New Beginnings

The top news story of the week.

Note to self…not you…

Last week I wrote about the unfolding events in Egypt – “First They Came For.”

And this week, like many, I was exhilarated when President Mubarak up and left after a digitally fueled, near bloodless (except for the violence instigated by the regime) revolt that left in its wake a country and its people with their future in their own hands and a Middle East nervous about that same future

Note to self – don’t lose the irony in the dichotomy…see my Ramble on Irony

No doubt all have their own take on the situation and on how it affects them, their politics, their country, their views of the world, their religious and secular convictions.

For me…for now…I am focused on how powerful the tools we work with, every day, and often take for granted, can be a power for good and radical change but also for evil and destructive behavior…there is that ironic dichotomy again….

I heard my good friend JR speak about this over the weekend. He talked about the need to establish a vision of leadership that was aspirational as opposed to a monolithically rigid or referential model. The difference being that one ends up dictating and is hard to change; the other is fluid and can adapt and inspire.

 As I pondered his comments – I was further inspired by his PhD in English Lit and quickly looked up one of my favorite sources to see if I was correct in the passage that his message had brought to my mind.

And sure enough…Listen:

“Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden 

Big note to self…

Truthfully I have always loved that quote and have used it before. But last night I was inspired to go back to the source. And the source shook me up even more.

First let me share the fuller quote – usually truncated to the above by the various quote engines and such on the web:

“I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.”
Henry David Thoreau

 And allow me to share the entire paragraph with you – consider it required reading – and save you the need to link or search…Listen: 

“A man who has at length found something to do will not need to get a new suit to do it in; for him the old will do, that has lain dusty in the garret for an indeterminate period. Old shoes will serve a hero longer than they have served his valet – if a hero ever has a valet — bare feet are older than shoes, and he can make them do. Only they who go to soires and legislative balls must have new coats, coats to change as often as the man changes in them. But if my jacket and trousers, my hat and shoes, are fit to worship God in, they will do; will they not? Who ever saw his old clothes – his old coat, actually worn out, resolved into its primitive elements, so that it was not a deed of charity to bestow it on some poor boy, by him perchance to be bestowed on some poorer still, or shall we say richer, who could do with less? I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes. If there is not a new man, how can the new clothes be made to fit? If you have any enterprise before you, try it in your old clothes. All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be. Perhaps we should never procure a new suit, however ragged or dirty the old, until we have so conducted, so enterprised or sailed in some way, that we feel like new men in the old, and that to retain it would be like keeping new wine in old bottles. Our moulting season, like that of the fowls, must be a crisis in our lives. The loon retires to solitary ponds to spend it. Thus also the snake casts its slough, and the caterpillar its wormy coat, by an internal industry and expansion; for clothes are but our outmost cuticle and mortal coil. Otherwise we shall be found sailing under false colors, and be inevitably cashiered at last by our own opinion, as well as that of mankind.”

And there you have it…

“If you have any enterprise before you, try it in your old clothes… Otherwise we shall be found sailing under false colors, and be inevitably cashiered at last by our own opinion, as well as that of mankind.”

 So as new clothes start looking good in the Middle East… 

And as new clothes start looking for some of us – BIG F’ING NOTE TO SELF…

Remember, let’s look for something to be…vision…and not just something to do… 

What do you think?

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