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22 November 2008 @ 04:24 am
New Revelations  
I am not generally a diarist. My first inclination is not to write things down unless they are formatted into a list that is task based. Order and chronology are fretted over and several drafts may have to be hammered out before that post-it is just right; perfect penmanship, strong margin discipline, realistic flow from one task to the next, and above all practical. These lists are then preserved and disregarded until the time that they needed. To be recycled. A man of action I like to be, but more often than not I am a man of compulsion. Why else would I be up at 2am writing a journal entry in a journal that I a) have not added a new entry to in 36 weeks according to the Live Journal folks and b) that will only be viewed by my wife? I guess the simple answer is this is a note to myself. A practice for future notes. A reminder of all of the thoughts and ideas swirling around inside my head at the moment that may be lost to the wind if they are not noted somewhere, preferrably somewhere that is not recyclable.

I just finished a story in the New Yorker by David Remnick about Obama and race. The topic is not what has inspired my sudden this post necessarily, though it is inspirational. What struck me was the character that Obama is described as having. I've read it all before, but something about reading it now, post-historic-election that have my synapses firing away. I see a man who, through self reflection, discipline, intelligence, calmness, self confidence, ambition, pure motivation and foresight, built himself up to his current position. He stumbled, yes, and he got lucky, yes. But he also could have gone nowhere if he didn't have such a unique combination of traits. It seems a bit naive to read such an amazing and powerful biography and then equate it with my own, but that is where I am in these wee small hours of the morning. I am thinking of the things that I'd like to accomplish in life and they are at once modest as well as grand. the idea of using government as a strong and effective way (though not the only way) of solving people's problems is coming back into vogue. I want to be involved in improving the lot of others and improving the locations that I live in. Politics are not my interest in terms of running for and hold an office of my own. I would prefer the role of administrator, of executor of the government, not legislator. But it would be foolish to think that politics are not involved in this level as well. My mind has been playing out a Machiavellian game lately that concludes that you can be sencere in your actions but you have to, on some level play politics. And not in the Lee Atwater manner per se, but in the poker hand way - that is only reveal your hand when you have to, and only as much as the game requires. A younger Tony would have found this to be a bit fradulent, hiding knownin information from people in order to earn their trust or friendship. And maybe it is on some level. Yet I can't help but think that everyone does this on some level. This is not to say everyone is some kind of fraud or charlottene. On the contrary, I believe most people are quite genuine, they simply don't feel comfortable or feel the need or feel it appropriate to tell one's every fleeting thought or feeling to anyone that will listen. Most people hold their cards close to their chest until they feel comfortable. Everyone does this to some extent and I am no different. How often have I avoided telling my own wife angry thoughts because I knew they were only temporary and speaking in anger rarely produces good results? The point is, I'm realizing that I have to be more disciplined in my speech - not more cunning, or calculating, or less forthright, just reserved yet honest. People that share their opinions in a respectful manner are people others respect. The kind of people that I want in my life are the kind that will find such qualities of honesty and openness as benefits.

Where am I going with all of this hot air? Well, I've come to some conclusions and to honor the list format that I am so seemingly hard-wired for, I present to you/me, the following points:

1) Social networking is not a dirty term. In fact, it is simply socializing with people you enjoy the company of for one reason or another. Not everyone is going to be a close friend and that's okay. Though it is nice to have quality over quantity, it is stupid to think that friendships, trust and bonds can be formed overnight without giving people several chances. Not every good friend starts off on a perfect note. But more importantly, quantity can be better thought of as variety. There is nothing wrong with having a variety of friendships based on a combination of factors - spiritual, practical, inspirational, physical, etc. This leads to the Kantian idea that you should give everyone a fair shot because you never know how they may be able to help you illuminate something about yourself. Bottom line: be more social and make a variety of friends, keeping them for honest, sincerely reasons. Books and knowledge are great but aren't worth much if you don't share them with others.

2) Discipline is in order. My brain likes order but all too often I operate in a world of disorder of my own creation. This is a major theme of many 'o journal entries throughout my life - I need more discipline and focus. This means a schedule and some sacrifices. Thsu is life. If ambitions are to be fulfilled, discipline is needed. But this is not a tree that grows overnight. It takes years and maybe some fallen limbs before the trunk is straight. I have to be patient while being ambitious; focused while managing several different matters at once. And I have to follow through - all too often I ahve dropped the ball and left it there on the field. Turning around and picking it back up is essential.

3) Positive calmness is key. An easy temperament is not easy thing to find. Yet it is worth the effort to look for it and grow it. This is not to be confused with a lazy or morally soft temperament. To the contrary, it is important to be calm in the face of a storm. For instance, my studio is not going well. I have been a bit negative on its progress so thus far and have vocalized this to several people. This is not positive calmness. In the end my actions have been positive but my rhetoric has been used more to connect with others in the class that are feeling disconnected. Again, positive calmness would be better - not dillusional but more even keel. As the saying around his campaign offices went, "No drama with Obama". Telling words. The best workers and leaders are those that work well with others, show discipline even in the face of chaos, and those that exude calm in the face of any storm.

4) Confidence. I have gained more of it but let self doubt mire many of my actions. I have strong grades in school, produce good work, especially when I focus, and can form my own, independent, intelligent opinions. Yet I shy from leadership roles at time, doubting either my own sincerity and motivations, or because there is a fear that others might be offended or might feel awkward or uncomfortable. It is great to be aware of other people's feelings and I pride myself at being able to read people. It is also necessary to take the reigns either of a project or conversation and take some action, even if it may not be perfect. One simple example of this is not talking to strangers or aquaintances when there is a thought that seems valuable to share from either side. I should not be afriad of reluctant to say hello to the security guards in my building, to talk to them like people, to banter. Most people want to feel comfortable with others and being friendly takes confidence. I have it, it's there. I'm not afraid to put myself out on the line, but too often I overthink how my actions or words may effect others. There needs to be more of a balance.

So, is this more talk or do I really see change happening in my own life? I'd like to believe that I have the capacity to change and improve as I've shown sparks of it. But these things are more a marathon than a sprint so two weeks is not enough. Simple, easy little steps have to be taken before long term changes can take root. But I have to start somewhere. And who cares if it seems to come out of the blue if suddenly I'm more out going? Such an attitude means I could never change because others might not like it or question it. If actions and words are sincere, which I find comes naturally for me, then things can improve over time.

An hour later, and I'm now tired and ready for sleep. So where to from here? One day at a time I can make small changes, like being more positive, friendlier and more out-going, sticking to a schedule more, staying patient and focused on important tasks, always keeping my cool. No easy order for sure. But I feel there is more to my life, that I am to achieve great things. I have to use the work and words of others as inspiration. Thus, Obama's traits and character helped him reach a lofty goal but one that was realistic in part because he made it that way. I have to learn from this - you have to create your own opportunities and they will require all of the qualities above if they are to be successful. I am capable of great achievement but have to start showing it.

30 seems a bit late for a profound enlightenment, but everyone has their own path. Mine doesn't have to lead to the top to be successful. It just has to lead to a better me.
 
 
Current Location: Bedroom
State of Mind: hopefulhopeful
Sounds & Noises: Silence only the night can provide