We live in a world that is increasingly obsessed with quick fixes and instant gratification. We don’t have time to stop and get gas, even though we are running on fumes, because we left late. We don’t have time to stop and sharpen the saw because we are too busy trying—and failing—to cut the tree down. We don’t have the money to save or invest in retirement because we have to have that car/phone/vacation right now, instead of waiting until we can afford it. Examples abound, and I’m sure you can think of some of your own. The bottom line is that we end up being so focused on efficiency that we often end up sacrificing effectiveness as a result. All too often, we judge the potential solutions and strategies on how quickly and how well they are going to address the symptoms that we see right in front of us, while completely ignoring the cause of our discontent. This feeds the perpetual focus on fixing problems rather than creating a discontinuous shift in results, i.e. we ignore the roots of transformation to pursue the fruits of change.
This is the week that the United States celebrates the Thanksgiving, and, in fact, this blog is being posted on the exact day this year. Although to many Thanksgiving is a great occasion to take some time off from work and enjoy some good food with family and friends, it also provides a great opportunity to reflect on and give thanks for the many blessings we have in our lives. Even more than that, it is an invitation to examine our lives and try and appreciate the things that we take for granted, and to cultivate gratitude not only for what we consider the good, but also for things that we have complaints about and may be dissatisfied with.