Category: Blog

The Necessity of Interdependence

There are two kinds of men who never amount to much: those who cannot do what they are told, and those who can do nothing else. – Cyrus H. Curtis

One of the greatest challenges of living in a society (or a community, or family, or relationship) – with its myriad influences and normative (and sometimes stifling) forces – is learning how to live as a distinct individual, with internal freedoms and desires and to be a contributing member of the whole.

As Stephen Covey reminds us, there are different forms of dependence; some good and some not.

Codependence is the easy one. Whenever we derive our identity, security, or whatever, from something outside ourselves, we are co-dependent. We mistakenly believe that we cannot move-forward/be-happy/survive without something or someone.

Independence is nearly as tragic a state as it is seen as positive and empowered by many, but it’s really just a form of rebellion. It’s a way of disassociating from the World. Independence may lead to survival, but it’s a rather miserable existence compared to (what I consider the Ideal): Interdependence.

Interdependence is a approach that insists on self-reliance, yet recognizes – and nurtures – the value of community.

When you’re interdependent, you could exist on your own, but you recognize that your life would be so much more if you make the effort to be a contributing member of something larger than yourself.

Perhaps my riffing on the different dependencies is not – 100% – in keeping Mr. Curtis’ sentiment, but both his words and, I believe mine, are useful.

We need to hear, consider and integrate both.

Gifts and Inherent Duty

The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read. – Mark Twain

I may have blogged this quote before, but it bears repeating.

I believe our human lives are an amazing gift.

We have an amazing opportunity with our human bodies, brains and minds.

I will admit that I don’t always make the most of the gift that is my life.

But I am sure to circle back the Truth of it and renew my efforts to make good on the gift, and the possibilities (as many times as necessary… ).

One way to understand it is to look at how 2nd, 3rd, 4th – and so on – generation Americans waste the freedoms and opportunities that America offers (myself included… ).

When you look at what newly immigrated and naturalized citizens say and do upon getting the chance to live and work here, it’s amazing – and a stark contrast to how many (native-born) Americans live.

It’s almost, or sometimes, like what a dolphin might do if given a human brain and communication tools. I’m pretty sure the dolphin would live an amazing – and admirable – life with its new capacities and capabilities (while retaining its wonderful dolphin-ness).

Perhaps a more useful example is someone whose hearing is restored. While perhaps overwhelmed at first, they revel in the added dimension of experience that being able to hear confers.

My point (and I believe I have one… ) is that living in a free (albeit imperfect) country requires us to both enjoy our freedoms and (continually) earn them. We earn them by: being active and engaged citizens, helping others to rise up and employing our gifts and talents in the service of our goals, and the goals of our communities.

Just as there’s no point in being literate if we refuse to pick up a book and read, there’s no point in being free if we’re going to be lazy.

The *Real* Secret

Do a little more than you’re paid to. Give a little more than you have to. Try a little harder than you want to. Aim a little higher than you think possible, and give a lot of thanks to God for health, family, and friends. –  Art Linkletter

I am pretty sure that everyone has heard of the movie “The Secret” and it has been much pilloried. And, yes, “The Secret” was incomplete in a fundamental way.

But the real secret to living well and creating an authentic life is do and be a bit more each day.

Work a bit smarter at you job or business and create a bit more value. Your incremental efforts will, one day, yield exponential gains.

And be a bit more each day. A bit nicer. A bit more considerate. A bit more challenging to someone who is under-performing. A bit more encouraging to someone who is struggling. Just be a bit more like you would have others be unto you.

Your actions – even tiny, incremental steps– will return to you multifold.

The key is making a difference, every day.

Sure, there are huge transitions and changes and improvements and failures, but they are merely what we notice.

What matters, and what creates our lives, is the day-after-day, incremental efforts and wise choices.

So, think small and act now.