Wednesday, December 1, 2010

An Epiphamatic Day!

So I had a lot of input and an upswing of mood today... yesterday had I lifted my weary head from my pillow I would have written a terribly depressing blog... today I have recaptured motivation!  And I didn't even bring up women's rights.

Was reading a book on the Iran-Contra Affair... and yes that isn't exactly riveting... but I stumbled on this paragraph in the preface (which shows you also where I am so I need to wrap this up quickly):

"As a result, I have been forced to rethink my achievements and mistakes.  Did I try to accomplish too much?  Was I excessive?  Was I obsessive?  Were my objective frustrated by... my own errors?  Despite many defeats, did I ultimately win?  And if I won, was it the war I thought I was fighting or one quite different?  Will the effort, however evaluated, deter future comparable misconduct?"

Sure this was the investigator of something huge of which there are literally tomes... but these questions are the questions of anyone who takes on a humongous task.  One so large it literally has to be largely out of your hands for real change to be effected.

Today I had a good talk with my mentor.  So maybe gonna try to repair a burnt bridge... but I am not holding my breath for the best outcome.  It's just it's better to end things on better terms and walk away with a clean slate.

He also articulated some things that had been bothering me for a while... and some arguments that my rather dim-witted boss (one of them... and jeez if he recognizes himself --which I doubt he will-- will I get shit for this.  But just to save myself in case he does... if you think this is you, than you're much too clever to be the man I'm referring to.  Got it?) proffered.  But when my sorta boss gave me the argument for leadership at West Point, it was delivered so crudely I bristled at it.  I was cynical and critical in my opinion of "leadership positions" at the Academy.  I haven't entirely seen the light... nor do I think this new and more eloquent advice addresses all things I am disgruntled with... but here's the theory:

Leadership, especially in the Army but anywhere, is about helping others become who they wish they could be.  Obviously this means healthy wishes... and not everyone knows what is the best thing for them... but it's a free will for a reason.  I think humanity as a whole consistently having members perform in deplorable ways, is proof enough that free will has some nasty sides to it.  But that's besides the point.  Given the fact that most ordinary people don't want more than to improve their situation in life it makes sense that as a leader it would be beneficial to help that person find their niche and if you could help it would make you a good leader to help.

The second part of that was the subtlety of peer and leader leadership.  No that's not a typo, sometimes you have to lead your leader.  And he emphasized the difficulty of that and gave me some examples of achieving that as well.  Much better than a crude insulting comment that I received elsewhere that may have vaguely behind it held the same intent.  And even that I somewhat doubt.  It's times like this I appreciate the lessons I received from my father, who was an excellent leadership example.  Many of the lessons West Point has taught me had been gone over by my father in the formative years before I was at the academy.  And anyone can doubt this, but talking about subtle leadership, taking a stand, maintaining the important standards, and identifying the "informal vs formal" leaders are all things my dad talked to me about even when I was 13 or 14 years old.  And yes I suppose you could argue that's not too long ago, any sarcastic readers out there.

A 1500 word paper awaits, so that's all for now, but I am refreshed and rejuvenated and ready for battle!

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