Friday night is finally here. As usual, I am exhausted and completely drained and feel the need to write a few words to get my energy back. First, earlier this week my son taught me another lesson already learned many times. After much thought he decided to spend his entire savings of almost $100 on a Lego Star Wars kit with over 900 pieces. The cashier at the store counted quite a few pennies, dimes, nickels, quarters before handing over the kit to him. On the way home, I asked him how long he had been saving this money. “Three years!” he answered without hesitation. He had built many kits but this one had more pieces than all others. With fascination and excitement he started on this new project just as soon as he could but not long after displayed much frustration and stress from being unable to find the right pieces in the oddly shaped multicolored piles in front of him. I “helped” him by sorting the pieces in piles by color but that helped little and he grew even more frustrated in the process. I checked today and he had completed three quarters of the project. Stress and discomfort are relative to our capabilities and the complexity of the challenges we face. I remind myself – that which was a challenge yesterday is no longer a challenge today and that which is a challenge today will not be a challenge tomorrow.
The second thought I wanted to share is the total frustration I sometimes feel regarding many world events, American and Armenian politics, history and the present but the discomfort and the stress come from my inability to fix the problems and worst of all my inability in some cases to determine the best solution as in most cases all the solutions along a spectrum have been tried throughout history and have failed for different reasons. This is an issue from global politics, to local town and workplace issues, to family issues, and internal conflicts. The chess game is known, has been played before but one is unable to come up with a new creative set of moves and even if s/he can make the game changer move someone will invariably lose. I find that there is urge to give up or care less just because I cannot fix the problem. I also notice that sometimes the problem doesn’t bother me so much for me to drop all else and devote a life to it which is what I believe it would take in most cases. Multiply these personal views by hundreds, thousands, and millions of people and you have the true nature of our problems. One person’s contribution or lack of contribution makes little difference but when we all feel unable to make a meaningful difference, we end up watching TV or writing a blog post instead. I admire people who despite the above challenges wake up in the morning and devote their days to making this world a better place for the rest of us. In the roles given to me I do my best.
The third thought I wanted to share is that of the final outcome always being determined by the series of very small insignificant unimportant decisions and steps along the way. We tend to want to find one collosal mistake or one great step that changes the course of history of one life or the world. We want to place blame on one person or a group of people or one of the decisions or one set of actions which we label as the crucial ones. Even in making/losing money, we are more excited by big bangs and get-rich-quick thoughts rather than by pennies saved and earned and not lost in our daily lives. The great news is that aside from major accidents and other environmental issues, most missteps can be corrected, most issues can be overcome with small incremental steps in the right direction. Failed products and projects do not fail overnight. Booms and busts are not overnight events. Children do not excel or fail because of one thing we did or didn’t do. It is that constant steam of decisions, actions, events, stimuli and responses that determines what we have, what we do, and what we are.