PERSPECTIVES: NOBODY IS IRREPLACEABLE

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“… Do not let the hero in your soul perish…” – Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

 

“PERSPECTIVES” are excerpts from my forthcoming book of the same name, available from Partridge Publications early 2015

 

Nobody is irreplaceable.

Every 4 to 8 years the president of the USA is replaced. And the world carries on.

This may not be good for anyone’s ego, but no-one is irreplaceable. Over time things change and so with it the “irreplaceability” of everyone. Queens and kings come and go. Presidents and Prime Ministers are replaced – and countries keep rolling right on.

There may be social, emotional, possibly financial impacts, though – affecting those who remain behind – and then again, some of these impacts and outcomes may actually be beneficial.

 

Physical

I have left numerous employs throughout my life – large, medium and small – and every single time they went straight on with business. It might have caused a hiccup or two but they survived.

So, and this has been said before in a poem titled “There is no irreplaceable man” (also known as “The Indispensable Man”) attributed to Saxon White Kessinger, part of which is quoted here:

“Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in up to your wrist,
The hole that you make when you leave it,
Is the measure of how much you’ll be missed.”

This may sound disheartening, but remember that we have all been born for a purpose – a mission – and are thus valuable and important within measure in the Grand Design.

We may be the water that rush in to fill the hole.

Irreplaceable – No.

Valuable – Yes.

 

Social

We make friends at school. Move away to different towns, cities, universities and stay in touch – for a period of time. Over years relationships fade – some into nothingness, others into a thin guise of what it once was. Still others remain strong but sporadic. Some form partner relationships, even get married.

We start careers, and the same cycle repeats itself.

It is called “Life”.

And most of us will continue to repeat the cycle – knowing that in the end we may have a handful or perhaps a few more dear friends within our inner circle.

In the final analysis – and throughout life – this is what counts: The few we can rely on – now and in years from now – to support us with more than a few words or short phone calls when we are in need.

Irreplaceable – No.

Invaluable – Yes.

 

Mental

Time can be considered the only truly universal condition. You are not able to buy, rent, hire, or manufacture more of it. But it has also been said that when you really take a look at the perfection and the beauty that is a newborn baby, you realize that Life itself is irreplaceable.

 

Emotional

People fall in love, get married and have children. Death strikes, leaving one partner or a whole family devastated. My brother died a few years ago and my sister-in-law was an emotional wreck. Time has healed part of the loss but when we talk with her on special days, the hurt still shows in long-drawn silences.

In many lives emotional disappointments threaten to drag people under. People get fired from their jobs. One or both partners in a relationship may fall in love with others. One of the parties may feel diminished. Divorce or months – if not years – of heartache follows.

The measure of a person is how they step over disappointment, job loss, the death of a loved one, unfaithfulness. Solace can be found in friends, memories of good times, religion, new relationships, new jobs – but the disappointments will revisit from time to time, hopefully tempered by the memories of better moments.

Irreplaceable – No.

Valued and loved – Yes!

 

Intellectual

Every well-managed organization has a succession-planning strategy in place, and those who do not, are playing with the continued survival of the organization.

Families should have a similar approach – not a succession plan, but a plan that will soften the blow and serve those who are left behind one day when we exchange this life for an eternal one.

Irreplaceable – No.

Valued and loved – Yes!

 

Spiritual

Life and Time are irreplaceable as they seem to speed in different directions – the fuller Life becomes, the less Time one has remaining – converted and stored as closeness with loved ones, friendships, experience, memories – turned into legacy beyond our three-score and ten years on this earth.

In the greater scheme of things – though we may only be one stitch in the Carpet of Life, our souls – Yes our Souls are irreplaceable. Don’t let them perish, and…..

Take care of the journey you take yours on.

 

KEY POINTS

  • There is no irreplaceable person.
  • In the final analysis, there are only a few people one can depend on for unconditional support.
  • Though Time can be considered the only truly universal condition, Life itself is irreplaceable.
  • The measure of a person is how they step over disappointments and heartaches.
  • Families should have a plan to soften the blow when beloveds depart.
  • Life and Time are irreplaceable as they seem to speed in different directions.

 

ACTION STEPS

  • Find and live your mission and purpose.
  • Build a small personal inner circle support group.
  • Live here and now. The past has gone and the future will one day not arrive – for all of us.
  • Buffet and strengthen yourself emotionally against disappointments. Every Life is dealt some.
  • Prepare and guard against the loss of a loved one.
  • Take care of the journey you take your Soul on.

