Drunk on the daily grind

They intoxicate themselves with work so they won’t see who they really are- Aldous Huxley

Down in the trenches. On the front lines. Nose to the grindstone.

We’ve heard this before, and done this before. And while working hard is by no means a bad idea, let’s not forget that we can often become completely unaware of WHY we are working.

Hard work can be intoxicating. It can be satisfying too. But in that state, it can also distract us from the truth. The truth that we don’t know where we are headed. “Just keep paddling” is a rather unfortunate response in a boat that is bobbing about on the sea.

The remedy?

First, we must answer the question, “where are we now?”

And next, answer the question, “where are we headed?”

And then, “which direction is that from here? North? South?

And finally, “will paddling get us there?”

After that, we can just keep paddling- in the right direction.

A little leverage

Carl Jung once said  “we always require an outside point to stand on, in order to apply the lever of criticism.”

As I’ve said before, objectivity. An outside view, an observer who is not inside the organization, or the family, or the mind of an individual.

So here are some thoughts on Jung’s statement:

  1. It is impossible to be self-objective. We need, by definition, someone else to look at our situation, whether in business or in family life, and give us that outside view.
  2. Criticism, in it’s non-emotional form, is simply making constructive observations about the weaknesses or failures of a thing that should be strong and whole.
  3. A lever is a simple device, like a crowbar or a wheelbarrow. You can use it to move heavy objects, like your world.
  4. The person giving you that ‘outside point to stand on’ needs to be a trusted source of criticism. Opinions don’t necessarily rise to the level of constructive criticism.