The 365 Commitment

The Scrappy Chihuahua

You know what? I am not going to let this CoronaVirus thing get me down. I am going to fight like a cornered little Chihuahua defending his favorite chew toy. You got that image? A scrappy creature all teeth and snarls backed into a corner, hair all raised up, fighting against impossible odds? Yeah, that is me. I am deciding this morning not to try to get into a fight with things that I cannot control, but anything that I do have control over I am going to get real mean. Yeah, not mean as in mad at the world mean, but mean as in if something is not right and it is in my power to resolve then I am going to get nasty, ugly, ferocious in attacking that problem until it is no longer in my way. As life becomes more precious, and I consider the value of people, family, friends, colleagues I am starting to view trivial B.S. problems with contempt, disgust and impatience.

What is important, as I have come to reflect, is people and my relationship to them. Understanding and realizing the potential of others, of each other. Helping each person achieve greater things, lifting our community, society, tribe to a higher level by each of us getting more out of our potential. That is what I want to focus on. I do not have time to focus any more on barriers, blockades, distractions to that primary objective. I am always going to remind myself to think of this question when I am working on an issue. Is this going to help myself and others realize their potential and help lift our organization and our society to a greater place?

That may seem silly, but consider this. When we are battling an issue, trying to tackle a concern or problem are we really pondering what impact or non impact this will have on the only real viable outcome? Will this be a trivial problem to solve a trivial project to produce a trivial outcome? Then why the bleep are we spending any time on it? We have precious time, and this crisis has certainly raised that issue to the forefront. Time to stop squandering effort on inconsequential things. Time to get lean and mean. When I spend my time on something, shouldn’t that time be focused on maximizing the ultimate outcome? If I am not focused on an worthwhile objective, and aiming all my many efforts in that concentrated direction than ultimately I am wasting my time here on earth, and it is time to deal with that frank reality and put it right in my face and say time to deal with the facts, dude. You need to spend time on what matters.

The microwave broke this week. My wife was encouraging me to resolve that issue. Now I am sure, if told my wife that fixing the microwave was a trivial concern, beneath my calling to focus on the improvement of overall society, and that the microwave played no part in that objective that she would slap me upside the head. She would hand me my toolbox and say, yeah right you dolt, fix the microwave and we will see if I let you live long enough to focus on your pie in the sky. Yeah, I took time to fix the microwave. So that is a funny way of saying that practical issues are still very much in play. You have to eat, you have to sleep, you have to have shelter, your family needs to be safe and secure. There are a host of basic needs that you just have to focus on.

If you do not do the basics well, forget any grand objective you might have. Failure in one of the basics will eat away at and eventually devour any hopes or dreams that you might have. Not having a solid relationship with your spouse, a faithful, healthy, open communication type relationship is a challenge that can become almost insurmountable. You cannot ignore relationships with core people in your life that you love and or have made commitments to. You cannot abuse those relationships and not expect them to become caustic and giant distractions to what you want to do and be in life. Children, parents, siblings, close friends are included here. If you are engaged with or doing something that is hurting the ability for these relationships to stay healthy then you have a problem. This is a stumbling block that has to be worked on. This is NOT a trivial issue and you cannot hide from it.

The basics list, gets even longer, when you consider things like providing for your basic needs and also the needs around you. That is paramount and trumps any other major objectives you might have. I have often considered this, only people that have secured the basic necessities of life in a lasting and meaningful way are really capable of being a person that can impact the world around them. Now there are times, I am sure, when someone ignores one or more basic areas, has massive success, and has an impact. I have always noticed that it is not a society altering impact. It is always a selfish, almost greedy acquisition and once the shaky foundation on which they have been built gets wiped out from underneath them the fall is great.

So practical issues are not trivial issues, but basic necessities that remain unfulfilled for long periods of time are dangerous, soul sucking cancers that have to be treated and focused on. Most of you have experienced or know someone that is diagnosed with some form of cancer. When that diagnosis comes, you have to deal with it. The consequence of ignoring it are too extreme, so you are forced to make a change. Regardless of what you have going on and why, you change, you do what you have to solve that issue. This is and should be the same for the practical. Resolve the issue, put a plan in place for long term maintenance and keep checking in to make sure that it does not become malignant one day and completely alter your life unexpectedly.

So assuming the practical is a steady state, then you can start to consider the higher objectives and obligations of being a member of a team, tribe, society, nation and the world. The image of a protesting young college student trying to take on a global crisis, who cannot afford a place to stay, is addicted to some drug or another, and has an estranged relationship with the people that love him or her, comes to mind. How can someone possibly make a meaningful contribution, or provide a meaningful idea to help a functioning, complex society solve a global crisis when they cannot even afford a place to live or buy lunch?

Higher objectives, like solving world problems, are a lifetime pursuit and a meaningful contribution can only be hoped for after someone has solved the basics. We must never forget, that human society is based and centered around solving for the core issues of shelter, food, and safety. When these are solved for, society thrives, grows and reproduces. When you live in a rich society, like I do, you forget this. You focus your entire day on working on problems and things that have nothing to do with the basics. You take for granted that you can order your well prepared, high calorie, protein rich meal from Uber Eats and have it about an hour. Fully cooked, with utensils, delivered to your door so that you can enjoy your meal while watching an entertaining movie for 2 hours.  I can solve the hunger problem in a few clicks and swipes. My shelter is always warm or cool depending on the climate outside and I have ready available source of food, water and any other necessity that you can think of. The basics are provided for, which means that I have the luxury to write this blog and think of higher things.

This is a good thing, it is a result of a successful society. You can always tell the most productive societies, by the philosophy that gets published by their people. The more diverse and creative the ideas, the more successful that society has been and solving basic needs. We commonly forget that this is the primary objective of any social system. Capitalist to Marxist and everything in between. So, basic needs are so important, our entire social systems are based on it. Therefore, so should we. Ignoring the basics, is disastrous on a personal, local, and global level.

This pandemic has me pondering taking care of the basics, getting them dialed in and working well. Not taking them for granted, making sure that I am not doing anything stupid to mess that up. Then I am able to ponder the next step. Helping my family, friends, community, my work colleagues, grow and prosper as well. I have a lot to do, the agenda is big. I really just don’t have time to focus on much of anything else. That is why this little dog is going to snatch on to the ankle of any intruder and not let go until it is no longer a threat. Hackles raised, fangs exposed, claws extended. This little scrappy Chihuahua is ready for a fight!

Guy Reams

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