Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Balancing Act

Constantly surrounded by changing circumstances the power of observation is essential. Minute details that play into the larger fabric of the environment and people around us. Those who successfully master this skill are often at distinct advantage. Allowing those who do realize to capitalize and react effectively.

Individuals inherently strive to achieve more, become better at their craft, and generally increase the utility derived from each endeavor they pursue. Generally speaking the nature of being human is first and foremost self preservation and thus many things we do are self serving. In recognizing this and looking at what it means in a more modern context it is usually acceptable to equate the concept of self preservation to creating economic wealth. This is by no means the sole measure but perhaps the most widely understood and accepted one. The basic premise being that security, comfort, and overall satisfaction are highly correlated with the assets one is able to accumulate. The intention is not to oversimplify the many aspects people strive for but in general self worth in the eyes of the individual and society would agree with this thought.

All the above is observation, but to put it in a more contextual and real life perspective it is useful to look through the lens of those who have 'made' it according to the guidelines of self preservation above. There is no better way than to look at circumstances of the 'made it' population. Given the unique advantage of knowing several (some who are very close to home) in the 'made it' crowd I notice glaring deficiencies in their lives. The chinks in armor are as varied as the people themselves but the fundamental similarity is that things has been lost on the journey to making it. Some are quite obvious such as trading time in the office for time with the kids, or losing sight of ethics and morals in the pursuit of profit or squandering the once unbreakable bonds of previous relationships. However, all too commonly the deficiencies are minor and can go ignored. When coupled with multiple deficiencies or when unaddressed the flaws grow increasingly larger. This is evidenced in the well known mid life crisis, when a breaking point is reached and drastic, instant gratification measures are taken to remedy the problem; often ineffectively so. Well documented is the notion of how things going from seemingly perfect to the disastrous. Whether it is the sensationalist movies bridging fiction between the life of the privileged and the confines and trials that such privilege come with. Or the gruesome news story of the seemingly perfect family gone wrong. There is no doubt you have been exposed in some way to this as even the most oblivious must have observed.

The reason for this post is to analyze the what, when, how, and why this is so often the case. In order to do so provided is a list of terms that are essential ingredients to making it as defined by Webster's and the dissection of the reality of the terms.

: a favorable juncture of circumstances
: a good chance for advancement or progress

As Oprah so eloquently puts it this is when hard work meets luck. I however prefer to think of this as two thoughts colliding to create the pursuit of an objective with reckless abandon. In the context of the made it crowd I have seen people look at their successes and dismiss them instead choosing to focus on the missed chances, and trying in vain to make up for them. A game in which satisfaction is never achieved and the thirst for acknowledgment is never quenched. Corrupting current chances. Hindsight is 20/20 but no perspective is blinding.

obsolete : outcome, result
2 a
: degree or measure of succeeding b : favorable or desired outcome; also : the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence
: one that succeeds

Commonly known as the most arbitrarily and simultaneously measurable aspect in life. Measurable due to the quantitative nature associated with the term but arbitrary because it means so many things to so many people. In a consumption based society the degree to which success is defined is simply money and the ability to attain possessions of desire. However, the world through a different perspective sees success in a broader context, much like the second definition. One in which you work to live as opposed to living to work. The latter is what too many people do. Work above all else is a hazardous practice that lends itself to much unhappiness.

: abundance of valuable material possessions or resources 2: abundant supply : profusion 3 a : all property that has a money value or an exchangeable value b : all material objects that have economic utility; especially : the stock of useful goods having economic value in existence at any one time wealth>

A prime example of how the things we value in life can be out of order. I personally know millionaires that would gladly give their abundant material possessions for a real and substansive interaction with their children. Wealth should encompass much more than your bank account. The healthy relationships that you have with peers, family, and friends is more often than not a fortune in itself.

In all this observation I must look at myself and say am I writing this because I have not 'made it' or is my 'made' defined differently. I would like to believe its the latter but a third party is always useful when it comes to evaluating that.

I urge everyone to reflect on their picture of being made. You may already be closer than you think.

Song of the Day: Nina Simone-Sinnerman

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