The news these days is often very bad, but we still have reason to hope. Make a point of thinking of the good things in your life or that you have achieved. Make plans that you feel good about and will help someone beyond yourself. Celebrate small things and express gratitude to others for what they add life. Imagine a world where you were alone before looking at the issues of society. People make the world go around and we are all lucky to have so much company. As an adult own your life and feelings while working to improve the management. Thank God for the good things in life and you will see more!
According to the book Exteme Ownership (by Jocko Willink and Leif Babbin) a Leader should do, or recognize the following:
1 – own it all (extreme ownership)
2 – no bad teams, only bad leaders
3 – have Clarity and Belief
4 – Manage your Ego
As I think about the situations I encounter in life and organizations these four pillars stand out as a framework for looking at behavior. Outstanding leaders are examples and not blamers. They ask for help and build people up. You don’t wonder where they are coming from or what they are about because it is clear they want to create solutions based on the truth. Great leaders are not the focus of the conversation and thought because they direct attention on the goal. They manage their own egos and help others to focus on working together for success. Whether it comes from national figures or local people the characteristics of good leadership don’t change. The first person a leader must lead is themselves.
I have written a lot about the current president and the COVID19 pandemic. I understand wanting to move on to something besides the current president and all the dysfunction that surrounds him. The fact that he is the president doing damage to our institutions, society, and security is a reality. In the face of a pandemic and a toxic presidency I thought that I would share some ideas for coping with the stress:
1. This cannot last forever and we should keep our faith in God. Better days are coming.
2. Relax and exercise with good audiobooks, music, podcasts, etc. There is a lot of really excellent edifying free content that will grow your mind and spirit. Get a library card if you don’t have one because there are free digital downloads available. Exercise will strengthen your body, improve your outlook, and boost your immune system.
3. Plan and enjoy good meals that include fruits and vegetables while consuming plenty of water. I try to drink a minimum of 70oz of water per day, starting with about 30oz before breakfast is done.
4. Seek to help other people while staying in touch with family and friends. During tough times there is nothing like being a support to others because it is an even greater boost to our own spirits. Just sharing talk about feelings, meals, events, people, or the day with someone else is a win-win activity.
5. Consume or create art of some sort. Whether it is a virtual museum, a movie, music, poetry, or music setting aside time to enjoy or make art is an expression of hope in humanity. Art is an expression of who we are and helps us to understand ourselves and each other.
I hope these unoriginal ideas are useful to you as they have been to me. Organize your day into blocks that provide some routine and variety of focus for your mind, body, and spirit. Remember as Jocko Willink says “Discipline=freedom”. We all need to develop and structure ourselves and our time to maximize enjoyment of life. I believe we will get to the other side of these dark times.
America needs to develop a national award for journalist who step up to defend our Constitution and republic. We could call it the Defense of the Republic award or something similar. We have recently seen the current president claim that he has total power over the states and a reporter had to remind us of the fact that he does not. We have seen the president repeatedly assault the media for factually stating that he was lying about something while reporters continue to seek the truth. We saw the president saying he believed the Russian president over our own intelligence agencies and reporters get him to state this belief. Reporters have exposed the president’s refusal to share his tax returns, divert military crews to his resorts, and charge the secret service premium rates to provide him security. There are many more examples of the media providing a firewall to the assault on our republic. We need to recognize the hero’s amongst us, and make sure that there are more in the future.
The four words “power pollutes; obedience enslaves” remind us that in a republic we have a duty to pursue, find, and follow the truth; as this is our true north. Republics have been rare in human history because of our egotistical nature and weakness for sociopaths who tell us what we want to hear versus the truth. I believe Jesus words that “you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free”. The truth frees us and lies are meant to enslave us in one way or another. Today we see networks and political parties of people who regularly deny or obstruct the truth. Our duty as citizens is to question authority to make sure those claiming to be leaders remain servants of the people, and seekers of truth.
The Trump administration has developed a record of ignoring science and medicine when they can. The story of the Covid19 virus in the United States is a story of a lack of knowledge leading to a lack of urgency and disaster. This week the Trump administration rolled back EPA fuel standards that were developed to fight the climate crisis which they also deny. When the lights come on and people begin to ask questions the administration has no problem lying or deflecting blame. I believe the virus we are currently battling is a chance to get better at dealing with coming challenges using science and truth. The election of 2020 may be an existential fork in the road for humanity. Please take the time to study and think before you vote in November. If we are not careful this administration will kill us now and later. Vote as if your life, or your families lives depended on it; they do.
I make time on a regular basis to count the blessings of my life. Not all of my blessings but those that come to mind. The habit comes in handy regularly and especially at stressful times like the Covid19 pandemic. I can feel the insidious growth of anxiety when I talk with others or listen to the news. We have a lot to think about for ourselves and those we care about. The good news is that because of this threat more Americans and people worldwide will consider science more seriously on climate crisis. Thinking about the joy of taking a breath of fresh air seems more meaningful when it is threatened by a virus. I feel lucky to live in a country that can produce cures for disease despite not providing access to healthcare for everyone. I feel fortunate that so many people know we can be better tomorrow and are acting to make it happen. They say the mind can make energy out of anything including tragedy. I am hopeful that our current problems can be a catalyst for a truly better country.
Most all of us are dealing with the specter of disease having so much control over our lives. As a believer in God it is comforting to lean on Lord in a world of uncertainty. I know that many people do not believe in God, but for me belief makes more sense than not doing so. Life is amazing even with horrific events, pain, and injustice. I feel fortunate to be able to count my blessings and to know that I need to. Coronavirus is scary on a personal level. Fight back by thinking of all of the things you are grateful about that a virus cannot take away.
Increasing information and research shows that human beings need to own their results and behavior to maximize potential. Everyone with experience knows that there are forces beyond our control that impact our lives, but that giving our power away to others or the unknown weakens us. It is important for our mindset to realize the importance of our choices while not being paralyzed by them. Life takes courage, humor, and confidence in the face of shifting fortunes. Whatever happens maximize your ownership, skills, and confidence by believing in your ability to influence the life you lead. Believing in yourself and your power is the best hand you could ask for in this life.
What do you believe you should have in life, and how much control do you have in achieving it? This question drives our behavior and interaction with other people. Our internal dialogue and beliefs weigh the question of what we feel is deserved in our lives. How do we get what we deserve? What are you willing to do to get what should be your destiny? How are other people effected by you achieving your goal? Recently I have read and heard discussions on what people consider success in life; the answer seems to be contentment. They say contentment is reached by developing your potential and helping others while doing it. Contentment it seems is not dying with the most toys, but in having done your best while helping others do theirs.