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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Aspiring to Greatness

I just finished watching an interview with Captain Chesley Sullenberger where they talked about the "Miracle on the Hudson" as well as what his life has been like over the last 9 months, since the accident. Yesterday, when digging through papers looking for my DD-214 discharge form from the Army, I came across several photos from around 20 years ago. I posted these photos on my Facebook page and have probably looked at them a couple dozen times since then. They bring back such a flood of memories, both good and bad. That part of my life was so long ago.

As I'm counting the days to my 50th birthday, things like the photos and the interview cause me to think about what I have and have not done in my life. They cause me to think about success and greatness and then I try to take my measure. It's really not the most fun exercise I've undertaken recently. I see so many people who have accomplished so many great things in their lives (at least, great by my standards) and it kind of gets to me.

Then I remember a very smart boss I once had, Dr. Cynthia Wike, who used to tell her people, when they were having a bad day, "OK, you've got 15 minutes to whine and feel sorry for yourself. Then you're done and you need to get back to work."

Thinking about Dr. Wike's words, I know we have to remember the past and pay it our respects, but then move on with life. I think the point should be to aspire to greatness, not in the sense of fame or fortune, but as human beings. How many lives have we touched, how many people have we helped, how much service have we provided to God and to our fellow humans? We also have to remember that when we fail (and we will, repeatedly), we do not give up like a bunch of losers. We can have our whine time and then get back to it because we are not quitters and the causes to which we aspire never stop, never wane.

Well, my 15 minutes are up. I need to get back to work now.

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