Thursday, February 12, 2009

In the Waiting Line

Slow down, you move too fast.
You got to make the moment last.
Just trippin' down the cobblestone.
Lookin' for fun and feeling groovy.

I got a great email today describing all the things that we as children (my generation) survived:

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.
They took aspirin, ate bleu cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.
Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.
We  had no child-proof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.
As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts or air bags.
Riding in the back of a pick-up on a warm day was always a special treat.
We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.
We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank Kool-aid made with sugar, but we weren't overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.
No one was able to reach us all day. And we were OK.
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
We did not have Playstations, Nintendos, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVDs, no surround-sound or CDs, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or chatrooms.......
WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!
We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.
We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not poke out very many eyes.
We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!
Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!
These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!
The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

When I read this, I smiled because this was my childhood! I remember all the neighborhood kids meeting at the lightpost on the corner of one of the yards and we would play hide-and-go-seek. We would hide all over the neighborhood! And yes, when it was suppertime, our mothers would stand on the front yard and holler for us to come home. I remember travelling from Manitoba to Alberta for summer holidays and my brother and I would play in the back of the van. He would often sit on a little suitcase between the two front seats with a map and track where we were.

This does actually segue (kinda) into what I had planned on writing about before I got that email. Patience. The ability to wait for something. The ability to work for an extended period of time in order to reach a goal or accomplish a task. Technology has taught us many things but one of them is a lack of patience. Now come on, admit it, you've sat there grumbling because your computer is taking too long to boot up. There are more than 3 people in our line at the grocery store and the person at the front is pulling out all her coupons while the cashier calls for a price check on an obscure item that the employee sent to find it has to call twice to the cashier before finding the right item (and then of course a manager has to be called to do an override).

And don't even get me started about traffic!

One of the things I've noticed in my business especially is the need for people to feel instantly successful. Well, I've been doing this for over 5 years and I am successful but I didn't get my first big paycheque my first month in. It took me a while to build a business. It took time to develop a new set of skills. So I guess whatever it is that you are pursuing, make sure you give it time to develop and grow. To continue the flashback to my childhood, "Rome wasn't built in a day". Whether you are working on personal development, growing a new business, learning a new instrument, becoming a parent for the first time, remember that there is a learning curve and you need to allow yourself time to grow. You need to realize that when you hit a roadblock, you have choices: you can either turn around and go home, you can sit on the roadblock and pout, or you can look for a way to get past it. Without challenges, we will not grow. Trees, when hit by a storm, push their roots into the ground, making them stronger for the next storm. They grow because of the challenges.

So, next time you see your child drinking out of the dog's dish, grab the camera first. She will survive. And next time you feel stuck and out of ideas, call someone who's been there, or look for a creative solution and step out of your comfort zone.

"Go out on a limb. That's where all the fruit is."
--W. Rogers