Tactics for Tough Times: Live with the Long View

Our biggest fear shouldn’t be failure but succeeding at something that doesn’t really matter…

Dog tracks get the greyhounds to race by using a mechanical rabbit called “Rusty”. It is electronically released and propelled along a track to entice the dogs to chase and race.
Every once in a while a greyhound will catch Rusty. That dog will never race again. Why? I think they just found out they have been “duped”; chasing after something that isn’t real.

What might you be chasing that isn’t real? Answering that question requires us to take a skybox view of our lives and look down on the race we are running; to see the totality of our lives from a higher, more expansive perspective. Supposedly the last words Steve Jobs the venerable founder of Apple uttered were, “Oh wow, Oh wow, Oh wow.” I’m speculating of course, but might it be that he saw or sensed something that was far beyond his imagining? I believe there was.

Life is a wonderfully enigmatic reality. To embrace its mystery everyday is critical to the legacy we leave. What is it that truly gets you out of bed in the morning? What is it that compels your work life and gives meaning to your relationships? It’s having a ‘big why’.

A big why infiltrates our lives with meaning and purpose. It is the expansive skybox view communicated in a bumper sticker statement.  Bumper stickers are philosophical statements boiled down to the simplicity of a statement. They communicate to others what is going on in your heart and mind. One I saw recently is, “There is no gravity, the earth sucks”. That’s a philosophy alright, and not very hopeful one at that.

Are you able to boil down what you are really all about into a bumper sticker statement? Narrowing it down forces us to be judicious in our selection and precise in our thoughts of what is truly important. It also makes it easy for others to know what we are really all about.  My bumper sticker statement, my big why for getting out of bed in the morning is, “To re-imagine a hope-filled world”.  It informs everything I do. It helps me get through depressive episodes, it’s what I want for my children. A friend of mine’s is “Live Well by Doing Good”.

To live with the long view broadens our perspective and invigorates our actions. In this time of chaotic and massive change, we need a significant big why to make the most of our lives right here right now.

What is your big why? Comment and give it to us in a bumper sticker statement.


Posted in Communication, Core Abilities, Imagination
3 comments on “Tactics for Tough Times: Live with the Long View
  1. “Our biggest fear shouldn’t be failure but succeeding at something that doesn’t really matter…”

    Man, that’s powerful. This is a great reminder to take a look at what I’m striving for – see if it’s something that’s really worth achieving in the end. Good stuff.

  2. Kelly says:

    Thanks for this post. I just searched for the first line (as it was something I heard yesterday) and your post came up. Couldn’t agree with you more, but am struggling to make it work in my life.

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Jeff Vankooten is a speaker and author focusing on the power of resilience to effectively engage the challenges of change. He helps leaders, businesses, and organizations develop the skills necessary to thrive in an increasingly unpredictable business environment.
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