Post #2 — Times have changed

This will be a short one.

After the Ruckusmaker weekend, I headed north to rural New York State to visit my father, a spry 97-year-old Iwo Jima veteran who spent his working life at the GE plant in Schenectady, NY. Before retiring, Glenn was at work every weekday—and many Saturdays, too—bringing home the bacon to support his stay-at-home wife and five children.

Today he’s retired but connected, perusing the daily press from his native Denmark on the web, along with US newspapers and magazines. He has all his marbles, a great sense of humor, and a huge pile of books (mostly non-fiction) next to his fire-side easychair. He is politically engaged. Oh, and he still drives—locally only, however, “until spring gets here.”

But Glenn is not a Ruckusmaker. In his day, the man of the house was in salaried employment and had a single boss throughout his entire working life.

A model no longer possible or viable for many, and no longer desirable for the likes of most Ruckusmakers.

Yet habits die hard. As I waxed enthusiastic about how invigorating the workshop had been, Glenn confided that he had researched Seth Godin on the internet and was reassured: this was a person who made good sense, a guy worth listening to.

Yet after skimming through my print-out of the workshop participants’ bios, he was nonetheless uneasy: “Have you noticed how many of these people have [… pause … ] moved around quite a lot?”

An INSTABILITY balloon with flashing lights was anchored over the easychair at this point. (Have I mentioned that habits die hard?)

A reminder that times do change. Because in discussions in Hastings-on-Hudson, it became abundantly clear that the itchy-footed, the people who embark on a project (or two or three), the folks who “move around,” can, if they do the work, be far more resilient than those who stay put. Far stronger.

In Seth’s terms, they take on and triumph over one challenge, reaching their “local max” (where things are already pretty cool). Then—forever curious, forever raising their own personal bar—they choose to navigate the dip and move on to another peak, with all of the uncertainty and tension that involves. Negatives become positives.

We have only one life, after all.



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