Gray Hair and Silver Linings

long grey hair, woman

70 is the new 60.
60 is the new 50.
50 is the new 40.

Right.

These two NY Times Op-Ed pieces are beautifully written where ever you land with your math. I’ve chosen 2 excerpts. Be sure to click through to the full stories.

Frank Bruni turns 50 and writes Gray Hair and Silver Linings:

[...] There’s a point at which you have to accept that certain hopes and dreams won’t be realized, and 50 sure feels like it. I mean the lost margin for error. When you’re in your 20s and even your 30s, you can waste months, squander love, say yes to all the wrong things and no to all the right ones. And you can still recover, because there are many more months and loves and crossroads to come. The mistakes of youth are an education. The mistakes later on are just a shame. And I mean the lost people most of all: the ones from whom you’re separated by unmovable circumstances; the ones who’ve died. By 50 you start to see the pace of these disappearances accelerating. It’s haunting, and even harrowing. But there’s something else that you start to notice, something that muffles all of that, a muscle that grows stronger, not weaker. More than before, you’re able to find the good in the bad. You start to master perspective, realizing that with a shift in it — an adjustment of attitude, a reorientation of expectations — what’s bothersome can evaporate and what only seems to be urgent really isn’t…

Emily Fox Gordon, 66, with The Meaning of Fulfillment:

AT 66, I find myself feeling fulfilled. I didn’t expect this, and don’t know quite what to make of it…Fulfillment is a dubious gift because you receive it only when you’re approaching the end. You can’t consider your life fulfilled until you’re fairly sure of its temporal shape, and you can’t get a view of that until you’re well past its midpoint  [...]  At any rate, by now I’ve racked up enough achievements that I feel I can stop trying. Paradoxically, of course, I find I don’t want to stop. Now that not much is at stake, I’m more ambitious than ever, or at least more conscious of my ambition. Liberated from an anxiety I’ve struggled to suppress, I feel a new energy. What is fulfillment made of? Mostly relief…


Image Source: imgarcade

Then — with a thunderous roar replied…

lightning-greece-corfu

The Gods called your name
and the seas turned dark;
the earth quaked with power.

You looked up at Olympus
screaming at the gates;
“What will I become?”

The Gods fell silent, then-
with a thunderous roar replied;
“Who are you now?”

— Achilles


Credits: Poem via Mirroir.  Photograph: Lightning Storm in Corfu, Greece. Thank you Cristi. (With Greek Mythology, you need to bring a fantastic photo from Greece!)

 

Monday Mantra

monday-mantra-start


Source: Justlyrics (from “Same Love” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis f/ Mary Lambert)

Some days…

photography,blue

Some days one needs to hide from possibility.

~ Jim Harrison & Ted Kooser, Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry


Notes: Photograph via YourEyesBlazeOut

And if 2 isn’t enough, double down

hand-sand-earth

And here’s links to 3 more excerpts from Sam Harris’ new book that hit nerve endings:

  • Our needs and desires seem to multiply by the hour.” Connect here.
  • Our feelings of accomplishment remain vivid and intoxicating for an hour, or perhaps a day, but then they subside. And the search goes on.” Connect here.
  • Just keep your foot on the gas until you run out of road.” Connect here.

Photograph Source: YourEyesBlazeOut via Taffynikte

 

 

Monday Mantra

bird,tree

Woodpecker,
why so much effort
for such little gain?

~ Jim Harrison & Ted Kooser, Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry

 


Credits: Image: wikimedia. Poem: Thank you Steve Layman for pointing me to Braided Creek.

 

“Hurry, hurry, hurry.”

rain-umbrella

When I was getting ready to graduate from college in 1957, I was fed up and ready to drop from exhaustion, but still my mind kept telling me, “Hurry, hurry, hurry.” I felt I had to do something, go on to the next step, whatever it was — career, graduate school, as long as it was important. This is an American disease.

~ Florence King


Be sure not to miss Florence King‘s entire letter at Brainpickings here: Finding Yourself


Photography: Thank you Carol @ Radiating Blossom

Five Stages of One’s Career

balloon-portrait-life

Then there are the stages of one’s career: an old joke invoked the five stages of Joseph Epstein (supply your own name here): 1. Who is Joseph Epstein? 2. This is a job, clearly, for Joseph Epstein. 3. We ought to get someone like Joseph Epstein for this job. 4. This job calls for a younger Joseph Epstein, and 5. Who is Joseph Epstein?

~ Joseph Epstein, A Literary Education and Other Essays


Credits: Photograph – Tugbaumit

 

What Drives Success?

success
Not sure I buy into #1. I’m a fervent believer in #2 and #3.
I’ve mastered #2. There’s considerable work required on #3.

“The strikingly successful groups in America today share three traits that, together, propel success. The first is a superiority complex — a deep-seated belief in their exceptionality. The second appears to be the opposite — insecurity, a feeling that you or what you’ve done is not good enough. The third is impulse control….

