Daily Stoic – March 6

10 Mar

After reading about VADM Stockdale’s experiences during the Vietnam conflict and how influential the Stoic philosophers were to his survival while a prisoner of war, I wanted to learn about this philosophy.  Consequently, one resolution for 2017 was to contemplate the daily meditations presented in

Daily Stoic

For March 6, the theme was “Don’t Tell Yourself Stories.”  I won’t repeat it here.  Get the book and read it yourself.  However, it did strike a note … actually three.

Admittedly, I’m a wallflower.  Oh, I have Walter Mitty dreams (thank you James Thurber). Thankfully, I don’t share them frequently although a couple of success stories while serving as a Navy JAG do come to mind.  I’ll practice the Stoic philosophy and keep it to myself.

I changed barbers because of his stories.  Whenever I had an appointment, I could count on hearing his tales at least twice: once while waiting and again while having my haircut.   His stories always took the same form — “but for” his actions something wouldn’t have happened.

  • He “saved” criminals by starting a Christian ministry for those in the County Jail.
  • He single-handedly managed all aspects the annual Lion’s Club annual auction.
  • He organized the Fourth of July parade and, through his efforts to fly the flag, brought patriotism back to the community.

Reality?

I have two friends who know everyone. Just mention a project and they know an expert.  Just mention a purchase and they can name people who have the item at a price lower than whatever I paid.  Just mention a genealogy project and they have or can easily access the needed information.  Yet, when asked for the experts or the folks having the item or the information, it disappears.

Reality or just stories?

Finally, I had an employer who always imagined the institution was on the cutting edge.

  • If the issue was student retention, it was always other institutions, not us even though the department meetings consistently stressed the need to retain students.
  • If the issue was acceptance of academic credits, it was always other institutions that didn’t, not us although the nursing department routinely refused to accept military training because there was no evidence that the student could make a bed.
  • If the issue was job preparation, it was always other institutions that didn’t, not us; however, our advisory committees were filled with graduates who approved what they had been taught.

Yet, if the objective data was any measure, then each of these areas needed attention.

Just stories?

This meditation reinforced the concept that some folks, and institutions, can sometimes just be blissfully ignorant.  They become obsessed with their own stories … their own fantasies.  I shall strive to focus on what’s real.

Just think about it!

 

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