Memorial Day is about more than a show of patriotism, but a time to recognize the sacrifices that we should consider throughout the year. Gratitude is important to maintaining a positive outlook on life. Our gratitude for the sacrifices others have made should help us maintain our freedom; as long as we ask the questions required of true respect. It is easy to fly a flag and speak platitudes. It is meaningful and important to consider why great sacrifices are worthy of respectful remembrance. Our lives should be improved by understanding our blessings as citizens and our duty to keep the country worthy of sacrifices made. Research, think, and vote in 2020!
The COVID19 pandemic is still with us. I am hopeful that people will continue to help one another to continuously take the steps to reduce the spread of the virus. The wisdom of crowds will have to work in a way that actually reduces crowding and helps individuals to keep their distance while acting to protect others with masks, etc. While the economy is reopening and more opportunities to socialize emerge people can fall into old habits. I hope we can be gentle with one another and lead by example as we battle the spread of the virus. The current president will not lead and chaos lurks throughout our country; as President Obama said we will have to be the change that we seek.
“You will know the truth and the truth will set you free” – Jesus. This quote tells us how to proceed in life or during a pandemic where the current president says one thing, while scientists and doctors say something else. Every real American wants the truth to make good decisions that free and enrich. The greedy and criminals want to lie so that people are deceived into doing what is not in their own interest; but someone else’s. I want to see life return to normal as quickly as possible with the risks minimized. I don’t know exactly what that looks like, but I know the truth is the fastest road back.
The book Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg talks about being aware of our 1. cues (things that trigger behaviors), 2. routines (common behavior patterns we don’t think much about), and 3. rewards (the feeling, event, or praise we receive that reinforces the behavior). All of us fall into loops of behavior and activities that lead us to what we want in life, or further away from it. Duhigg talks about how powerful habits are in our lives and that we should try to control them. I agree with his conclusion. Lets make our journey through life one that is more of what we want by weighing our habits and whether they add or subtract from what we want to be.
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.
During the COVID19 pandemic we have seen governors and local officials rise to fill the breach left by the current president. There is a lot of discussion about when do we go back to work, and how will the decision be made. Trump says it is in his head and doctors say we need widespread testing and a plan. The African proverb “Be a mountain, or lean on one” tells us that under stress we need strength and resolve. If we cannot find strength in ourselves we need to seek it out as a critical resource. The current president says he is not responsible and that the states are on their own with the government as a backup. Many state leaders have accused the administration of playing favorites during a time of lethal pandemic. We need accountability if the nation is to thrive in the future. Vote in 2020.