It’s odd to think of people feeling simultaneously superior and insecure. Yet it’s precisely this unstable combination that generates drive: a chip on the shoulder, a goading need to prove oneself. Add impulse control — the ability to resist temptation — and the result is people who systematically sacrifice present gratification in pursuit of future attainment.

But this success comes at a price. Each of the three traits has its own pathologies. Impulse control can undercut the ability to experience beauty, tranquillity and spontaneous joy. Insecure people feel like they’re never good enough…A superiority complex can be even more invidious. Group supremacy claims have been a source of oppression, war and genocide throughout history.”

~ Amy Chua & Jed Rubenfeld, What Drives Success?


Read entire article in NY Times: What Drives Success?  Worthy…


Uneasiness. Inquietude. There is work to be done.

George Sheehan

“Jogging or whatever our sport is, then, is the way we move from actuality toward our potential, toward becoming all we can be. At the same time it will fill us with uneasiness, with what Gabriel Marcel called inquietude, the recognition that there is work to be done to fulfill our lives. And it allows us to see, as Theodore Roszak suggested, that our most solemn, and pressing, and primary problem is not “original sin” but “original splendor,” knowledge of our potential godlikeness. “We grow sick,” Roszak wrote, “with the guilt of having lived below our authentic level.”

~ George Sheehan, Running & Being


My friend Elise suggested I read Sheehan’s Book Running & Being.  I was hooked from the first chapter and I’m sipping a few pages a day.  More on George Sheehan below: [Read more...]

The outcome of my days

black and white

“The outcome of my days is always the same; an infinite desire for what one never gets; a void one cannot fill; an utter yearning to produce in all ways, to battle as much as possible against time that drags us along, and the distractions that throw a veil over our soul.”

~ Eugene Delacroix, “The Journal of Eugene Delacroix


Credits: Image – Your Eyes Blazeout. Quote – The Hidden Abyss


Connecting those threads

Picaso - Cory Smith

New leadership books pour over the dam each day claiming to share a secret sauce.  A cow rhythmically chewing and regurgitating its cud. But far less effective.  It largely comes down to these eight lines from James Autry.  Period.

Listen.
In every office
you hear the threads
of love and joy and fear and guilt,
the cries for celebration and reassurance,
and somehow you know that connecting those threads
is what you are supposed to do
and business takes care of itself.

~ James A. Autry


Source: 800CEORead - Bring Your Emotional Self to Work.  The words above were written by James A. Autry and are included in Love and Profit: The Art of Caring Leadership (p.32).  And all of this reminds me of the John Maxwell quote:  “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Image Credit: Cory Smith – Ix.com

Nothing comes from doing nothing

charlie brown, waiting, take action, do something, success

“I’ve seen people waiting, watching and hoping someone else would step up, take ownership and make things happen. I’ve seen people stuck in blame-gear while others are doing the work and solving the problems. And I’ve seen people hesitating while others are committing. No surprise these were the same people complaining in my office when others received bigger increases, better assignments, or more interesting projects.  But, people who are winning at working become the someone else that others are waiting for. They step up and do something. They know when to act, and they feel better about themselves when they do. That’s because action feels better than inaction and commitment feels better than non-commitment. Both build your self-esteem. Here’s the bottom-line: you can’t be winning at working if you’re waiting for someone else to be the someone you could be.  In my way of thinking, winning at working means you commit to offering the best you there is. Sometimes that means you have to dig a little deeper for your courage or push yourself outside your comfort zone. But it’s like Shakespeare said, “Nothing comes from doing nothing.”

~ Nan Russell


Source: Success.bz – Someone Else.  Image: 3eanuts

Life is going by too fast…

Charlie Brown, Linus, Peanuts, Baseball, learn


Source: Thank you Not Perfect Me

Related Posts:

Success, the drug we can never get enough of…

Akitaka ItoDrive. Push. Chase. Finish First. Win. Be number one.

Achieve. Acquire another shingle.  Another degree.  Be the best in your field.  In your industry.  Be world class.

Learn More.  Work harder.  Be more. Be exceptional. Be the most you can be.

Set a goal.  Pursue it.  Achieve it.  Exceed it.

Pick any one above and you’ll find my underpinnings.  My undercarriage.  My foundation.

Yet, this NY Times article Redefining Success and Celebrating the Unremarkable moved me…

…“In our unspoken but not so subtle Darwinian competition with one another — which springs, I think, from our fear of our own insignificance, a subset of our dread of mortality — we have of late, we Americans, to our detriment, come to love accolades more than genuine achievement,” he told the students and parents. “We have come to see them as the point — and we’re happy to compromise standards, or ignore reality, if we suspect that’s the quickest way, or only way, to have something to put on the mantelpiece, something to pose with, crow about, something with which to leverage ourselves into a better spot on the social totem pole…”

[Read more...]