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The Beauty of our Differences

I have been watching the AppleTV show “For All Mankind.”  If you’re not familiar, it is well done and thought-provoking. The premise: Russia beat the US to the moon in the 1960s, and the show picks up on the aftermath…intense disappointment, second-guessing, loss of purpose, heightened political scrutiny, and overriding science….everything that a country in mourning would face.

One thought from last night’s episode – how beautiful is our world that we each bring different talents and interests to the table.  Here’s the story.  The astronaut that was scheduled to fly to the moon on Apollo 15 (assuming 11 had been first) spends his period of mourning at home with his family.  He hadn’t been home much and took some solace in being able to teach his son to ride his new bike.  He failed; his style didn’t provide the motivation the child needed to succeed.  When his wife stepped in and the kid took off, he looked forlorn.

Fast forward to Apollo 15.  The political race has moved from “land on the moon” to “establish a base camp.”  He and his partner are sitting in the LEM, on the moon, sharing some very personal feelings after a near-tragic but ultimately successful venture.  He tells the story of feeling like such a failure because he couldn’t teach his son to ride a bike.  His partner reminds him that everyone has a talent, and not everyone has every talent.  That’s my paraphrase – not sure it went exactly like that but that makes my point.

We are blessed

As humans, we are so blessed to have such complex lives that some shine, some struggle, but ultimately, we each have our strengths and talents which can shine at the right time.

Each of our opinions has validity.  Some agree with our opinion, many others don’t.  Our opinion is formed by our lives, our experiences, and our culture.

That is beautiful because those experiences fill in gaps for others who never had the chance to see the world in just that way.  We should honor those differences.

Are we a little testy, though?

Lately, however, I find myself jumping to conclusions.  A friend, who I know has different opinions about our country’s direction than I have, posted a FB meme that said, “Would you blindfold yourself and eat whatever someone fed you? No? Then stop letting the media do it to you.”  Indignant, I sent it to my husband saying, “I am tempted to ask specifically what I am being fed.” Wisely, he responded, “The statement is accurate.”

Oops. Was I just caught in jumping to a conclusion based on my preconceived context?  There is nothing inherently wrong with that statement, no matter what your political leaning.

I know I am still somewhat “loaded for bear.”  I am grieving over what is happening in our country, the loss of friends, and the fear that “something” is right around the corner. I need to work on that.

My outlet for discussing my worries is a group I belong to on LinkedIn where political debate is engaging and, for the most part, polite and respectful.  It is a place for me to learn.  I hope I have something to offer others because I do learn from them.

But that “political” context is always with me while there, and maybe I need to back up, check my own context at the door, and follow what I preach by asking questions instead of making statements.

Okay, I’ll give that a try.  It’s all about learning, after all.

Back to our blessings

That brings me full circle to how we are blessed to have so many different talents, ideas and perspectives.  Man, it would sure be a boring place if everyone was like me.  Heck, I wouldn’t have anyone to debate.

Seriously though, I do see an opportunity for our country to take pride in our differences and realize how far we have come, how well we have survived (we really do have a wonderful country filled with opportunity), the fact that our government has survived so many challenges and still functions (no, I’m not debating that here).

What we have is truly amazing.  But it is fragile and requires that each of us put away our preconceived context.  That’s really hard, but it is doable. 

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Carol Anderson
Carol Andersonhttp://andersonperformancepartners.com
CAROL is the founder and Principal of Anderson Performance Partners, LLC, a business consultancy focused on bringing together organizational leaders to unite all aspects of the business – CEO, CFO, HR – to build, implement and evaluate a workforce alignment strategy. With over 35 years of executive leadership, she brings a unique lens and proven methodologies to help CEOs demand performance from HR and to develop the capability of HR to deliver business results by aligning the workforce to the strategy. She is the author of Leading an HR Transformation, published by the Society for Human Resource Management in 2018, which provides a practical RoadMap for human resource professionals to lead the process of aligning the workforce to the business strategy, and deliver results, and writes regularly for several business publications.

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8 CONVERSATIONS

  1. Hi Carol!
    I like that this article reflects tans highlights at the same time, that we all have something to offer. A unique gift given to us, within us and unique to us.
    When we search outside of ourselves we will always be looking and become susceptible to that sense of failure we fear. Through comparison we find doubt and that disables us. When we are disarmed with that feeling of worthlessness we in essence travel further from that which is inside us. The gift you have is innately present. It is within you to find. The more time you spend looking for it the less time you worry about not having one. Self belief is the stepping stone in achieving the sense of acceptance and increases the faith that there is a purpose for you. Everyone touches one another in some way. How you define its impact is not always with the same intention it was given.
    We may not always see the gift as we think it should be but we must believe that we have this value. You never know, you may have or already be using it. One simple simple to a stranger can be that which has impacted another and influence the outcome of their life. Sometimes years pass and you might get thanked for something you said or did. See this as that gift and the rewards are incredible. We umana are Beautiful and gifted souls…we all have a gift
    I said as much in a post today on linkedin and have written a poem on the very subject too…” For You to Varnish”. Excerpt here …

    “Pure and bright, your’s to harness
    Waterfalls, Nature’s artist
    Holy Lord! God have mercy!
    You solved the biggest controversy

    Awe inspired, His gift to you
    In this the room of holy view
    This is your soul without tarnish
    This is your gift for you to varnish”

    That FB meme that said, “Would you blindfold yourself and eat whatever someone fed you? No? Then stop letting the media do it to you.” Is really accurate. The space where your gift exists is inside you.

    Thank you for this read and I really appreciate you and your gift my dear
    Paula

  2. Thanks Carol! Our country is indeed blessed with being a work in progress.

    Has been. Is. And I suspect we will continue to be…

    A work in progress!

    Because people engage. And people run for office. And speak their minds.

    Maybe not the best of ways.

    Yes, we each, myself included, could benefit from a dose of humility . . . hourly?

    But as we go this way and that . . . it’s often not in the worst of ways either.

    Debate and action are two things that happen over time.

    We tilt off one way here and flit off in other ways there.

    And tend to course-correct at least a little bit when you look at the long haul.

    Our founders . . . gave us good gifts.

    Walking humbly one step this way and another step that way . . . I suspect we will course correct back and forth and round in circles some more.

    How a society operates and how each person contributes to the greater good and to the vulnerable individuals . . .

    Matters!

    And we’re not likely to each see what matters more to each other.

    So we’ll continue tilting this way and that… course correcting … and perhaps getting a bit better as a group as we go.

    blessings,
    Cynthia

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