 

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PERSPECTIVES: SLEEP WELL

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“Let me sleep on it…”

 

“PERSPECTIVES” are excerpts from my forthcoming book of the same name, available from Partridge Publications early 2015

 

Sleep. Nectar from Hypnos.

 

  • 100,000 accidents in the USA are annually attributed to micro-sleeping at the wheel, from which many people do not walk away.

Living things take a rest. Plants fold their leaves and flowers for the night – unless they are nocturnal. Birds tuck their heads under their wings – unless they are night-time birds of prey.

People need sleep to refresh, restore, and regroup their bodies. It is essential for health and wellbeing. A multitude of sleep disorders, however, result in more than half of the population suffering sleep deficits several nights a week. This leads to daytime sleepiness at work and on the road – a dangerous situation if ever there was one.

Though our bodies vary, six to eight hours’ sleep per night is generally enough to get body and mind prepared for the next day.

 

Physical

Rest, through sleep, is a big healer. It repairs the body – in sickness and in health – and consolidates our sub-conscience and memory whilst re-energizing our body cells.

On the other hand, lack of sleep suppresses immunity which may lead to cardiovascular issues and even Type 2 diabetes amongst others. There is further proof that those who have less than 5 hours’ sleep during a 24 hour period, have a 50% chance of being obese.

Melatonin – a chemical that is found in animals, plants and microbes – forms part of the system that regulates our sleep-wake cycle by causing drowsiness and lowering body temperature as we prepare for bed. It also interacts with our immune system and is said to be an effective preventative treatment for migraine and cluster headaches.

Night-time bright lights and physical activity interfere with its production and function.

As with most things, a mixture of myths and truths co-exist, two of which are:

  • Myth-1: I am ok, fully awake and capable after 5 hours’ sleep.
  • Truth-1: A sleep deficit affects you in more aspects than one – physically, socially, mentally, emotionally, intellectually and even spiritually – and impairs your judgment.
  • Myth-2: You sleep away a large part of your life.
  • Truth-2: Your body is doing much needed maintenance while you sleep, which allows you to enjoy a better quality of life during your waking hours.

 

Social

Sleep deprivation infringes and impacts on social skills, often causing people to be more easily offended, leading to increased impulsiveness and aggressiveness.

Hence a good night’s sleep is a much needed antidote, sometimes a remedy, perchance even a lifesaver – especially on roads, and in the air. Ask yourself if you would want your pilot to have only 5 hours or less of sleep before a long flight?

 

Mental

Preparing for bedtime and sleep is very important.

Sleep scientists advise that the half hour before we go to bed needs to follow a pattern of “cycling down” in terms of mental and physical activity in a less intense light setting. It normally takes 30 minutes to go to sleep but bright lights – such as a laptop or mobile phone screen – delay falling asleep for up to 90 minutes.

Mentally replay the good things that happened during your day and close it off with meditation or prayer. Do not spend this period doing last minute emails or reading news. In contrast, reading an inspirational book reaps better sleep-time rewards.

 

Emotional

Sleep allows the sub-conscience to sort through your day’s experiences and rework them – which is extremely important from an emotional perspective. We have all heard the expression “I will sleep on it” – which more often than not leads to better judgment calls the next day.

Studies show that those in their teens who go to bed before 10 p.m. are less depressed and less likely to consider suicide than those who stay up till after midnight.

 

Intellectual

A good sleep often enhances creativity which may lead to novel solutions for complex problems.

 

Spiritual

From all perspectives, your body and mind is the environment within which you live. Treat it well and it will return the favour.

For the religious among us, God – in His almighty wisdom – entrusted you with stewardship of the temple within which you live and love. God also separated day and night, one for work and the other to rest, rebuild and renew spirit, mind and body for tomorrow’s journey.

Respect the responsibility you have been given and the benefits bestowed.

 

KEY POINTS

  • Sleep is essential for your health and all-round wellbeing.
  • Sleep deprivation infringes and impacts on social skills,
  • People generally need 6-8 hours’ sleep per night to sort out mind and body for the next day.
  • Sleep deficit often leads to both poor memory and poor judgment.
  • A good sleep enhances creativity.
  • Your body and mind is the temple and castle within which you live and love.

 

ACTION STEPS

  • Indulge in enough restorative sleep.
  • Relive the good things and plusses in your day as you prepare to sleep. Meditate. Pray.
  • Do not invade your night with too much light.
  • At times you may need to “sleep on it” to make better judgment calls.
  • Enhance your creativity by taking time out to rest enough.
  • Treat your body well and it will return the favor.

