At the bottom of this circular I picked up was one line. The exact wording is lost to me but the gist was ‘Only you can choose to be happy’. It was ironic as it was attached to a religious pamphlet, something you would expect to say ‘God will decide your will, trust in Him’. But I think it is telling of the fact that there is also something called ‘free will’ and you can only lead someone so far and then it’s up to them and good on whoever put that on there acknowledging that.
I went on this management/leadership training thing for half a morning that seemed intent on reinforcing the same principles. That we have to choose how we want to lead our lives. That saying ‘no’ is an acceptable response, that you have to pick your priorities. If I had read this in one of those self help books with the big serif sentences on the cover picked out in white or black on a lilac or white background, screaming an evangelical pick me, I would have gone, ‘yeah right’.
But that is mostly because I am inherently lazy. I’m incredibly bad at correspondence courses. I struggle to relate to some remote sentence out of a book, I really do require the person in front of me pointing out the obvious.
But what is even more motivating is MEETING someone who seems to have gotten it right. Of course those people exist but there just aren’t enough of them in the world. I walked back from my fitness class with one of the girls who pointed out our team captain was completely crazy but good fun and clearly comfortable in his circumstances although neither of us wanted to abuse that. (He’d basically spent the previous Saturday driving people around and paid off a number of small items semi involving the group and refusing to accept payment).
I had to agree with the girl – that where he was, a decade down the line from where I am -is where I would want to be. My very first conversation with him involved him saying he was fortunate enough that he could start work after 10am, allowing him to drop his children off at school and even fluff around a bit if he wanted to. It’s not to say he doesn’t work very long hours after the late start but that he had the freedom to do so.
In the one and a half hour drive he mentioned how even if he won the lottery today, he’d probably just carry on doing what he did now as he loved his job.
He probably would too. And carry on organising little social outings while balancing family, friends and an inordinate number of holidays, most of which he seems to be able to action by himself without the help of a PA. (I get the feeling his long suffering wife helps with the family end but I doubt was involved when he was emailing and calling all sorts of random people to organise the car ride, the event at the end etc)
It’s a bit like watching a slighly over excited terrier gambolling along. You can only really be cheered on by watching him but you do think THIS is a physical embodiment of what the self help books and courses try to mean.