Most people guard and keep; they suppose that it is they themselves and what they identify with themselves that they are guarding and keeping, whereas what they are actually guarding and keeping is the system of reality in what they assume themselves to be. One can give nothing whatever without giving oneself – that is to say, risking oneself.
If one cannot risk oneself, then one is simply incapable of giving.
People who are happy but have little to no sense of meaning in their lives have the same [inflammatory response] as people who are responding to and enduring chronic adversity. …
Meaning was defined as an orientation to something bigger than the self.
Happiness was defined by feeling good. …
“Empty positive emotions are about as good for you for as adversity,” says Dr. Fredrickson. …
From the evidence of this study, it seems that feeling good is not enough. People need meaning to thrive. In the words of Carl Jung, “The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it.” Jung’s wisdom certainly seems to apply to our bodies, if not also to our hearts and our minds.
[Philosopher Hannah] Arendt concluded that evil in the modern world is done neither by monsters nor by bureaucrats, but by joiners.
That evil, Arendt argued, originates in the neediness of lonely, alienated bourgeois people who live lives so devoid of higher meaning that they give themselves fully to movements. It is the meaning [Adolf] Eichmann finds as part of the Nazi movement that leads him to do anything and sacrifice everything. Such joiners are not stupid; they are not robots. But they are thoughtless in the sense that they abandon their independence, their capacity to think for themselves, and instead commit themselves absolutely to the fictional truth of the movement. It is futile to reason with them. They inhabit an echo chamber, having no interest in learning what others believe. It is this thoughtless commitment that permits idealists to imagine themselves as heroes and makes them willing to employ technological implements of violence in the name of saving the world.
When an employee or competitor fails to deliver what you require, start by inquiring into what he sees as the requirement, what he saw in the performance. Growth comes from seeing the world differently, not from being criticized or corrected.
My rejection letters from The New Yorker and Esquire are below. The Atlantic Monthly did not bother to respond.
Reading the story now, it seems much more righteous and judgmental than I admit to being today. I still love the rhythm of certain sentences, the cinematic clarity of the settings and some of the word play, for example, the double meaning of the title and the triple meaning of DRILLER. Comments are welcome, of course, but please remember that I am no longer the author. He has grown away.
He pressed his fingers to the throb in his temple. Not to ease the pain, but to focus on the rhythmic pressure and blot out his sister’s insistence. Her unpersuasive words sought to compensate with repetition and emotion what they lacked in evidence and reason.
“Please Randall, if ever family mattered it is really important now.” Yes, Rachel, he thought as she talked. I know family matters, that is exactly why I am sitting at your kitchen table on a weekday morning. Being part of this family is why his day had detonated from the usual historical exposition to this hysterical exposition. If he were not born a Fleischer, Randall would still be at his desk, working on his next book.
Randall had just finished his daily preparing-to-get-ready-to-start-to-write rituals and was about to fill the computer screen with historical in-sight when the telephone rang. The first surprise was that the caller was his literary agent. Franklin called for only two reasons, either to report that Randall’s latest book had been sold to a publisher or to report that the publisher was impatient to receive the final draft of Randall’s latest book. Since Errors of Democracy had been purchased only three months ago, he could not imagine a reason for this interruption.
“Rand, what is your father’s first name?”
“Otto. And my mother’s maiden name was Calabrisi.” Randall was playful. “Is this some kind of identity check, Franklin? Are you going to pass along a secret message to me?”
“I’m afraid its no secret, friend. Something terrible has happened. The news is filled with reports that your father was… Rand, do you know what your father did during the war?”
A key benefit of discussing important decisions with your executive coach is the exploration of alternative explanations for observed events. Managers, particularly business owners, have a very distinct point-of-view, a set of filters that leads them to interpret the data differently than their coach, employees, and customers might. A good executive coach will help the manager consider other possible meanings thereby making better decisions and communicating more effectively.
Here is fun example of how the position from which you view events can lead you to the wrong conclusion.