Tuesday, October 18, 2011
- Manage Your Own Damned Decline!
I have never been willing to accept “can’t”. I always thought that if it can be done by anyone, I can probably learn to do it. There are limits of course. I can’t slam dunk a basketball or make every par 3 a hole in one. But I always thought that if it was possible for an average person then I could certainly do as well as that – whatever the task.
I'm a portfolio manager for a hedge fund. My career really only deals with information. Physical work is outside my domain, but I've never been inclined to let that stop me. I've always been ready and willing to do the kind of thing that most of my peers would hire someone to do.
As an example, I re-plastered my in ground pool a few weeks back. I’ve never done anything like that before, but I figured – how hard can it be? I took my time, learned the process, and did the whole pool. In all humility, it came out really beautifully.
I also put a hardwood floor in my home-office. Hurricane Irene destroyed the carpeting, so I used the opportunity to upgrade. I’d never done any hardwood flooring either, but as I write this my office has a beautiful wide plank, red mahogany stained Maple floor in it. Everyone who’s seen it says that they can’t find a flaw. What’s more, I did the whole thing in a single day.
I’m approaching 50 years old and to keep my physical condition, I’ve taken up running. I started on a treadmill in mid July and now I’m up to 25 to 30 miles a week in 5 mile batches. According to the GPS in my phone, my average speed for a mile as just a hair under 9 minutes – but in all honesty bad weather can slow that down a touch. Still, I feel like I’m making good progress and although my knees might have a limit in them that I don’t know about yet, I’m mentally flirting with the idea of running the NY marathon in 2012.
I’m an American. I’ve never been willing to accept “can’t”. I’m still not. I refuse to manage my own decline. I refuse to admit my decline is taking place. It isn’t. I won’t let it. I’ll be happy to manage my triumph over adversity, or my victory lap. I’ll manage my unprecedented success. But my decline? Decline is for losers and Democrats. I have no intention of having one.
One day my knees will give up on me, but not today. One day father time will catch up with me and I’ll no longer be able to do the things I can do now. But one day I’ll also be dead. Let’s make that the day that I begin managing my decline. Declining is a choice, and it's one which I don't choose. So long as it's only a question of will, I'll always find enough to draw on to keep trying. In real life there are no three strikes. There is always something else you can do.
Today I’m going to work harder, and smarter and faster. Today I’ll wake up earlier, and stay later and put more energy into it in between. Today the government will put one more chain around my neck and tell me that it’s unfair for me to win when so many other people (who are busy managing their decline) lose. They’ll put more obstacles and hurdles in my path and tell me that it’s only fair that they be there. And I’ll do the same thing I’ve always done. I’ll remind myself that no one… NO ONE can make things so hard that I won’t succeed at them.
You can’t stop me, because I refuse to allow you to. I’m an American. And I don’t believe in can’t.