Volkswagen’s Super Bowl 2013 Game Day Commercial “Get in, get happy,” is a fun start-of-the-week pick me up. While you may not have an enthusiastic Minnesotan with a Caribbean accent in your office, you probably have some of the negative-minded folks depicted. Hey, complaining is easy to do.
I caught the end of a radio interview with a hundred-year-old woman. The interviewer asked the cenetarian for the secret to how she handled the myriad trials and tribulations that had been visited upon her during her journey through life.
“When you climb a hill always know there’s another hill, and another hill after that,” she said. “Once you come to accept that there’s always another hill, you will have far less aggravation and stress in your life.”
Dung beetles spend their nights rolling balls of dung to hiding places where they are used as food. Rather unpleasant.
Like many unpleasant jobs in the real world, though, the work the dung beetles do plays an important role in nature and agriculture. Without them, the planet would be a much dirtier place. But we often judge creatures (and people) by what they do—or what we think they do—because it’s convenient. Consider the lion, respected as “king of the jungle.”
If an anthropomorphic dung beetle were to be featured in a Disney film it would probably be portrayed as having one of the least desirable jobs in the animal kingdom. A bumbling, comically-rendered character rolling balls of dung would make an obvious target for gags. It probably wouldn’t be shown as smart, or as some sort of stargazer.
But that would be a mistake. Because dung beetles are more than what they seem. You might say they are cosmically-minded. Incredibly, these beetles use the Milky Way to navigate. Perched upon a ball of dung, they orient themselves using the panoply of stars splashed across the South African sky. No other creature is known to do that. How many people can do that?
Imagine, knee deep in feces, with tiny eyes, and they’re aware of the symmetry of distant stars.
If that sounds weird or outlandish it shouldn’t. The past hundred years have shown us that. Tubes of metal that fly people across the Atlantic in a few hours? Outrageous. Buildings with over 160 floors? Impossible. Ten-year-old kids with communication devices far more advanced than anything portrayed on Star Trek? Absurd.
If you could be printing your own meat via an ink jet, then you might be doing anything a few years from now. That includes what you’ll do for a living. It’s very possible the job you’ll be doing doesn’t exist yet. It may not have been thought of yet.
How to you prepare for that? Embrace the weird and outlandish. It’s the new norm.
Friday is a peculiar day. It’s a day some people wait all week for. “Thank God it’s Friday,” they’ll say on the elevator while you nod politely. Most people probably don’t realize they do this.
But you only get about 52 Fridays a year. So what’s happening to the other 312 days?
Figure out a way to get more Fridays into your calendar. This doesn’t mean more party-do-less-work days but taking that Friday enthusiasm with you all week. You once had it. As a pre-schooler you probably didn’t say “TGIF.”
Find something to get excited and enthusiastic about and spend your week chasing it down.
There’s an old Latin saying, “Qui docet, discit” (He who teaches, learns.)
You don’t need to wait until you have a teaching certificate, a particular degree, or gray hair to pass on knowledge and skills and inspire others. Volunteer to become a mentor, either formally through a program at work or school or informally.
You know more than you think you know; you bring your own unique set of skills and life experiences to the table. If you don’t know the answer, merely reply, “I don’t know but I’ll find out.” (You might even approach each day with that very question.)
The best teachers don’t preach to others, they learn from others.