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Lost, In A Lost World©

Bob Dare

September 2016

The song title above was made popular in the late 1960s by the Moody Blues. The lyrics tell of the of troubled times, of the violence and unrest that the World was experiencing and of the trepidation associated with being lost, in a lost world.

The thought occurred to me that many of us may feel today that we are lost, in a lost world. Do you? It is so easy today to become Chicken Little and declare that the sky is falling. But is it? Are the significant events of today any more traumatic to us now, than the significant events were to those in times past?

No doubt that each of us can evaluate the current events against our personal values and conclude that there is "trouble in River City", but that is old and continuing news that will survive each of us. Life is one doggone crucible after another, some personal, some societal, some global. I read a lot of history and am always amazed that the World has survived the past events that it has. I am sure that often, those who lived through those many troubled times felt, lost, in a lost world.

Of course, there are differences between the past and present, one in particular, technology. Technology has shrunk our World in both time and space. We now see in real time, critical and sometimes horrific events that in the past took hours or even days to be reported. And we see it "on location", and we see it over, and over, and over again; and, depending on our points of view, we are able to select how those events are reported to us, inclusive of slanted and biased opinions and soundbites that in many ways distract us from the "news", and create a demand for instantaneous answers to questions requiring facts; facts that require time before any accurate answer can be rendered. Many of us who served in the military understand that, "the first report is always incomplete and inaccurate." The late William Manchester, one of our great historians, said that history written prior to 25 years following any event is normally premature and usually contains errors and inaccuracies created by the injection of emotion and a lack of research and knowledge of facts.

In many ways we have allowed ourselves to become impatient and demanding for immediate resolution and accounting. We have access to data that are miles wide but only an inch deep. Many of us fall prey to the idea that for everything there is a rational and known cause, therefore there is an immediate and everlasting solution. And so, we become lost, in a lost world.

Would you like out? I don't have a patent on a map but there are three ideas I will share with you that guide me daily. Maybe these three ideas will help provide you with a "GPS" that you can use to journey out of your lost world.

First: Change the way you think! We choose to adopt our thoughts but, we are different from all other living beings in that we have choice. Quit thinking the worse. Spend just a little time in a history book and I am sure that you will learn that every era that mankind has survived was replete with crucibles and challenges and some were pretty gloomy and ugly. Give thought to the good that exists, there is plenty of it! If you choose to change the way you think, you will change the way that you are! Buck O'neil, one of the greatest baseball figures who played, played his entire career in the Negro Leagues. He was being interviewed late in his life by a young reporter. The two were attending a professional game so that the reporter could get Buck's perspective on the modern game. A foul ball was descending into a young fan's hands when an older fan jumped between the young person and the ball, caught it and went back to his seat. "Buck, did you see that?" asked the reporter, "That guy took that ball away from that little guy! That's horrible!" Buck replied, "Oh, maybe he has a little boy who will really appreciate the ball." The reporter thought for a moment then asked, "Well, if he has a little boy why isn't he here at the game?" Without hesitation Buck responded, "Maybe he is home sick and the ball will help him feel better." Try as people might, no one could get Buck O'Neil to think ill of others, particularly when he did not know the facts. We could all learn from that story.

Second: If you are going to use your energy, why not use on something that you can control, something for which you are informed and knowledgeable, something for which you can make a difference? It makes more sense to me to concentrate my efforts within my circle of influence, and although I allocate time in my circle of interest, I refuse to dwell there, because being informed, and being involved are two completely different things, but both require energy. I know very few people who have much influence within their circle of interest but spend an awful lot of their time focused there, while things within their circle of influence go neglected. I make it a point to listen to the news once during the day. I do so in the morning and then I am done for the day, the exception being if a major event occurs. I am very confident that should it come to pass that "the sky is falling" someone will let me know and even then, there will not be much I can do so I am certainly not going to burn precious energy thinking or worrying about it.

Third: Grab hold of some spirituality and don't let go! There is enormous research that concludes that even the biggest skeptics cannot rid themselves of the inner thought that there is something bigger than themselves and reaches beyond the here and now. It is inherent in us to question, to wonder and to contemplate. I think the first step in gaining spirituality is accepting that in of ourselves we are nothing. We need something much more than "me". Our journey through life is so miniscule but requires direction and meaning that alone, we cannot provide. Many people rely on their religion for their spirituality; for others it is found during personal mediation or deep thinking, for some it is one's "lighthouse of the soul" always searching, always there to guide and protect. Spirituality, a lot like faith, is the answer to "why" when there seems to be no other answer; it allows one to weather the storms of life and grow from each experience; it provides that inner peace that we all desire. Spirituality allows us to survive our crucibles and be better rather than bitter.

Being lost, in a lost world is a choice. You do not have to wander without hope or optimism. Begin today to find a route to a better, happier you. Life is too short to not enjoy Its blessings and bounties. Make a decision to change today, and if you are one of many people who are not lost, help someone that is.

True Growth Takeaway: Spend your energy in your circle of influence; don't get distracted by things for which you have no control.

True Growth Journal Question: Am I lost, in a lost world? Why?

About the author: Bob Dare served 28 years in the United States Army. He held every noncommissioned officer leadership position culminating with his last three assignments as Command Sergeant Major for the 25th Infantry Division, United States Army Pacific Command and United States Army Forces Command. Bob is also an executive coach and facilitator for LWM III Consulting.

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