I know that some of you will be familiar with Paul Harvey. Paul worked with us for a while and is probably one of the key influencers in establishing our current marketing strategies. If you have ever wondered where we got our ideas from for the Highland Spotlight business exhibition, blame Paul.
Anyway, he posted something on LinkedIn last night. It was not the main point of his post, but it struck a chord with me, and it put into words, something that I had been feeling for a while.
It is not good. It is not bad. It just is.
You can hear many similar sayings and I am sure we all use them – “That’s life” for example. It is the acceptance that sometimes the only explanation is that it is just part of being alive. It is accepting that there are things that do not require or maybe just do not have an explanation.
I have found over the years that inner peace comes from accepting life as it comes, and I do not need to have an opinion about everything. I think the media is all about black and white. Everyone has to have an opinion and must express it. There must be conflicting views and arguments. If you have ever watched broadcasts from the House of Commons in Westminster or the Scottish Assembly, how often do you get the impression that they are arguing for the sake of arguing and just making political points for no constructive purpose. Am I just getting old and cynical?
At this point you are maybe thinking that this is turning into a “thought for the day” or some kind of Christmas message. Christmas is a very important part of our lives whether you are religious or not. It’s just the way we were brought up. But it is also a time when we think about family and friends, those around us now and those that are no longer with us. It’s only natural. There are people who shared experiences with us in the past which for whatever reason cannot be repeated. We just need to make new memories and new experiences. Then we will have even more happy times to look back on.
If you are in business. I think you will understand this more than most. Things happen. Today you will have successes and failures, some small and insignificant, others spectacular, with apparently far-reaching consequences for us. If you have been in business for a while, you are used to the emotional roller coaster that winning and losing customers brings. You remember all the “not so good” decisions, the staff you should not have employed and you think about where you might have been now, if you had not mucked up. But is that right?
Life happens. You make the call at a particular time or day, and you move forward. That call may take you forward or backwards. But what you do not know, or that you do not consider, is the consequences in the longer term. You do not have a crystal ball, you cannot know what the long term effect will be of any one decision you have made. I have heard it said that anyone who tries to live their lives by a crystal ball, gets used to eating ground glass. You cannot see into the future. You can try to guess but there are so many variables, so many people that can interact with you in ways that today you cannot imagine.
We have been in business for a while. You would think we would know and understand everything there is to know. But I think one of the things that you learn with experience is just how much we do not know. When I had my first business, it was all new and exciting. We knew everything, or thought we did, and hard work compensated for our ignorance. We still work hard, we know so much more, but we also know, accept and understand that there is so much more that we do not know.
So, not everything is good or bad. Likewise, there are no people who are all good or all bad. I know that this is a controversial statement because we are taught that there are people who are pure evil and others who are saints. I am not picking an argument here, just letting you know my own thoughts. It goes along with something I heard many years ago. Along with accepting that life happens, and no one is all good or all bad, try accepting that everyone without exceptions, does the best that they can with the resources that they have. They may get things wrong, and sometimes spectacularly, but was that because they just did not have the resources or judgment to make a better decision? Think about people who have slighted you in business. In another 10 years, with more experience under their belts, would they make the same decision? It’s an interesting way of rationalising your experiences of life and interactions with other people.
So, as you go about your life today, will you suffer unintended affronts and slights from other people, or will you accept and understand that this is just where they are on their journey and that’s all. Will you waste your valuable energies fighting your corner, rather than accepting that there are no corners, we are all on a journey down the same broad road.
Have a great Christmas and bank happy memories, because they will be part of who you are in the coming years, and be kind, especially to those who lack the resources to be kind to you.
If you want to carry on this discussion, but you are not sure where to find us, please click here.
Alan E Long
The Long Partnership