changed. My perspective altered things. Part of me wished it’d had happened sooner. Part of me was thankful for how my more youthful hunger had propelled me.
By the time I entered my 60s I realized my ambition was perhaps stronger than ever. But different.
In some ways, the ambitions burn as hot as ever. Maybe more.
You have to believe in yourself.
It’s not easy. No matter your age.
Increasing my inner zen (calm attentiveness) has been a lifelong process. Outer zen has mostly been natural except in a few situations, typically brought about because my expectations are high. Sometimes perhaps too high.
Determination and stubbornness, the keys to any achievement, often fuel an intensity not always easily understood by others. Sometimes it’s difficult to understand it in yourself.
I want to improve. You’d think that might be easier for a guy like me who needs so much improvement. 😉
“You expect too much.”
“Maybe that’s as good as they can be.”
“They may not be able to do any better.”
I’ve heard these kinds of statements all my life. Mostly from people who think I’m too optimistic in thinking things can be better. Including people starting with myself. But I persist in my choice to see greater possibilities. Growth. Improvement. Better results. More achievement. Higher accomplishment. And success.
Wait and see doesn’t work for me. And yet, I’m a self-described pondering man which means I enjoy and find the benefit of giving things time to breathe. Or roll around in my mind.
The more you want it – the more desperate you are to achieve it – the more intense things become. Pressure builds. Hence the commonly known phrase, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”
Competition is key, even if it’s competing with oneself. Competition isn’t a dirty word. And it doesn’t diminish the importance of collaboration.
The game of getting better is part of the competition. To figure out how we can get better.
Determination. Grit. Resilience.
Our ability to bounce back from defeat is important to our success.
I’m watching CBS Sunday Morning this past Sunday, September 12, 2021 – the day after our nation recognized the 20th anniversary of the awful events of 9/11.
There’s a story of Wilma Melville, who founded the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation. Wilma trains dogs to find people in disasters. The bombing in Oklahoma City sparked her to act. Today, she’s helped train people from all over – and dogs, mostly shelter animals – in the art of search and rescue. Here’s how the story ended.
That pretty much says what I need to hear. Maybe you need to hear it, too.
So what am I going to do now? That’s always the question. More specifically I often ask myself and others,
“What’s the very next step? Now, what are you going to do?”
I’m going to lean more into creating and less into consumption. I talk about this quite a bit. Probably because I need it so desperately much of the time. In fact, on September 11, 2021 (just a few days ago) I published, as part of my 30-Day Micro Leadership Course, a session on the danger of consuming information. Thinking there’s something we just don’t yet know and how we can be deceived into thinking that if we just learn a little bit more then success will be ours.
I followed it up the next day with a session on creating. These are short sessions, less than 10 minutes each session. Click those links if you care to listen. Just know that I’m talking to myself first.
Many people are examining their social media habits, especially in light of recent Facebook news. I’m on just about every platform that’s out there, but I’m not a power user by any stretch. Mostly, I participate so I maintain a degree of awareness and competence. Admittedly, I’m like a seagull when it comes to social media. I fly past it and move on. I’m not prone to linger. And I sure don’t do much scrolling because frankly, my interactions on social media are mostly on a desktop computer and not on my phone. I think that gives me an advantage when it comes to managing my consumption. Occasionally I use my phone to see how the apps behave, but I rarely post anything from my phone. That’s mostly because I do my best to not be on my phone, especially when I’m around others. I’d rather pay attention to people. Or watch and listen to people. That’s part of consumption that I know works for me because my curiosity needs to be satisfied.
I do use social media to link up various things I’ve created, but mostly I find that pretty useless. I mean, just because you write something or record something and share it, doesn’t mean people will go check it out. In fact, people may like it without ever clicking on the link to go check it out. Still others, most even, will just ignore it. And that’s supposing they see or notice it. I think mostly we do it to feel better. Or to feel like we’re doing something that might move the needle to get people’s attention.
The business guy in me understands and knows some things to be true – things I’m able to help others do. But I don’t do it so much myself. I’ve got my own head trash about all that. I’m stubborn like that. And maybe not a good way. 😉
Mostly, my next step is to avoid going down unproductive rabbit holes. That’s my curse. Largely because of my insomnia. I’m very prone to going down the YouTube rabbit hole of whatever has grabbed my attention. People building off-the-grid houses. People sailing around the world. People piloting their own private planes. Home construction technology. I’m not saying these are worthless pursuits, but they’re not productive for me really. I’m not really wanting to build an off-the-grid house. I have no desire to sail around the world or to pilot my own (or anybody else’s) plane. I may, one day, want to build a house so home construction technology – like these other topics – is interesting to me. But even my potential use of that information isn’t imminent. And the hours I’ve spent watching these things in the wee hours isn’t really helpful for much other than passing the time. It’s consumption that’s not helpful unless Trivial Pursuit is the goal. 😀
I’d be better off concentrating on creation. Or consuming things that will help me. More Bible study would be very beneficial. And I do that. Just not all the time. And not likely as much as I should or could.
Here’s the deal – my next step is going to be to concentrate on consumption for the purpose of improving my creation.