Tag Archives: Progress

Forward, Yes, Looking Over a Shoulder

Life moves us ever forward.  We have one day after another – some are good and some not so much.  There are people who are good at looking forward, planning and making sure that this progression of days add up to a larger something; and on the other side of the spectrum there are people for whom every day is a surprise.  Then there are all of the rest of us in between.

forwardBut which way are we looking most often?  Forward, back, all around?  Like driving, we know that we should shift our focus between all of these views, but depending on our personality and experience we tend to settle into one habitual viewpoint.  We lose range of motion after some time of this single default viewpoint.

The best mix of forward, back and all around gives us the richest context.  We need that backward historical viewpoint to provide some recognition to new things.  (This is similar to that old thing in certain ways.)  Adding in the forward helps the new thing to reveal previously unexperienced, and possibly beneficial, perspectives and knowledge.  All around provides balance and depth – we can better decide what weight to apply to everything.

But we need something to push us off our preferred viewpoint, most likely.  Do you regularly use the past to decide what to do today?  Do you look forward to new experiences?  How often do you switch it up?  I liken it to changing lanes when driving – even though I know that I should turn my head as well as using my mirrors I find that I can slip into a bad habit of just using my mirrors and perhaps a quick sideways glance.  Not good.

I have had a Physical Therapist remind me that many of our motions are forward focused, so even though we start out with great range of motion we lose a lot if we don’t deliberately stretch out and back too.  We need to do this with our minds too – our default viewpoints.

Have you put much thought into how your viewpoint affects your ability to move forward?

© 2013 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

And Repeat Until Retirement

Sometimes a post idea comes to me and I struggle for a title.  Sometimes I manage to come up with an idea and a title together.  And sometimes I just get a title.  Today, I was thinking along the lines of repetitive tasks – there is a world of lather, rinse, repeat beyond shampoo – and this title popped in.

It seems as though we think, as children, that we will put thought into what we want to be; get the appropriate training in our early adult years; get the appropriate job for that training at a good company; achieve regular gains in pay and work load based on experience; and retire at the right time.  Ding, work life recipe complete.  And perhaps that did work for a chunk of the population for a space of time.  (I hear tell that the Millennials have different ideas of a career – do share.)

We do need to have a balance of the expected – certainty – to go along with all of the variables – marry or not, and who?  Where to live?  Children?  And somehow our working segment seems a reasonable portion to place our hopes for regular, certain, blissful sameness.  We can handle life’s changes when we know there will be familiar expectations here and there.

While I have been aware of this sort of assembly line progression of career, I have taken a different tack.  I understand why this notion can appeal.  Just for fun, I make lists of all the bits and pieces of life that we are supposed to keep up on and it is eye-popping.  Also, not feasible – something must go on auto-process.  Something has to be chosen to fend for itself.  Benign neglect.

Capture

I am not suggesting that people don’t take pride in their work, don’t want to be valued.  Not at all, just that there isn’t a necessarily a conscious review of current status versus a planned trajectory.  The focus is on the set of regular tasks.  It is expected that completion of tasks will carry up to keep on that trajectory until retirement.

Does this work out?  Yes, for some.  Certainly it has led to a rude awakening for others.  So the question comes down to deciding whether it is working for you – is your current activity meeting your expectations?  If so, repeat until retirement, with occasional re-verification.

© 2013 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

Dis-orientingly Familiar

I have lived in many places in my life – sometimes you can pass through a place, even live there for a good chunk of time, without the place grabbing much of a hold on your memory and other places dig deep roots into your heart, even in a short stay.  And the place that prompted me to write is one that dug deep.  It was nice to get a chance to go back recently, even briefly, and check how the town and some of the people that I know are faring.

Living now in the Chicago area, there isn’t much contour to our prairie, but this area has plenty of hills and valleys.  Some of the state routes and other roads connecting towns used to be 2 lane back roads with character including twists and turns – but over time through government investment, need due to heavy use, and hard work of construction workers these routes and roads have become 4 lane highways and therefore been straightened out and lost character.  It is now faster to get from one place to another, and you don’t have fear what might be taking that next curve wide, but the scenery is blander.

more Jisco West

Progress seems to smooth out personality.

I’ve noticed that this seems true with clothing and buildings as well.  Look at items that were made painstakingly by hand in previous centuries and you will see intricate work that we don’t see in many of our modern items – straighter lines, more uniform.

I know this thing, if not clearly anymore, I know it viscerally.  This is where the old road went that way.  This is where the door used to be.  Even if you haven’t lived many places I bet you can identify – think about when you have visited some place and found that they have similar street names.  Which makes you think twice as hard to get from A to B – is it your usual A to B, or a different one that should not overlay existing information?  Names are the same, but contours and results are quite different.

We know it, but we don’t and it is disorienting.  Our brains stutter to gain certainty – this, no that, um.  Breathe, not panic.  Familiar, why?  What fits with what?  Set aside the unknown for a moment, focus on the known – even vague misty known.  And click.  Understanding starts, disorientation recedes.  I am here, now.  Whew.

© 2013 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

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