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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Let's Break Into Groups

I could be wrong. I usually am. Admittedly, I've had a pretty good run of mistakes. But, I think people should busy themselves much more with what is "down the road" versus "the busy here and now." Today, life is full, crammed full, of work and activities and fairly frivolous social commitments. Average working people have immersed themselves into so many structured pieces of the day that they have become exhausted, strung-out, and miserable. And, when do they prioritize these time-consuming actions? Seldom? Never?

As an example, young athletes these days specialize in one sport (usually a parent's favorite) beginning in early grade school. Soon, their involvement in this sport becomes a all-year commitment. If they aren't actually playing the sport, they are either practicing, training, or attending special camps to hone their skills. Nothing is inherently wrong with this consumption; however, how much of the time spent devoted to the sport is parent driven and society driven instead of child motivated? Sandlots and pick up games are things of the past. Now, if ball is not organized, authorized, and monopolized by leagues and officials, parents believe their children are not receiving adequate preparation to compete. The cost of participation alone is prohibitive for many  children, putting a self-motivated poor child at a distinct disadvantage.

Nearly everything we do now has to be meticulously formed, organized, managed and controlled. Any gathering depending on spontaneous cooperation is likely doomed. In short, people fill their own lives with many demanding activities requiring organizations that soon take over the majority of their extra time. They don't enjoy the stress. In fact, they usually tolerate it until they eventually hate it. Even through distaste, they voluntarily "follow the Joneses."

How does this mad schedule serve the common good? It does fill the needs of those truly desiring rigorous participation but also it complicates matters to the extent that free time is virtually nonexistence. Some would say this is good because it prepares people for the skills needed in a fast-paced world. Yet, others might argue an individual with some more free time can spend pleasant hours exploring new options of interest through self-management. To me, individual contemplation outside structure and individual motivation without coercion lead to many positive experiences that are sorely lacking components of society.

Instead of a day filled entirely with forced obligations, people with more flexible schedules may also find they are able to think and decide what truly needs to be done on a social level. Shouldn't part of social development involve exposure and education based on important needs versus mere desires. Many people speak of involvement in much-needed crusades yet consider mouthing support to be enough essential activism. This approval alone is like saying "Amen" after a prayer without affirming commitment. If they truly mean "so be it," the word extends to a promise to follow through with behaviors that signify this solid affirmation of faith.

So many people today are literally "lost" without rigid structure. Somehow, many assume that a controlled environment is the only needed ingredient for learning proper interaction with others. And, I believe, well managed and supervised environments are essential to the formation of  proper behavior. But, face it: schools, teams, and interest groups are not able to prepare fully any one individual. Everyone graduates from such isolation into a free range sooner or later. If all that is instilled has been provided and neatly packaged in its proving grounds, where does the individual find the mindset to think, to reason, and to act?

Alone, masses wait. They wait for exactly what they have learned to accept -- formation, organization, management, and control. Unfortunately, it doesn't always readily arrive on their doorstep. And, they wait and wait and wait and....

Maybe it is the age of the remote control. As long as people do not have to take a step toward the television to provide themselves with the viewing opportunities of hundreds of channels, they gladly click and smile at the screen from a distance. But, let the batteries in the remote control die, and many never take a single step toward controlling the set. In fact, they merely complain and give up the entire activity of watching television until they are able to make a battery run to Walmart.

Motivation needed for success is not allergic. People cannot catch it by association. I've never seen it "rub off" onto another person's skin. The truly sad thing about personal motivation is that no one knows what limits it can reach unless it is self-applied. Many wait for someone to motivate them; however, motivation is a physiological feature whose impetus must be interpreted from within. If this were not so, everyone could be motivated by the same outside stimulus. Short of physiological needs, this seems impossible.

Real world groups that succeed are not lead by a motivated individual. Instead, they are driven from within by a mass of sufficiently self-motivated individuals, each thinking and reacting with unique skills to accomplish a particular goal. That motivation is a movement, and a movement in mass is a powerful machine. That machine runs as long as each component is working.

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