 

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PERSPECTIVES: GUILT – WAKE-UP CALL

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“We are on strike against the doctrine that life is guilt.” Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged.

 

Don’t Feel Guilty – It Keeps You Awake At Night.

 

“PERSPECTIVES” are excerpts from my forthcoming book of the same name, available from Partridge Publications early 2015

 

Everyone makes mistakes. Great sports people take the blow, miss the shot, lose a point – but do not let it disturb their rhythm for fear of repeating it. Remaining fixated on the rear view mirror is not a smart way to move forward.

This is also true of Life: To make a mistake and then foolishly keep beating yourself up over it wins no prizes and may in fact lead to more mistakes. Remain positive and concentrate on your next action, which is more worthy of your attention – in the old adage of “pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again” but this time with the power of hindsight.

 

Physical

Persistent feelings of guilt will weaken your immune system and shorten your life.

Medically speaking it increases your cortisol level, which is good for a “fight or flight” response but constant high levels of it increases your blood pressure and with it the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke whilst raising your level of anxiety which oftentimes also lead to bouts of depression.

 

Social

Guilt serves two purposes – one positive the other negative.

Positively guilt can be seen and used as a learning tool: Think. Analyze. Resolve. Learn. Forgive. Move on.

On the flip side, callous manipulators with exploitive disorders will often abuse a person who suffers from negative guilt by oppressing, manipulating and even blackmailing them – through either action or in-action, even physical threat – by letting the guilt-bearer feel responsible for causing pain or suffering to the manipulator. The manipulator may even create the guilt-feeling for their own purposes.

Case in point: I recently come to know about a husband who was having an extra-marital affair – which he blamed on his wife – and threatened to beat their children if she does not let him carry on with the affair!

Do not fall into this trap, and if you are it, get out of it fast. You are worthy of your own life, own thoughts, own actions and own mistakes – for which you obviously should also be willing to take responsibility.

  • Bottom line: Do not be a slave to your own guilt or to someone else’s manipulation or blackmail.

 

Mental

Constant feelings of guilty can eventually lead to mental illness.

Put matters in context, especially if it stems from locked-in childhood or young adulthood actions or inactions. It is important that you see matters in perspective and find the reason for your guilt feelings – which might in fact be external to yourself.

  • Act: Forgive yourself – time to move on.

 

Emotional

People often accumulate guilt throughout their lives due to own behavior, actions and in-actions as well as failure to meet other people’s and society’s expectations.

They blame themselves for mistakes, faults and past nuances which they later regret. At times it is profoundly expressed in self-hurting actions. At other times it is subliminal, slowly drip-eroding them, affecting self-esteem, embedding feelings of inadequacy, apologizing for the smallest of things and even other people’s mistakes – resulting in an apologetic life, seeing themselves as second to others, and searching for constant validation.

Such a state of self-worthlessness takes time to resolve – and some may never achieve it.

BUT it is important to start the journey back to sanity and self-worth: analyze it, confront it, resolve it, and move on to positive thoughts and actions with which to reclaim your birthright and re-anchor your life.

 

Intellectual

I cannot say it any better than Aldous Huxley in Brave New World: “Chronic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most undesirable sentiment. If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving better next time. On no account brood over your wrongdoing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean.”
 

Spiritual

Our conscience serves as a moral compass – though it may not always point due North.

It imposes joy or pain – as the case may be – to reinforce what we view as good behavior and makes us regret where and when we see ourselves as failing.

  • It is important, though, to realize that – as human beings – we are also worthy of freeing ourselves from past shackles and move on.

From a religious perspective, sin – not guilt – is seen as the element of transgression. Guilt is the symptom and wake-up call that alerts us to our transgressions and prods us to positively seek forgiveness and absolution – which different religions deal with in either personal or communal rituals.

 

KEY POINTS

  • Guilt can shorten your life.
  • Guilt can serve both positive and negative purposes.
  • Being continuously consumed by guilt can lead to mental illness.
  • We derive guilt though behavior, actions in-actions and failure to meet others expectations.
  • “Chronic remorse …… is a most undesirable sentiment” – Aldous Huxley in “Brave New World”.
  • As human beings we are worthy of freeing ourselves from the past and moving on.

