Sunday, March 23, 2008

Foolish Impulse or Tragic Hesitation?

A note from:

Welcome to the start of a fun new week.

I do sincerely expect that you had an outstanding holiday weekend.

The mail that was inspired by last week’s offerings continued to come in over the weekend, and I have to say, it was all wonderful. A “high 5” to all of you who shared with me the latest awareness breakthrough you experienced. All amazing stuff folks.

Many folks inquired who Sgt Henry W. is and what is his story. I can’t go into to much detail folks, other than to say, this young man is recovering from devastating injuries sustained in Iraq. He wrote me a note in January after his sister got him to subscribe to our little adventure here, and we have been e-mailing back and forth since.

I wanted to publicly acknowledge him for the incredible perspective he has developed since his injuries. He totally inspired me with his lack of anger and regret. He has taken this “opportunity” to design a life for himself that many fully “articulated” people will never experience.

I allowed myself to get a little pissed last week with some “able bodied” individuals who continue to choose the lesser path of bitching, complaining and moaning. They have every single opportunity and advantage at their disposal, and they still choose lack and misery, over abundance and happiness.

This amazing young man is my standard today for courage, resilience, faith, and “aliveness”. He allows me to live my incredible life without the shackles of the self-described “defeated”.

I’m expecting Sgt Henry will allow me to post a picture of himself in the future, but for now, he allowed me to share this with you.

“Peter, let your subscribers know that of the 100% of physical faculty’s that most people have, I now have the use of but 5%, and with that as a new beginning, I will make this 5% more powerful that most people’s 100%, just watch me.”

“Henry, I’m glad you’re on my side my young friend.” ~p~

Our friend Philip get’s us underway this week with a note that could have been penned with Henry in mind.

Foolish Impulse or Tragic Hesitation?
By Philip Humbert

The English language is full of clich├ęs, but few are more confusing than the conflict between "Fools rush in" and "Those who hesitate are lost." How do we balance the "need for speed" with the advice to "look before you leap?"

We all know the necessity for planning and preparation. We know that success requires a strong foundation, careful thought, and precision. But, we are also advised to "strike while the iron is hot" and that "the early bird gets the worm." What's a person to do?

This confusion first struck me when I read biographies of Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott, the first two men to reach the South Pole. Amundsen was the more impulsive of the two. He landed on the shelf ice, unloaded his gear and took off. He got to the pole first, and he returned to tell the tale.

Robert Scott was far more organized, and he had better equipment. When he landed on the ice, he prepared carefully for the enormous challenge ahead. He was the better scientist and he, too, got to the South Pole. But he got there second and, because of his delay the Antarctic winter began before he got back. After weeks of bitter and heroic struggle, he and his men died just eleven miles short of base camp and safety.

I was reminded of that this week while reading Edmund Morris' biography of young Theodore Roosevelt. When he was 25, after his wife died in childbirth, Roosevelt made his first trip to the "Bad Lands." When his guide backed out, he plunged ahead with no idea what to expect. He was unprepared and might have died, but instead found a rugged wilderness that restored his health and in many ways created the man who later became president. Who could have guessed?

So how do we balance the "need for speed" with the advice to "look before you leap?"

First, understand and honor your unique personality. Some of us are "planners." For them plans, research and a methodical approach are required. Impulsive action makes them nervous, and that's fine! But others are built for speed. They see opportunity and feel they must act quickly. That's fine, too! As Shakespeare advised, "First, know thyself and to thine own self be true." Design your life so that it (mostly) brings you the type of opportunities and situations you prefer.

Second, understand the limitations of your preferences. Some of us eagerly jump in, while others are planners, and both are good but each has its limitations.Some things in life must be grasped instantly or they are gone forever. Sometimes, if "you snooze, you lose!" and if you are a planner, some opportunities won't fit your natural inclinations. Design your life so that, as often as possible, you have time you need for thoughtful, careful consideration.

Others prefer the drama and excitement of speed. If that's your preference, design systems that create multiple opportunities where you can "grab and go." But, be aware of the downside risk. Some impulses, like driving too quickly on a dark and slippery road, can end in tragedy.

Finally, learn the fine art of flexibility. Few of us are so extreme in one direction or the other that we can't make exceptions when called for. Learn to analyze the true nature of the situation, and respond accordingly. Even if you strongly prefer careful planning, know that some situations call for immediate action and that's alright! Go for it! It's good practice and might, like Roosevelt's ride into the Badlands, lead to amazing results. Other situations require detailed preparation and no matter how much you want to act quickly, caution is advised. Winners recognize the difference and respond appropriately.

The key to success is using your personal preferences to your advantage.

Design a life that builds on your strengths.

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