Original Thought · Self Improvement · Uncertainty

The Harder Way

If we embrace a bit of inconvenience, how do we benefit? Convenience is a set of stepping stones that easily and harmoniously lead to the same conclusion as yesterday and the day before. If I always accept the ‘easy’ way it becomes the only way. If I use my private vehicle as a convenient tool to avoid planning, avoid exercise, and avoid thinking I am blindly going where I always go. But if I consider my options, reflect on what I want to accomplish and make a plan, I can save time, gas, frustration and expand my mind rather than shrink it into tiny status quo blob.

We have stopped considering options. The mediocrity rut will lead to the grave without any personally generated excitement.
(Not to dwell on automobile use because the issue of defaulting into convenience is across all elements of our lives but where I live the truck is a god-given-over-my dead-body right and suggesting that there might be a different approach is worth your life and would be political suicide.)
Inconvenience wakes us up and conversely convenience keeps us inert and supposedly satisfied. Shake up your routine, walk when you could drive, mail when you could text, call instead of email, get up early, go to bed early, make a meal rather than takeout, think about a different way to use the next ten minutes and then do it.

Go out of your way to help a friend, a stranger, an enemy. Do something difficult and do something the hard way. If you are considering doing something and think ” that wouldn’t be to hard” or “that should be easy”, imagine a way to make the task more difficult, more perfect, and then take the high road.

I have discovered that the difference between good and great is a matter of inches but on far too many occasions, I am tempted and then convinced to be satisfied with good. When I go the extra inches, I feel better about myself and my performance and the interaction is remembered and appreciated.

Surprise yourself and others by going the extra inches and intentionally taking the hatd way.


Original Thought · Self Improvement

The Cutting Edge of Prosperity

Prosperity is a double edged sword when it is dispersed inequitably. Prosperity as defined by Dictionary.com relates to a successful, flourishing, or thriving condition, especially in financial respects; good fortune. From the Middle English prosperite < Old French < Latin prosperitās. Inequity by its impact reduces the ability to thrive for some/many. Where I live, in one of the most prosperous jurisdictions in North America, more than 10 % of the population (about 130,000 people) live below our national Low Income Cut Off (LICO). While LICO is a better measure of wealth distribution than poverty it does serve as a range proxy. For the 130,000 the impact of inequity is poverty, social exclusion and an eroding hope. Not having enough to meet your expenses limits any consideration of flourishing. The good fortune of a prosperous condition is bound in opportunity and as margin to make decisions diminishes so does the opportunity.

For the past 60 years we have been attempting to ‘level the playing field’ using the principles of universality, equality and privacy but what if those are now barriers rather than solutions? What if we need to disregard the sacred 3 in favor of equity; the quality of being fair or impartial and ensuring that everyone is getting what they need rather than what everyone is getting. Some might receive a bit more (of whatever resource we are discussing) and others might only need a tiny amount to get over the hurdle and on their way. In the universal and equal allocation of resources waste is created and dis-empowerment happens. If a virtuous circle of equity is created we can all assume that when or if we are in need that the system will have resources to accommodate. By using assets differently we can begin to empower recipients to take charge and control of their own lives and circumstances rather than becoming beholding to outside authorities.

I have worked on poverty reduction for 15 years and realize that some of what we planned and executed was immediately useful but generally limiting. We had x resources so we divided them by the number of registered recipients and then gave them their share that in almost every case wasn’t enough. If we had courageously chosen to divide the resources differently; equitably some may have gotten double and some nothing. But if that meant that some got over a hurdle and on to a different path that meant they required less or nothing in the future, we may have moved the needle. Rather than poverty reduction maybe I should have been working on prosperity creation.

In an imperfect world, we do the best that we can today and if we are sincere we evaluate and acknowledge our shortcomings and adapt.

Make Today Remarkable, by practicing equity and adapting,