Naive Realism

Debating the ‘Mount Rushmore of’ a talented field is a great form of entertainment when hanging out with others. Of course, that #4 position is usually a tough call:

MR of Muppets? Kermit, Cookie Monster, Big Bird and _____

MR of exercise? Running, Swimming, Biking and _____

MR of quarterbacks? Brady, Montana, Unitas and _____

MR of 60’s cars? Corvette, Mustang, GTO and _____

MR of laptops? Apple, Dell, Surface and _____

MR of rock bands? Beatles, Stones, U2 and _____

MR of colleges? Harvard, Yale, Stanford and _____

MR of romantic cities? Venice, Paris, Rome and _____

MR of desserts? Bread Pudding, Pecan Pie, Ice Cream and _____

MR of board games? Monopoly, Scrabble, Risk and _____

While you likely disagree with many of my Top 3 above, chances are you’re not going to get upset with my opinion. Instead, you’ll counter with a few different thoughts, we’ll politely discuss the ‘why’ and conclude by acknowledging there is more than one way to view things.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could approach politics, religion and social issues that currently divide our world in a similar manner? You’re entitled to your opinion. I’m entitled to mine. We both seek a clearer understanding of our different viewpoints to learn from each other.

Seems that would be a much better approach than one where people are set staunchly in their beliefs and – whether from fear, firmness or frustration – aren’t open to anything that differs from their own.

Here’s a suggestion for a starting point toward change:

MR of manners? Show Respect, Listen, No Judging and _____

Next Stage

While my goal is to work until June 9, 2031, much plays into that happening, including good health and skills that are still in demand. Yet, at my age – with 60 fast approaching – I’m listening to a lot of clients and friends talk about their impending retirements.

While these folks aren’t worrying about running out of money before they run out of time, they are concerned about running out of things to do. That seems to be the biggest fear among those who have acquired enough wealth to not depend on Social Security to make ends meet.

I’ve spoken to people who grew bored after a few months and went back to work. I even have one friend who retired on January 1 this year after 34 years at his company and started working at a new organization the following Monday.

Perhaps the greatest challenge of stepping away from the workforce is to find something that engages the mind, spirit and body. The key is to have a new calling that provides a challenge and, in my opinion, helps others.

Following his last game and having announced retirement, a reporter asked Bear Bryant what he was going to do going forward. The legendary Alabama football coach replied: “Probably croak in a week.” He died 31 days later.

Which is why when I step away from work on the 50th anniversary of my first day at my first professional job, I’ll have a plan – and it won’t be just playing golf.

Daily Views

This month I started doing something at the end of each day that seems to be having a nice impact on my personal development. In a brief reflection – usually just minutes before I share it with my ‘accountabilibuddy’ – I identify one thing I did really well.

These ‘that was a good moment’ recognitions might come from a coaching session (“I met the client right where they are”) or how I responded to a customer service rep (“I was polite and patient”) or that I focused for a longer than usual amount of time without getting distracted (“I didn’t go down any bunny trails”).

These first few weeks I’ve found I don’t have to go searching. The ‘one thing’ readily bubbles up for me. If I remember to do this 200 days a year, that will be a big leap in getting better… one small step at a time.

I think today’s ‘I did really well’ will be writing this blog and sharing my new approach with you.

Too Much

What films can I watch over and over? “Casablanca,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” and “Back to the Future.”

My favorite movie lines?

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” (“Gone With The Wind”)

“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore,” (“Network”)

“There’s no crying in baseball.” (“A League of Their Own”)

And, of course, “Wait a minute, Doc. Are you telling me you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean?”

My least favorite film? Even though it won the Academy Award for Best Picture, I did not enjoy “American Beauty”… although it made a great point I’ve never forgotten.

When the ‘actor who shall not be named because he is accused of doing really bad things’ is talking to Annette Bening and says: “This isn’t life, it’s just stuff. And it’s become more important to you than living. Well, honey, that’s just nuts.”

That’s something I continually remind myself as I look around the house we’ve lived in since the year that film came out . Downsizing coming soon to a theater near you.