Friday, December 17, 2010

Interdependence and Action

Sometimes there are days where you have just had it - where you get to your place of business or your place of home, look at the chaos and piles and say "That's enough!" You roll up your sleeves and start actively working - following up on items, sending e-mails, holding others accountable, putting things away instead of having them pile up.

And then you are suddenly overwhelmed - for all the thing you got done, there are another 10 that did not get done. Many of the things you could get done are now held up on the desks of others, who have their own set of priorities (and you are not on them). The piles themselves have apparently reproduced into new piles of other things, some of which you can deal with but much which you cannot.

Suddenly, you realize, it seems you've not made any progress on anything.

This is one of the failures of the interdependence ethic which is so prevalent throughout our society (at least). It relies on everybody having the same level of commitment and putting in the same level of effort. And often it's dependent on power: "our" goals as a team or group are most often those of the highest level of authority on that team. So often our "interdependent" efforts are largely made up of independent people trying meet their own goals, objectives and lives.

There is, however, at least area where this is not true: working on your own initiatives.

Your goals, your dreams, your aspirations may require the input of others but they are not dependent on them (if they are, you'd better rethink them). For these things that are important to you, you have the power to move them forward. You know what needs to be done - and if you can't work on item one, you will know items two through four which can be worked on. The speed at which advance on these is dependent on the effort that you put into it, not held up waiting for the comments or reviews or actions of others.

In Iaido, we may all learn the same waza; however my skill in that waza directly reflects the effort I put in, not what others put in. Simply put, the effort will indicate and equal the output - and there is always one more waza to do, one more cut to make. The question is: How quickly do I desire to get better?

Frustrated? Feeling impotent about your life? Find the things that are important to you, that motivate you, that thrill your soul. Take action on those. If you continue to make progress in these, perhaps you will find that in the end you will become less dependent those things which require the actions of others to make progress.

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