Industry Q4

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 6, Q4

Industry: “Lose no time, be always employed in something useful; cutoff unnecessary actions.

Personal notes:

  • Fully engage with what you’re doing; immerse yourself;
  • Shut off distractions;
  • Find fulfillment.

At my last job, I worked towards deadlines without interruption — “cutoff unnecessary actions” — but the work had no depth: good enough analysis that got the job done. Spare time in the pre-deadline lull was spent cruising the internet rather than learning or improving. I wouldn’t call it laziness, not at all. The problem was, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t fake it; my heart wasn’t there. When I fall in love with something, it consumes. When I don’t, I move on. Work was an Industrious lie: shut out distractions, half-assed product.

When I completely give into something, I become absorbed by and obsess little details. I lose myself completely. Unfortunately, it can’t be manufactured. I’m amazed by folks who pick something up, anything, and find it fascinating. Honestly, I find it boring — call it a hangover from the military. Imagine trying to convince a wild animal the value of an industry report. Not going to happen. I’d sit there restlessly at my desk, like the tiger walking back and forth in its cage. It wasn’t a good feeling, but it was there, and as we eventually learn on Saturday mornings, you need to get past the hangover.

In the beginning, Bens13 left me hungover. I found it difficult to wake early on a Monday and write something of value. Grammar and composition were ok, but the reflections were half-assed. I wasn’t providing depth — not the depth you and I deserved — and I wasn’t in love with Bens. To be honest with you, I’m still not in love with Bens, but somewhere along the way, something changed. Over the past year I learned that I owe it to you and to myself, to do better. I owe readers, family, and friends better. This is not for the “A” chased by a wide-eyed college student, but the tired and haggard better of sincerity and sadness. I had to be better and, most importantly, I had to be honest.

Thanks to Bens, I think I got there, or at least started the journey. I learned that true Industriousness requires Depth. Even if you don’t like something, hate it actually, but have to get it done, you owe it to yourself and others to do it well. But more than that, when you work at something long enough, play with the words and rearrange the sentences, stare at the spaces and fill the crevices, somewhere along that road, something magical happens. Between the lines and the letters you find meaning, and there is no greater work than that which is meaningful.

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Next Week

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 7, Q4

Sincerity: “Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.”

Personal notes:

  • Such an important one to practice;
  • Especially with friends & family.

For me, the most important words for this week are: “think innocently.” When I think about those words, I think about my kids and how they make me feel. They make me feel like Christmas. What better time than now to be Sincere?