I’m not sure whether I display perseverance, dogged determination, or sheer blind optimism in my daily life. I’ve tried to figure out which one best decribes me…
I was in a meeting a few weeks ago with a new client. I met with 6 people from this very well established firm, who were all refreshingly realistic. (That’s not something you take for granted in construction, believe me!)
Now, I have actively and very regularly prospected this firm for 19 years! (No, that’s not a misprint!) Some might call that perseverance, some may say determination, others blind optimism…but in truth, I have to do this because I can’t sing (well, I try…) so I don’t have a choice! (Don’t believe me?! Why not buy a Jacob CD and draw your own opinion…)
In my almost 30 years of running a business I have encountered all types of firms: the good, the bad and the downright criminally ugly. In the latter case, sometimes it’s hard to hold on to what I WANT to believe; namely that acts of honesty, love and goodness always reign supreme over acts of intimidation, violence, dishonesty, misrepresentation or of dishonourable motive.
Some would call me naive, some would call me an idiot for holding such views; others would call me stupid, and some would say a host of other things as well, and to some extent they are probably all right.
But, I am not just talking about blind faith, and I have seen through my own tear stained, swollen, red eyes, the “fallout” of acts of such heinous corruption that I sometimes seriously doubt myself in my resolve to look for the good in folks.
So, where are these disjointed “ramblings” going?
A year ago or thereabouts, on one of my many trips to Burma and Thailand, I was talking with a lady who I have great respect for. A lady who grew up in turbulent and dangerous times on shores much closer to home.
I asked the rhetorical question of whether my hope for a united Burma with the 16 states and tribal regions working with each other and with no more civil war, was futile. This lady, looked at me square in the eyes, and said words to the effect of, “YES, your hope is futile, you have only to look at …” and the lady (far better educated than I, and far more in tune with that socio-political climate) reeled off countless failed attempts at re-unification.
I felt like a fool for having this blind optimism which was driving my idealism and passion for peace in Burma. (I use the term Burma, purposefully, for it is my belief that the Burmese People want to be just that. They, mostly, do not want to be people of Myanmar).
My feeling like a fool was not the fault of the lady in question. It was my own fault for not corroborating and studying more deeply the facts.
Who can you believe?
This scenario and nearly all matters of current affairs and politics, which are reported by the media, leave me in a perpetual state of limbo!
Ask yourself this: Who in the current day, in politics, government, congress, media, current affairs, world socio-economic affairs, and even down to your local MP’s, can you trust?
It’s hard to keep the faith or maintain blind optimism in the current state of affairs…
The Torch Carriers
Sadly I know not of enough people alive or dead to try to justify my own issue with being introspective about this. There are, as you will know if you have read any of the books of Jacob, people who I hold in extremely high regard such as Aung San Suu Kyi and the Dalai Lama. I also think of people in history that were, in my eyes, torch carriers for hope and change namely Mahatma Gandhi, Vaclev Havel, William Wilberforce, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela as well as a number of others.
On a Lighter Note
There was a fictitious movie made a number of years ago called “Wag the Dog”. It starred Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro. The basic plot is that the President is accused of cavorting with a female member of his staff, and to avoid the bad publicity of this matter the President’s “spin doctor” (De Niro) manufactures a fake war – with the help of a movie Director (Hoffman).
This then shows the President acting positively and successfully to diffuse this fake war, by which time the furore about his insobriety has all blown over!
It’s an entertaining movie if you just accept it on an escapism level, but this level of deceit – smoke and mirrors tactics – is actually happening all around us and at all levels of government and media.
More frighteningly, people – MILLIONS in the last 10 years – are dying, being mutilated, tortured, and suffering deprivation of sickening depths.
Such a simple question isn’t it?
But I know this much, other than a very few close friends and family, my colleagues (who I am SO grateful to) – I know not of anyone that I can trust. Is that because I walk on the dirty side of the street where I am surrounded mostly by sharks?
My answer to this by the way is NO, definitely not.
Yes I swim in “Dirty Waters” sometimes, as I once referred to in a poem, but not everyone around me is corrupt or out for their own gain, by a long shot. On the contrary I am lucky to have some really solid and decent folk in my life…they all, however, have terrible loads to bear…including me!
I don’t take this for granted!
As the sub-heading states, I don’t take my tremendous friends for granted.
Equally I don’t take for granted that I have been lucky enough to be born in a country where, mostly, if I work hard, I will be able to afford the basic luxuries of a roof over my head, shoes on my feet, and food in my stomach.
It’s not the same for everyone though – by a long margin. I’ve seen some folks work harder than I could ever do, in the most awful of conditions, and still live in squalor, danger, disarray and poverty.
I try to use my art – written and spoken, played and sung – to speak out about, and to do something about these horrid circumstances.
Although with 7 books written and two recorded CD’s I have, thus far, been unsuccessful. Perhaps (said with blind optimism!) when I am dead my art will become noticed and make millions for the poor and impoverished.
So what has all this got to do with mental health?
Rather selfishly, by expressing myself about this “stuff” and being lucky enough to have been involved in some projects, there is grounding and levelling experience that I gain.
So with my writing and music I am just trying to give back – God knows I owe the world, big time.
With love, peace and hope