One Small Step

Footsteps Into The Sky by ~oruwu
Footsteps Into The Sky by ~oruwu

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.

8 Comments

  1. You have great son!
    He had a goal and he alomos achieved i and the most important thing is that he definitely knew what he wanted… and we, the grown ups, usually don’t know for sure what we want to do with our lives…

  2. LD,

    Congratulations on your child! This strenght patience required to save money for 3 years will benefit him im all the areas of his life.

    My boy (son) is coming soon, in about 3 weeks, and I too have many concerns about the kind of world he is stepping in.

    Some of these days I was talking to a dear friend, about the problems we face today in the world and the problems that’s ahead, in store for a near future. It seems like that situation when you enter in a public transportation and the seats were already taken. They got there first. This is the feeling I have: the “evil” got there first. “They” had plenty of time to organize themselves into this world machine.

    But then we realized that it was not the case.

    Good people and bad people were always in the world. So, how things came to this point? I suggested that’s because the nature of the feeling we have while in good or evil. Think about it: what’s the feeling when someone is harmonized? It is soothing, calm, mild, relaxing – one wants just to sit in silence and contemplate what is.

    The feeling when someone is in a bad mood – say, planing a vengeance – is focused, competitive, organized, practical, step-by-step reasoning.

    Therefore “evil” people, by the very nature of they’re states of mind, ORGANIZE, while good people, harmonized, spiritual people, don’t.

    There are some bad things so pervasive in our modern world, so interconected, that one thinks: “How that hapent that the good ones didn’t see this coming?” The answer is twofold: it was implemented in increments and to SEE this coming would require an “evil” mind. To acknowledge it.

    So you see why I’m so bearish about human beings. The world is such that the evil guys seem to have always an uphand.

    Nevertheless, I pray for the Divine to see our sorrows and help us.

    Best Regards,

    Newton.

  3. Elly – may he (and his sister) turn out to be ten times better (along whatever good dimension chosen) than all ancestors (including myself) combined. That’s the greatest reward for any father (perhaps) including myself (especially).

    Newton – I had never thought of good and evil in that way. I can certainly understand what you mean and thank you very much for sharing you perspective. Perhaps the challenge is for good to take the same focused approach but maybe this is impossible. My optimistic and hopeful side says that which is good in us will prevail.

  4. Perhaps we don’t need to even think about changing the world, why should we? Instead it may be enough just to do a little bit better every day and perhaps inspire others by example. Nigel

  5. Nigel – I sat here thinking about your words for some time. By being here we change the world. Thinking about it or not in many cases determines the degree to which we change the world. Some folks actively increase the sphere of their influence while others choose to live a low impact life. I completely agree with you about being a living example for others and thank you for being one such example for me (albeit through your written word). I think my frustration mentioned above comes from recognition that politics is the process of impacting the larger issues and my unwillingness to go near that process beyond the passive ballot box.

  6. Legacy,

    I must admit that this is a fairly new development for me so I’m not a great example. I’ve spent years wanting to change things and feeling a similar sense of frustration. But recently I’ve started to see things in a different way.

    Here’s a hypothesis: Chess is a game in which we have a direct influence over the pattern of the board and can clearly change things with every move. With markets, on the other hand, we must ride them rather than fight them. So perhaps an interest in markets can give birth to a different approach to life, though in my case it has taken some time to show through.

    Nigel

  7. Let me see if I can try this over the next few months. There’s no question that the way we “see” things impacts our lives very much. Perhaps it’s a matter of adjusting the lens a bit.

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