Some gangs are good. I realize that when you say the word “gang,” most people react with fear, disgust, apprehension and other negative feelings. There is, however, a more positive view of the word “gang.” One of the reasons young people get involved in gangs is because, across the board, they are accepted without judgment or criticism. There’s a degree of loyalty in those gangs that appeals to young people. In addition, gangs have leaders and the members actually learn some leadership principles from those leaders. The gang member knows that he or she is accepted and there’s a degree of security which goes with having some friends you can be with and with having your acceptance assured.
In addition to all of those things, some gangs have notable records of achievement. I’m thinking of one gang, for example, which produced eleven of the twelve astronauts who walked on the moon. It also produced a disproportionate share of Rhodes Scholars, college and military academy graduates, and business, professional and community leaders. This gang, with over four million members, also helps many youngsters find their niche in life through its “Career Discovery Program.” Future doctors, lawyers, teachers, technicians and communications specialists, etc., result.
By now you probably suspect that I am talking about the Boy Scouts of America and you’re absolutely right. A highlight of my life occurred when I joined to the Boy Scouts of America some 50 years ago, so I am a member of that gang. I did not make it to Eagle rank but I did get elevated to a better person.
Question: Why are Boy Scouts so successful in life? Part of the reason has to do with the Scout Oath, the Scout Law, and the Scout Motto, which I will explore in subsequent columns. In the meantime, I encourage you, especially if you are a single parent or if you are living in the “inner city,” to get involved in the Scouting movement. For more information call the local chapter of the Boy Scouts of America.
Quit Moving and Be Still
By Lee Colan
The blinding speed of today’s information-saturated, time-deprived, hypercompetitive world forces us to run, run, run just to keep pace. Alarm! Snooze button. Alarm! Shower. Shave. Computer on. Phone on. Check headlines. Check voice mail. Check email. Google dog groomer. Make dinner reservations. Microwave breakfast. Drive to office. Check email. Check schedule. Text Junior about afternoon pickup time for soccer practice. Join global teleconference in progress. Answer incoming text message. Log out early to handle phone storm—and that’s just the first hour.
Accessibility through technology can be a double-edged sword–a blessing in terms of our productivity and material prosperity, but a curse on our peace of mind and ability to relax and enjoy life. Sometimes we seem to be human doings rather than human beings. When you’re busy being a human doing, you’re usually too focused on the job to stand back and look at the big picture. You’re too rationally involved in your goal to give your creativity free rein, to see the natural solutions to problems that stymie you.
If you have driven your car at night in a thick fog, you know that you can see farther down the road if you use your low beams, because your high beams just reflect off the fog and blind you. It’s the same thing if you’re trying to solve a problem in your life or your business: the high-intensity approach sometimes blinds you by putting your focus on unimportant issues rather than the real problem. But if you use your low beams instead—get away from the problem and let your creative intuition do its work – often the answer emerges and the path to the goal becomes clearer to you.
So, how, exactly, in today’s hyperactive and attention-demanding world, do we switch from high to low beams?
Try to stop moving for a while and let things settle down. Be still. Relax. Be quiet. Look around. Listen.
My youngest daughter has a special area in her room where she can chill and relax. She calls it her “chillax zone.” Although your chillax zone might not have big pink pillows and a fluffy white carpet, we all need to make a time and place that offers us mental space.
Your space might be your car as you drive home after work, a reading or meditation corner in your house, your bathtub, your gym, a nearby park where you walk—anywhere you can be alone with your thoughts. The thinking, planning, and reflection you do in this space helps you get off the treadmill and rise above the hurly-burly of your everyday world to gain a better perspective on yourself, your situation, and your dreams.
You don’t actually have to go on vacation or head for the spa. All you’ve got to do is change the scenery in your mind. Instead of trudging along the dusty trail following the ruts of the wagon train, fly yourself to the top of the mountain where you can be still, relax, and dream while you gaze out over the world below.
When you stop moving, your world gets quieter. You don’t hear the babble of people working all around you, the rustle of information, the pinging of emotion, the roar of the wind past your ears. All that noise, gone – and then you can truly listen. As Indira Gandhi said, “You must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive at rest.”
Here’s to being still… so you can move forward!
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