I’ve had the most interesting encounters while recovering from my recent flood disaster. The other day I took my work crew of two out to lunch at Kitty’s. Last week, I was introduced to this Magnolia family restaurant by my third electrician Rick (who eats for free!). Anyway, sitting next to us, I recognized the fellas who started the aquaponics business around the corner from my place. Without an invitation, I moved my chair around on our spacious table so I could better talk to them. I started by telling them I remembered chatting with them, each of the two, about this same time last year while visiting their newly opened business. My wife and I bought their vegetables and toured their facility from dark catfish tank to green floating gardens. I told them we were flooded last May and were now fixing up. I knew their aquaponics business had been closed for almost a year and wondered what was happening with their endeavor.
Just when you least expect it, just what you least expect.
In turns out that they were flooded, too. An aquaponics business can flood too, you know. They said that they were selling that section of their property, which I knew because of the realtor sign out front. For flooding reasons, they were moving the business to higher ground on an adjacent tract of land. Hey, that’s my idea. All new businesses have their startup problems, duh. These guys have had theirs. Neither had been shy in, our prior conversations, in talking about their foray into mistakes and calamities…but only the big ones. If there was a big decision to be made, they made it – and quickly. With disastrous results. Either immediately or when Mother Nature came to town with her fearsome and weathered spring baggage. Expensive and continual bad decisions they be. Torrential and devastating weather hammering poorly designed facilities on a vulnerable site. They had it all when it came to misfortune. So what should they do? They have decided to start up again on higher dryer ground with greater faith with less reason to believe that the Lord would guide them – this time. But the biggest change is that they are going to offer to spread the grief. They are going to market custom aquaponics packages for the general populous . It’s not just all in the family any more. This spread the grief idea, they tell me, was always part of their business plan. The wealth part is still more aspiration than inspiration.
There’s a fool born every minute.
I couldn’t help but be reminded of my own experience with another entrepreneur who was determined to “Never Give Up”. The Great Persecutor – as I like to now characterize him – had gone through life, my life and others, abusing and harming and blaming his problems on each of his victims, from siblings to parents to spouses to children to business associates. Have I left anyone out? As a lifestyle, this behavior must have been fulfilling to him short term, but had left him with no long term relationships. When he literally fell victim to fate, bad luck, or his own irresponsible behavior he, for a short intermission, acknowledged to himself that he might be doing something wrong. But as soon as he was healed, literally, either physically or emotionally, he was back to his old blame game. How could he change his behavior so that he would be happy without giving up on the persecution of all others? He found the answer – in one of those rare down times of self pity where he was seeking guidance out of his latest misfortune – when he employed a life coach. That life coach got him going and soon he was a dynamo of destruction delivered. Except that soon he realized he was better and more capable than that stupid life altering life coach. That was it, the missing piece in his life’s perverted puzzle. He would keep all of his previous behavior PLUS add life coach to his resume. Harshly telling individuals what they were doing wrong while expensively charging by the session would seem to be the up and coming profession for someone who looked down on everyone. He was an expert, a lifelong expert, on persecuting the weak and this was the resolution to all of his raw talent. With this fabricated, though corrupted, Life Coach idea, his bad temperament could be parlayed into good dollars by simple marketing. His much maligned mama, while helplessly watching her oldest son pulverize the younger ones, always knew he would become some thing. He’d be a Life Coach.
Some day you’ll find a way to make your natural tendencies pay.
With all of the cynicism I can muster, I reflect on these two stories of others trudging on in spite of seeming congenital failure. If at first you don’t succeed, package your failure and market it as success. Rather than doing it the way I have done . I have failed myself, others, and the world on many occasions, with a little help from my friends, family and Mother Naturem occasionally. However, on this occasion, the difference between me and the born again Aquapond-ers and the died in the wool-over-your-eyes Life Coachers is that I recognized some of my limitations (without recognizing all of them) and also recognized the long learning curve of self-transformation and its elongated timeline (without ever accurately predicting its length).
Aptitude can get you a career but it doesn’t necessarily get you a life.
Never Give Up by necessity, sometimes becomes Never Again.
Sometimes the safety of the known keeps you from knowing.
Letting Go allows Life to Go On.
If the hardest thing in life is to see one’s faults, than the easiest thing to do is to see where life is hardest.
Becoming becomes righting wrongs.
The dead season of winter silently remembers the seasons past in order that a new spring will bring full growth for life’s next harvest.
Life repeats itself so you don’t have to.