 

ACTION STEPS

  • Use guilt as a learning tool.
  • Do not be a slave to your own guilt or to another party’s manipulation.
  • See matters in perspective and find the reason for your guilt – it may be external to yourself.
  • Analyze your guilt, confront it, resolve it, and move on to positive thoughts and actions.
  • Do not brood and agonize over your wrong-doings.
  • Realize that you are a human being – with human failings and the ability to learn from it.

 

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PERSPECTIVES: WRITE – WORDS MATTER

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“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are”

  • Somerset Maugham

 

“PERSPECTIVES” are excerpts from my forthcoming book of the same name, available from Partridge Publications early 2015.

 

The Pen is mightier than the Sword – and often leads to profoundly social outcomes – as vividly underscored by Shakespeare, Dante, Socrates, Rousseau, and an ink-well full of past and present-day writers.

More than 80% of all Americans think that they should write a book. Only about 2% have done a manuscript and even less publishes it eventually. It is never too late and you are never too old. Or too young.

J.K. Rowling started writing the Harry Potter series in 1990 and only published in 1997. She is now the richest and first billionaire author on the planet. Whilst the money is obviously important, her larger measure of success is the millions of youngsters who started to read storybooks again at a time when reading was not in fashion.

Writing stimulates your creativity and depending on what you write about, may require you to conduct research, organize content, focus, make choices, practice patience, reread, rewrite, walk in the shoes of your characters – and many more verbs and nouns – whilst being your own best company most of the time.

 

Physical

Some writers prefer to work in the freshness of morning. Others write in the warmth of afternoon sun. And then there are those who write with the moon and stars as companions.

I mostly write during the day – the mind liberated by soft piano music and rippling water sounds. But there are times when thoughts and words present themselves after midnight – and if I do not quickly capture them they evaporate by dawn.

To each their own – finding their own space and time in which to turn creative thought into words that communicate between minds.

 

Social

Writing is mostly a solitary and lonely activity.

Blessed are those who – when writing about factual matters and contentious issues – can entice a few red-pen-ready proofreaders to provide a form of social interaction whilst also being a critical sounding board.

They are worth their weight in gold bringing their skill, knowledge, judgment, experience, their care through a set of different lenses to the attic from where you write, since as Ernest Hemingway observed “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”

 

Mental

Thoughts know no bounds, imagination has no limits.

The mind has carte blanche to create with inspiration – inventing storylines, plots, names, situations, challenges, relationships, beginnings and endings, timeframes, giving birth to and destroying galaxies, and with it, taking the reader on amazing journeys with impunity.

 

Emotional

The emotional aspect of writing can be summed up in one word – “roller-coaster”.

Some days are diamond. Others are dust. With an alphabet soup of emotional feelings in between. Days when words, nay whole sentences tumble out so fast that I do not have enough fingers to capture them. Other days even two words are sworn enemies – refusing to live on the same page.

The solution to this is simple: Keep writing. Keep writing. Keep writing. Polish later.

 

Intellectual

The Power of The Word can reduce grown men to tears and raise heroines on horseback to lead an army!

It requires for both body and mind to be prepared for an act of emancipation whilst simultaneously confining you to a state of solitariness, accepting ownership and parenthood of the words you write and the ideas you expound, creating a link between yourself – the storyteller – and your audience – the readers. Arousing within them images, perchance even sounds and aromas at the turn of a page.

 

Spiritual

With writing – as with traveling – the journey is as important as the destination.

For some it can become a pilgrimage leading to adjustments in life – perhaps even a catharsis. For others it may be humbling to realize that as individuals we know so little about so much whilst simultaneously being able to celebrate a God-given talent of creativity and an opportunity to enrich where and how we live and love.

Our Lives are all unique and writing is one way of giving Voice to it!

 

KEY POINTS

  • Writing turns Thought into Words that communicate between Minds.
  • It is a mostly solitary and lonely activity, though proofreaders provide some social interaction.
  • Writers often experience a roller-coaster of feelings during the writing process.
  • Writing is an act of emancipation.
  • It requires dedication and ownership.
  • With writing the personal journey is as important as the destination.

 

ACTION STEPS

  • Do not wait till the urge grabs you – set a time and work at writing every day.
  • Find and appreciate faithful proofreaders.
  • Take your readers on a magical journey – it is your duty as a writer.
  • Keep writing. Keep writing. Keep writing. Get the draft down – then polish.
  • Accept ownership and parenthood of the words you write and the ideas you expound.
  • Give Voice to your Talent.

 

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