©Robert J. Harris PhD July 7, 2022
I was compelled to sketch this little story ten years ago when I had just completed surgical replacement of both knees a year apart and was about to move to Baltimore to be near my famous Jazz Musician Son while I focused on writing fulltime at 71 years old. I just had a need to process a very busy long life on the cutting edge of profound change (internal and external). I had spent a lifetime “out of the box” learning, creating, thinking and writing for CEOs of large and small companies alike to help them stay a step ahead of the future, whose pace was rapidly accelerating. Now, I was faced with doing the same for me as my “last client.” The “good news” was the same as the “bad news: “I could do whatever I wanted.”
I would be living that old joke: “A man who has himself as a client is a fool?
(To be LIVE or to beLEAVE may be the most basic choices of existence!)
Recognizing this dilemma, which I had seen countless times in client companies, I was forewarned of the difficulty ahead of me. Then it occurred to me that I could do what had been so successful for me for all my life: Create a richly imagined Reality of my powerful CEO client’s world, including, CEO and employees focusing on how they were trying to fit into the rapidly changing worldof 8 billion people. It started with him or her. I focused on each client’s company ACTIONS first, kept plugged into world changes, and then focused on staff TALK second to understand their worldview without pre-judgement. Finally, I had to know and understand what their aspirations were and figure out how I could help them meet their needs.
Could I do all that for myself? That is my story. It starts with a random insight ten years ago that persists: Football, or sports in general, going back before when humans first walked on two legs a million years ago, is a metaphor for LIFE’s fundamental existence. Here is the edited conversation that popped into my head in 2012.
Football: Metaphor for Life
Hey, Robert, I have a super insight for you at this moment.
Leave me alone, I am watching the NFL playoffs.
Are you sure that’s what you want to do?.
She hissed seductively like the snake from Eden to focus my attention on her.
Here it is: You are just watching someone else’s work-life, not living your life.
(Little bitch; she made me cuss her angrily so I put my private thoughts in black italics type to keep her out of my head for a while.)
“We have important work to do,” she murmured; fun work that you love to do that makes you happy. Come join me for a virtual drink; let’s have some fun.“
Shit! Andrew Luck just fumbled the ball, the Ravens recovered and now a boring TV commercial. Well, at least I successfully ignored her this time. I will get a little glass of wine.
Come to think of it… (EXCUSE ME HERE! I WAS SPEAKING!) –— she is always there coiled up in the back of my mind trying to get my attention. She never sleeps and stays ready in her seductive pose offering exciting glimpses of new feelings and understandings of Reality by providing me access to her magical world of possibilities. She always holds out the promise to open it wide for me if only I will come out and play. I am hardly the first to yield to her charms. Shakespeare’s first draft of his most famous line ever may have been:
“To play or not to play, that is the question! “
Actually Robert, that was his first draft; not bad for a 15th century innovator, but I got him to clean it up for posterity. To be fair, Shakespeare also wanted to avoid being laughed at, so he changed the word “play” to the word “be,” because after all, he was trying to write a bleeping famous PLAY, for God’s sake, when nobody knew what a ‘Play’ was!” Just shut up; I get it.
Damn it, you did it again and I wasn’t even aware of it! A brief gap in a TV commercial is all it took for you to worm your way back into my consciousness.
Excuse me! I know you are just trying to be left alone to watch a stupid football game. (She is a subtle, but very powerful force that never stops.) I am proud to say that I am ultimately the source of your pain and pleasure, and their mutual conflicts: any money you have ever made or lost; the diversity of your many works, bad to good, in life; your emotional experiences; your loved ones, friends and enemies; endless rivers of excitement and sadness; what you give to and receive from others; and most importantly, I am here as your personal guide to help steer your life’s path. So, PAY ATTEMTION!
Ok, Ok!!! You are the Mistress in My Mind. Your name is Curiosity. I will call you “Curio.”
Shit! Now it’s is halftime with a score of 10 to 6 and I have no idea how it happened. Bad, bad Curio; I will always love you and can never leave you for long, but you must give me some space for earthly stuff from time to time. So go seduce another soul for a while. I know I am not your only one. (That’s ok; You are NOT my only fantasy guide!”)
(Curio whispering reassuringly) “Chill Robert; the score is still 10 to 6, with the Colts driving at their 30-yard line,” (She continued with a mischievous grin.) I called on others from my realm to keep the game boring for you while you did this little piece of writing, which I triggered for you, by the way; You know…strange loops, tangled with other strange loops, tangled to infinity and back! Sorry. I am sharing too much. I’m just saying “Hang in there Bucko.” You will Need and Have all of us when the time is right.
(to be continued)