December 7th

Unrealistic expectations and a misguided and unreasonable sense of responsibility (feeling like you are holding the world together with spitballs and gum) can cause unnecessary distress and crater the best of intentions. Let’s take the example of the little Dutch boy who stuck his finger in the dike to stop a leak. The story says that he saved the day, prevented a breach in the dike, and stopped a potential disaster, in which his whole country would have been flooded. Now the idea or the moral of the story is that a small act can make a difference, and prevent a disaster, if it is the right small act, in the right place, and at the right time. But let’s think about the little boy in this story. Let’s think about the future expectations that this kid might place upon himself, as a result of the success of this small act, and the resulting adulation heaped upon him by a grateful populace. This kid now thinks that he was destined to save the country, that this is now his role in life, and that he needs to do it (or something like it) again. As a result, this kid spends all his waking hours searching for events, in which he can participate, that will have the same result as the first serendipitous event that thrust him into his spotlight. He spends all his time coming up with scenarios in which he fulfils his new destiny, and then tries to engineer that reality. Does this sound like the normal, well-adjusted behaviour for a young person? I think not!

This is where the power of anonymity and humility comes into play. When you find yourself in such a position, pass on the credit to your higher power. Do not let yourself be placed onto a pedestal. That is not where you belong. That is not the path of the true warrior. Let’s change the story. Let’s wave a magic wand and have our young protagonist become a true warrior in the making. A true warrior would know that it takes a team to save a country. It is not possible that one person should be selected as the saviour. No one deserves that sentence or that obligation. The truth is that true warriors deflect praise from themselves and shower it upon the team, so that the team is uplifted and motivated. That way, when an opportunity presents itself, more of us are poised and ready to take an action—performing that “small act” that makes a difference.

Let’s consider that it is your role to lead, direct, and support a team … that, in fact, you are squadron leader, captain of the ship, or commander of the fleet. Does the success of every endeavour ride upon your shoulders? Is your role to be omniscient? No. Your role is to do the best you can and leave the results to God. Yes, you practice. Yes, you plan. Yes, you anticipate. Yes, you provide direction … but you also listen to wise counsel from many sources. Yes, you can take responsibility if you like, but remember that your responsibility is truly limited. Take all the blame you want, but remember that it is not all yours. Shit happens. Get over it. Move on, and be reasonable. Grant credit where credit is due, but it is never all up to you. There is a whole team around you. What is up to you is what you choose to believe and what you choose to do at any moment. That’s it.

You are warriors and you put yourself first. That means credit goes first to your higher power, and second to your family. Your job is to take care of yourself so that you can conform your will to that of your higher power, and be there for your family. You are warriors, and you will do that small thing that makes a difference. You will not take credit for it. You will credit your team, and will not expect that it will be you who does the next small thing. You understand that this will happen when it is supposed to, not when you will it to happen, and as a result, you will not invest yourself emotionally in any outcome. What will be will be. When the tide turns and the flood begins, you will rejoice. If it does not, then something else will happen, and you will rejoice in that as well. Rejoice in all that is around you or be dismayed. The choice is yours. So it is written.