Got a brilliant comment you need to read. Huge realization shift for me once I saw it. In "Self-Control and Enduring Success," I wrote -
"You know, the victors – the ones who build the really enduring victories – they’re often not the most brilliant or charismatic or brave. They’re the ones who are most patient, who are most rational, who have the most self-control."
Spike Morelli replies -
"As I read that a thought formed around modern culture and patience, rationality and self-control: none of them is very glamorous. In fact you could probably go as far as saying they are stigmatized and thought of as boring. On the other end impulsiveness and ambition are associated with dynamism and I'd argue have an overall positive perception with the large crowds/new generations. I'm wondering if this is leading to larger percentages of early high achievers never reaching their true potential and therefore overall detracting from our societies."
Wow. Brilliant observation Spike. Yes, indeed. Well, I'm a fan of ambition - I define ambition as just "how much you want," and I find ambition and self-control to be totally compatible and harmonious. But impulsiveness and raw emotion and narrative and theatrics tends to be more exciting than the things that actually work for enduring success.
Indeed, how much do we lose by not building the fundamental blocks of real tangible lasting success? How much society lose?
A lot. A whole lot.
Great comment, Spike. Great observation.
Every time there is a major disaster in America, I hear people saying something along the lines of "[insert politician] should have been more upset." This always bothered me. Why would I want a political figure who cannot keep a clear head?
I think the problem with politics is that they've shifted from 'Power to the Visionaries' to 'Power to the Money'. In previous centuries, politics were more driven by vision, dreams, idealism - even if it had a materialistic element to it, it wasn't the same as today. Now, instead of politics controlling businesses and people, businesses are controlling politics and people.
There is a brilliant film about the shift that happened in the last ~20 years: 'All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace' ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b011k45f/All_Watched_Over_by_Machines_of_Loving_Grace_Love_and_Power/ ). It is partially about the computers' role in society, but mostly about the ideology that led to this shift.
I think this is a very important part of the malaise affecting modern western society at the moment.
In business, chasing the quick buck is is rewarded even at the expense of the long-term sustainability of the business itself. Just look at all the businesses that stood for a century or more then collapsed in the last 20 years.
Politics in western countries, while always susceptible to short-term thinking has in the last few decades become completely blind to anything beyond the next election campaign. Where are the visionaries of the 18th and 19th centuries that built what we have today?
But, as with all challenges, I think this is just an opportunity for those of us willing to work to a longer-term timeframe. Patience IS a virtue - just not one that is immediately rewarded (not that this is a problem for the patient person).
In response to yesterday's "Tokugawa’s Generals, and Being a Great Follower," I wrote that greatness is something you define for yourself. I asked, what's your definition of greatness, then? We can think about it. The reader clarified -
I wrote down a list of great men and realized what I meant by greatness. Glory, recognition by other human beings. From conquerors, to musical virtuosos, the great men are those that are supported by the wave of existing people. Great men are those who did something that is today recognized as valuable. Great men are those that are known by "everyone". That is how I think fame should be seen. That is how I am seeing it as of now.
Something that jumps to the eyes is that it requires other people. If you are great then at least someone must be not great. I guess being successful in life is different from being great. If living a successful life is minimally having 2 kids with more opportunities than you had and a strong family then once achieved, your are successful. Greatness I think could be seen as recognized success. Perhaps self-recognized success can make you see yourself as great...
If everyone is successful and recognize that their success and others are great, then everyone is great, hence no one is great. (or otherwise said, to my belief, the word "great" loses value as "awe-some" did) Well that is how I see it. Everyone is successful in something, not all are The Great. Where were the risk-taking warriors? As I now understand, they were fearful. Then again I suppose they had to stop someday throne or no throne. Having acquired the belief that to rebel is a bad ROI.
A big item on my dreams list is connecting people in my life with healthy food. This is a challenging one, because food is built into our personal traditions, and because accomplishing it might involve cooking, which is not traditionally found on among my personal strengths.
It has been a year of mixed success on food. I worked out of a corporate office in Minneapolis over the summer that had an amazing set of lunch cafes. They offered tons of greens, veggies, fruits, and healthy foods for a subsidized low cost. For the first time in a long time, it was as easy to eat healthy as to eat poorly. I would stuff myself each lunch with pounds of salad with an incredible array of veggies and end up so full that I couldn't eat anymore. As a result, I lost weight and felt great.
I read the book "Eat to Live", which confirmed what I thought I was observing. It advocates eating veggies, fruits, and beans primarily. I actually managed to cook a couple of recipes out of it, and they were palatable.
But then, as I settled back full time to Appleton, eating such a diet was much more difficult. I convinced some friends to go to the salad bar at the local grocery store for lunch--but the overwhelming food culture here is bread, cheese, and sugar. Last night I hosted my birthday party. A friend cooked and did an awesome job, and even made some vegetarian chili that was delicious. But, I think my girlfriend and I were the only ones who opted for vegetarian over meat. Today, I had pizza stuffed with meat. Win some, lose some, and during winter in Northern climates the body really favors losing some. Battles, not pounds..