Blogpost, self-reliance

Someone Is Coming After You!

It sounds almost sinister if you put the wrong inflection in your voice when you say it. Horror movies find a way to make this idea last for almost two hours. A series of jump scares and near misses that bring the hairs on our arms to stand up straight. The panic that comes with the idea of some shrouded figure who is following our footsteps is almost palpable. But what if they meant you no harm? What if they didn’t even know that you existed? They were just someone who is coming after you. When you are gone, they will show up and they mean you no ill will. If they are not coming in order to hurt you, would you be willing to do the little things that will keep you from hurting them?

This thought experiment was brought on because I tripped on a dumbbell in our gym yesterday. I was the first person to enter in the morning. The lights were off and the weight was right in front of the door. It ended up ok. I didn’t end up on the ground or impaling myself on any of the nearby metal. The person, who left that weight there, just forgot that “someone is coming after you.” They gave no thought to the fact that I would be there in the early morning and could have gotten truly hurt. No malice, just indifference.

At this point in history, we seem to have forgotten that this moment that we are living in was created by a lot of people who knew someone was coming after them. No doubt mistakes were made and there was carelessness on their part at times. The recognition of the future was key. The future seems to be coming so fast that it has pressed itself directly onto the present. We seem to have trouble remembering the next people who will be here. Are we leaving something behind that they will actually want or be able to use? Or have we decided that our moment is so important that leaving a mess is our right?

More than likely, it is in our best interest to remember the people that are coming after us. We should be leaving them gifts to find rather than messes to clean up. It’s a force multiplier if everyone does it. The good will moving forward allows for others to be “infected” by it. If each of us is able to see the gifts from those before and remember that someone is coming after us, then the world becomes a better place to live on a regular basis. It’s not our moment that is most important. It is just most important to us. Giving a portion of it to the people coming after shows respect to the people who built our present.

They are coming! But it doesn’t need to be scary for either of us.

Pete

Uncategorized

Dad’s Maxim

Long before Maxim was a magazine with pictures of beautiful women and articles for young men, it was a statement of general truth or rule of conduct.  My dad had a maxim and I don’t believe that I am exaggerating when I say that in my life I’ve heard it thousands of times.  While I’ve only said it hundreds of times, I’ve applied it regularly enough that I know its truth.  “Be nice to people, it doesn’t cost you anything but it can get you everything.”

This statement has been a major ingredient in many of the decisions that I’ve made throughout my life.  Although we live in a world where it is widely believed that “nice guys finish last”, I’ve never regretted my decision to follow this ideal.  The only issue that I have with the statement is that some people tend to focus too heavily on the last part.

The key to the world is give and take: exchange.  We live in a world that is based on currencies and they are exchanged regularly.  Some currencies are physical, like money or products.  Some currencies are emotional like love and respect.  Since most of our thoughts on exchange revolve around purchases, we want instantaneous results when we give out a currency.  This is a system that we understand in the physical world.  The problem is that in many of the invisible currencies, exchanges are not direct.  So people, who were not raised by my father, may read this statement expecting that their niceness will be rewarded soon after it is given.

The thing that I learned by seeing the application and not just listening to the words was that you need to be willing to give with no thought to receiving.  I would almost cut off the last part of the saying but no one does anything without a reason.  My belief in the eventual payoff or karma of my present actions is a necessity.  Although I never know how or when I’ll see my generosity repaid, my experience tells me that it will be paid back in greater quantities than I gave.