My What Matters

I, like most people over the last four days, have given thought to what I am thankful for. On a Mayo Clinic site I participate in with other folks who have the same medical issues as myself a thread started this week; “what am I surprised that I am thankful for or never thought I would be thankful for”. I guess that started an entirely different abstract running through my head as I participated in events with family and friends and some alone time just watching football. A lot of football teams play their rivals this weekend and I suppose some of us break bread with people who at different times in our lives, or maybe now, were/are rivals. In many cases we should be very thankful for our rivals. As kids and beyond they have often been the nudge we needed to be better at something. For some it was sports, for some academics, cooking, making money, etc., etc., etc… Some of the things we wanted to improve at may have found acceptance of others as morally desirable goals and some, not so much.

After my undergraduate days, I went into a field where there were not a lot of very high IQ individuals who had succeeded on that basis. My boss however appreciated the way I could paint pictures with numbers to achieve goals. He began working on his MBA after we acquired a boss who had completed his and that motivated me to start and finish mine. I would not have ever admitted that either of these men were rivals (they were actually friends), but I did not want to be left out of a conversation because someone thought it was over my head. Achieving that academic benchmark while working, “with no quarter given”, taught me a time and academic discipline that I did not learn as an undergrad. I later worked for different individuals in the same field who had no appreciation for thought, but simply believed everything was accomplished by brawn. I realized I could not continue with pre-industrial revolution thinkers and I don’t know if any of that group learned anything from me. They have aged their bodies and minds in unnatural ways if they continued in the same manner the past decade and a half. That MBA allowed me to move on to another industry where understanding, thought, innovation, different methods of explanation and persuasion were favored. I had some successes, but I didn’t perform at the highest level because I had to be truthful in all my dealings and I felt there were times where something misleading was what was wanted.

I think this is a pretty good example of what happens when things are allowed to run rampant across my brain cells. I guess in retrospect, I have so much more to be thankful for than I realize at any given point in time. I also have come to believe that if we are more aware of what we have than what we don’t, we are far better people to be around and we like ourselves so much more. We also are able to rest and think so much more when we are not scrambling for something we don’t have for no other reason than that someone else has one or several. It leads us to the truth that there are things worth working very hard for and so many of them are intangible.

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