Tag Archives: Perspective

Blindness and Elephants

elephant

The story of the blind men and the elephant originated in India.  It then spread across the world and through history in various versions.  Here’s the main story line:

Once upon a time, there lived six blind men in a village. One day the villagers told them, “Hey, there is an elephant in the village today.”  They had no idea what an elephant was. They decided, “Even though we would not be able to see it, let us go and feel it anyway.”

“Hey, the elephant is a pillar,” said the first man, who touched his leg.

“Oh, no! It’s like a rope,” said the second man, who touched the tail.

“Oh, no! It’s like a thick branch of a tree,” said the third man, who touched the trunk of the elephant.

“It’s like a big hand fan” said the fourth man, who touched the ear of the elephant.

“It’s like a huge wall,” said the fifth man, who touched the belly of the elephant.

“It’s like a solid pipe,” said the sixth man, who touched the tusk of the elephant.

They began to argue about the elephant and each of them insisted that he was right. It looked like they were getting agitated.  A wise man was passing by and saw this.  He stopped and asked them, “What is the matter?”

They said, “We cannot agree what the elephant is like.” Each one of them told what he thought the elephant was like.

The wise man calmly explained to them, “All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently is that each of you touched a different part of the elephant.”

What part of the elephant are you holding onto?

Are you willing to listen to the way others describe the elephant?

Are you aware of your blindness?

Defining Semi-Retirement

PetersCanyonPhoto

For the first time in nearly 30 years, I’m living the life of a semi-retired person.  I’m not entirely sure what that means, but it all began about six weeks ago.  That’s when I parted company with my employer after a little over fourteen years of service.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.  I think we were great for each other.  I learned a lot, contributed lots of value, helped many people advance in their careers, and enjoyed the fruits of success.

I often counsel people to remember that in any organization, large or small, every day could be your last.  Many probably think I’m being a bit dramatic with this advice.  While not speaking literally (well, maybe I am), the main message is to be prepared for a sudden exit, either by your choice, or the company’s.

My departure was my choice and the process took a few months.  Heeding my own advice, my wife and I were well prepared.  We’ve saved and invested (sometimes wisely) for our entire life, lived simply, and recently wrote our last tuition check (a big milestone in any parent’s life).

My friends congratulated me on my early retirement, but I was quick to push back.

I’m definitely not retired, although I have let the term, semi-retired, roll around in my head.  It seems accurate, for now.  “Semi” opens the door to a world of options, and sets a high bar for what I’ll choose to do in the future.

What’s next?  I’m not sure, and I kinda like it like that.

Remembering to Breathe

Nearly all sports are the same (at least on one level).  It doesn’t matter if that sport is soccer, baseball, golf, archery, skeet shooting, curling, downhill skiing, long distance running, ice skating, motorcycle racing, or competitive yodeling.

They each start with the same fundamentals:

  • Relax and stay loose
  • Calm your mind
  • Visualize success
  • Bend your knees
  • Don’t forget to breathe.

One could make a case that each of these fundamentals are of equal importance, but my money is on the last one.  Consciously remembering to breathe puts us in the right state of mind to remember the other fundamentals.

We each face challenges on a daily basis.  Some are small, and some are huge (at least from our perspective).  Here’s a strategy for tackling each of them:

  • Relax and stay loose
  • Calm your mind
  • Visualize success
  • Bend your knees
  • Remember to breathe!

Your Ten Best Days

What if you could choose the ten best days in your life and relive them as many times as you want?  You only get to choose ten.

How would you go about choosing your ten best? Here are some possibilities to kick-start your thought process (in no particular order):

  • The day you learned to ride a bike
  • The day you lost your first tooth
  • The day you hit your first homerun
  • The day you got your driver’s license
  • The day you graduated from high school
  • The day you graduated from college
  • The day you received your first paycheck
  • The day you bought your first car (which might have been the day after you got your first paycheck)
  • Your wedding day
  • The day you finished your first marathon
  • The days your children were born
  • The day you became the boss
  • The day your trained someone else to be the boss
  • The days your children graduated from high school…how about college?
  • The days your children were married
  • Your first visit to the Grand Canyon
  • The day you went to the top of the Eiffel Tower
  • The day you and your family swam with dolphins
  • The day the doctor told you that you were cancer free
  • The day you watched your grandson being born (a definite front runner for me)
  • The days you visited your children’s first homes
  • That super hot day when you and your kids went to the Angel game and tried to keep cool with spray bottles
  • The day you zip-lined through a rainforest
  • The day you retired
  • The day you first had a Tommy’s Burger
  • The day you helped a complete stranger

The possibilities are infinite, and everyone’s list is different.  Have you chosen your ten best days yet?  What pictures flash in your mind as you try to decide?

Here’s some good news:  you don’t have to choose just ten.  And, you get to relive your best days any time you’d like.  All you have to do is picture them in your mind, like you just did.

Here’s one more piece of good news:  many of your best days are still in front of you, yet to be enjoyed.