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« Keep Your Garden Green. | Main | Thanksgiving Reflection: All for one and one for all. »

November 18, 2011

Comments

Eastcoast

My ancestor (his baptism certificate, discharge papers from the Civil War, picture with his pistols, and marriage certificate hang on the wall behind my desk) was fortunate enough to survive one of the bloodiest conflicts in our nation’s history. I have two other good friends who were in Vietnam, one on a river gun boat, the other a Green Beret at Khe Sahn. All of these men were survivors; men who had seen and lived to tell about the horrors of war. As for my ancestor (Daniel), I am glad he did survive or else I would not be here writing this note today.

In your story, the grandfather is not painted in a favorable light for talking about the depression (my father often spoke about the depression). One point, perhaps not made, is this man survived the depression, was able to provide for his family, enabling a future generation and beyond including perhaps the grandson who was so “tired of hearing about the depression”. The grandson benefitted from his grandfather’s wisdom at a time of great trial and I am sure in his subconscious, it made an impression of how bad things could be if he did not correctly plan and execute.

Parents tell us things are hot so we do not get burned (as perhaps they once did in the past). They don’t have to do these things, we could learn them on our own, but the world can teach some very harsh lessons, some of which we would not survive. Parents understand this, but often we do not always appreciate all they have done to enable us a better future.

I know this was not the sort of reply you were expecting, but that is why you pass these things out looking for comments.

Ken

Interesting viewpoint in this week’s FR. I like studying history - to learn from what happened in the past to help maneuver for the future. However, I can also see where dwelling too much on the past can hinder you for the future – especially if one takes too cautious of an approach.

I’m reading Steve Job’s biography, and am fascinated with how he was not hindered by the past to come up with great ideas for the future. On the flipside, although he was a brilliant businessman and marketer, he was not a nice person, and could be very toxic in his relationships.

I like Bob Noyce’s quote of “Don’t be encumbered by history … go off and do something wonderful.” But don’t be ignorant of history either.

I think all of this reinforces possibility thinking and self-fulfilling prophecy. We can all do great things – we just have to believe that we can.

Roger

Some things we can't control such as how the country is progressing economically. What we can control is what we decide to focus on and what we do within that.

I understand the sentiments presented by Eastcoast and they are completely valid, almost startlingly so. But that struggle - between caution and courage - is the root of what makes us human. Can we act in the face of fear? Do we give in to adversity or ascend it? Even in the midst of extreme horror, as you speak of, are we able to find some value and meaning to better the place we find ourselves?

It is not easy, nor is it meant to be. It presents an interesting dichotomy and one that is illustrated well in Viktor Frankel's, "Man's Search For Meaning." A true account of a man who survived the death camps in Auschwitz and Dachau during the Holocaust, but still managed to find the meaning in that horror, and use it to do good.

As animals, we are wired for survival. The world will teach us harsh lessons regardless. To me, survival is not enough, living in fear for the sake of survival is not enough. You reach out, and yes, you occasionally get burned - badly sometimes - but you lick your wounds and keep reaching.

It's in the outlook and what you see in a situation - mere survival or an opportunity for something better.

Friend who knew them

Just to clarify. Senior in this story was a very wealthy man and had inherited a thriving business from his ancestors. But his constant worries and talk about "upcoming recession" eventually did bring about downfall of his business.

NJ

US unemployment rate is currently at 9%. For me it means, 91% employment rate, not too shabby.

microCEO

"To infinity and beyond!"
-Buzz Lightyear

"Worry is paying interest on trouble that may never come."
-Robert C. Savage.

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