One fundamental principle for improving our results in doing stuff – manufacturing, providing services, our golf game, etc. – is to develop a standardized way to act every time. Doing so provides us a foundation to see and overcome the obstacles to our expected results. And this resulting “best-known way” creates a second foundation to train others effectively.
There are also standard approaches to finding and overcoming the obstacles blocking the path to our next performance level. The Improvement Kata (Toyota Kata) is currently in vogue and very useful. Basically, it is a practice routine to develop scientific thinking skills by building upon our unique human nature to reason. Scientific thinking is the nucleus of my coaching of improvement.
However, when it comes to pursuing our better self by improving our character and, in turn, a better society, I felt a need to dig a little deeper. I wanted to define a kata, or form, for practicing living the good life—a life of virtue.
I can't help but share this animated documentary of strength and courage within communist China, “Up We Soar”. I believe it paints a clear picture of how the lack of respect for humanity and a ruthless cancel culture can devastate lives.
Rather than mindlessly follow along with one side of an argument based upon belonging to a particular thought tribe, put some effort into finding the facts for yourself.
For example, there is a divide as to the constitutionality of former President Trump's second impeachment. Below is what you will find in the Constitution of the United States of America.
The Constitution, Article II, Section 4:
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Think deeply and decide for yourself. Perhaps it will be the start of a wonderful new habit.
Throughout my life, I was regularly reminded to spend my time wisely. As if time accrued like money in a savings account, and we can disperse it as we see fit. In reality, time is continuously moving and is gone as quickly as it comes. It is out of our grasp. Time is simply the relative measurement of our planet orbiting our sun.
Metaphorically, I just completed the last chapter in the second installment of my life, the working years. But before I closed the cover to place it on the shelf next to book one, I paused to reflect on my forty-three-year career and answer the question, what are the key lessons needed to write the last installment of my trilogy?
With retirement now within a handful of days, many coworkers have been stopping me and congratulating me, and wishing me well in the next chapter of life. However, it is not lost upon me that it is just not me that is retiring. It is a husband and wife team that is shifting from one way of life to the next.
You see, my wife has performed the harder task of managing our household over the last few decades, enabling me to focus on managing the middle for outside teams. And she has done a bang-up job.
So, now the task at hand is to divvy up the chores to enable each of us to enjoy personal and common interests as we close one door and open the next.
In the course of a conversation, one can quickly become entrapped in discussing the strengths and weaknesses of those not present. This type of behavior solves nothing and leads to damaging the character of those partaking.
Before New Years', recognizing the need to find the sweet spot in what I choose to do and say, I selected temperance as my 2021 intent word. A month in, I can say I have made progress in some things, especially in the things already on my list – what I eat, how much I exercise, and how I communicate concerns.
As expected, further obstacles are uncovered during the pursuit of better. And the one I wish to tackle is my lack of writing and publishing to this blog. Hell, it's been over two weeks!
It's not for lack of ideas. It's the lack of having a process to capture them before they vanish from memory.
So, as a means to overcome, I will restart a practice that should already be in my self-improvement arsenal – writing down my daily reflections.
Today, I awoke to a new beginning. On this first day of my sixty-second year on this tiny blue planet within a vast universe, I sense my life is restarting.
Although I have been pursuing living a more purposeful life over the last couple of years, the soul and energy-robbing responsibilities of a job within corporate America is the obstacle to the good life. And if I may quote Marcus Aurelius,
“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”
Or, the Obstacle is the Way!
So, on this day, I shall finalize and submit my letter of retirement and devote full attention to beginning the next chapter of life.
Christmas has past and that arbitrary timeline called the New Year is fast approaching. Like past years, along with millions worldwide, I’m reflecting on the good, the bad, and the ugly of 2020 and anticipating this next year’s potential.