Take Charge

“When we have begun to take charge of our
lives, to own ourselves, there is no longer any need to ask permission of
someone.” — George O’Neil

Don’t shirk or avoid responsibility. Do everything you have
agreed to do to the best of your ability. The underlying principle here is
this. All of your internal systems and processes are on high alert and active.
You are much sharper and better able to perceive and manage things, when you
are giving your best effort.

F’ing Has A Lot Going For It

“Whoever one is, and wherever one is, one
is always in the wrong if one is rude.” — Maurice Baring

You definitely don’t want to be rude and undoubtedly avoid what
you have come to think of as rude or vulgar behavior. Eric Hoffer punctuated
the point when he said, “Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.” You
are neither weak nor an imitation of anyone or anything else. You are
definitely your own person and are most certainly not rude. However, there is a
little tip that may come in handy now and then, even for a classy person like
you. It expands your options a tad as you keep your commitment not to be rude
or vulgar.

Have you heard people talking whose vocabulary seems to be so
adjective challenged that everything is F’ing this or F’ing that? It can get to
where it’s hard to tell whether F’ing is a good quality or bad. Of course,
F’ing is also sometimes a verb which one presumes refers to desirable activity
but even that isn’t always clear. The problem here is that F’ing has become a
word that people who are even slightly literate carefully avoid, along with
staying away from people who include it in their active vocabularies. This is
unfortunate since F’ing actually has a lot going for it if managed
thoughtfully. You are skeptical? Read on.

Do you ever have trouble sticking to your personal priorities?
Even worse, do you sometimes have trouble knowing what your priorities are? The
next time you find yourself struggling with what’s important or what deserves
your attention, remember that it’s only a temporary memory laps. You have just
forgotten about F’ing.

F1 = Family: What’s that you are saying? You have higher
priorities than your family? OK. You must be way into money or power or both.
If so, you definitely have no interest in this kind of F’ing. Your kind of
F’ing is quite another approach to success. Let’s hope that you are very good
at it and that the next person you meet isn’t better at it than you. If they
are, you are likely to learn a tough lesson that you are unlikely to enjoy.
Nonetheless, it’s your choice. The rest of us will stick with F1 = Family.

F2 = Friends: Let’s restrict friends to people you could call in
the middle of the night and ask them if they will do you a big favor. Sure, you
can call anyone whenever you feel like it. Friends are the ones who don’t ask
if you have lost your F’ing mind. Actually, they don’t ask anything. They just
say, “Sure,” and wait to see what you need. Do you have a friend like that? If
so, thank your lucky stars and be sure you never do anything to jeopardize such
a special relationship. You have hit the people jackpot.

F3 = Fun: There you go again, mumbling in the middle of this
essay. You are too busy for fun. You have too much responsibility to take time
out for fun. You are going to have lots of fun just as soon as you are
successful. You have your priorities and having fun isn’t one of them. Oh well,
it seemed worth mentioning. While you are keeping your shoulder to the grind
stone, the rest of us are going to take a little time now and then for some fun.
You never know. You might notice us and decide that it looks like so much fun
that you will give it a try, if you remember how. Let’s hope that you still
remember how once you are finished becoming successful and that you are still
up to it whenever that day finally arrives.

F4 = Food: Yes, eating healthy is important and we are what we
eat and there isn’t any free lunch. But since you need to eat, you might as
well make it a priority. It’s better than Fasting which is the only other “F”
word in that category. What is the absolute best snack in the world? No, don’t
worry about regular, every day food. You will work enough of that in without
making it a priority. Think about a great snack, a totally terrific snack, the
perfect snack. Do you have it in mind? Can you taste it? Is it at the center of
your attention? OK. That’s called prioritizing. How will you get that snack for
yourself? That’s called planning. Now, make that snack yours. That’s called
performance. There you go. Prioritize, Plan, Perform. That snack is yours.

F5 = Faith: This one is easy. Have faith in your family. Have
faith in your friends. Have fun while you prioritize, plan, and perform. Most
importantly, have faith in you. If you do, you are assuredly going to be an
F’ing success. Now just how cool is that? Sure, it’s F’ing cool.

Just A Little Gossiping

“I resolve to speak ill of no man whatever,
not even in a matter of truth; but rather by some means excuse the faults I
hear charged upon others, and upon proper occasions speak all the good I know
of everybody.” — Benjamin Franklin

Do you really believe that Franklin
didn’t get into a little gossiping now and then? Well, he actually only
resolved to stick to the high road. He didn’t promise to do it. That’s just as
well, since he didn’t have much trust in anyone. For example, he said, “If you
would keep your secret from an enemy, tell it not to a friend;” and “Three may
keep a secret, if two of them are dead.” It’s little wonder that he liked to
play it close to the vest when it came to other people. Speaking ill of no man,
excusing faults, and speaking all the good he knew was a very clever way to
avoid becoming the focus of others’ gossip. Franklin may have picked up the strategy from
Virgil who said, “Fama, malum quo non aliud velocius ullum, mobilitate viget,
viresque acquirit eundo.” If you are a tad rusty with your Latin, that means,
“Report, that which no evil thing of any kind is more swift, increases with
travel and gains strength by its progress.”

With authorities the like of Virgil and Franklin admonishing you
not to gossip, it’s in your interest to know as much as you can about gossiping
and gossips. For instance, Walter Winchell clarified one of the gossip’s core
strategies when he said, “Gossip is the art of saying nothing in a way that
leaves practically nothing unsaid.” The super stars pursue their art through inference
and innuendo, not facts or plain talk. Bertrand Russell added his two cents
worth with, “No one gossips about other people’s secret virtues.” When it comes
to gossiping, if you don’t have something good to say, it’s your turn.

Of course, Virgil and Franklin aren’t the only high road folks
who advised against gossiping. Edward Wallis Hoch said, “There is so much good
in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it hardly becomes
any of us to talk about the rest of us.” If that weren’t the final word on it,
a Jewish proverb says, “What you don’t see with your eyes, don’t witness with
your mouth.” No, that’s still not the end of the unsolicited advice. A Chinese
proverb says, “What is told in the ear of a man is often heard 100 miles away;”
and a Spanish proverb says, “Whoever gossips to you will gossip about you.” All
of the high road wisdom not withstanding, don’t forget what Wendell Phillips
knew to be true, “The Puritan’s idea of hell is a place where everybody has to
mind his own business.”

All You’ve Got

“Don’t compromise yourself. You are all
you’ve got.” — Janis Joplin

Adjust to people and circumstances without compromising your
values, beliefs, personal style, position, or self-perceived status. You don’t
expect others to adjust to or accommodate to you, unnecessarily,
inappropriately, or unilaterally. You remain who you are regardless of who is
present or the specific situation but intentionally adjust your behavior and
demeanor so that others can perceive and relate to you in positive and useful
ways. In this way, you avoid any extraneous emotional or social clutter, thus
maximizing the opportunity available with each person and in each situation.

1: Perspectives on This & That

two men ever judged alike of the same thing, and it is impossible to find two
opinions exactly similar, not only in different men but in the same men at
different times.” — Michel Montaigne