Have you heard the one about the two golfers, Fred and Bob? Well, the two of them were playing as a duo in a tournament with some of their buddies. At the end of the day, everyone was sharing stories at the 19th Hole in the Clubhouse, when someone noticed Fred and Bob were missing. As the party moved outside onto the veranda to peer into the dusk of the evening, some movement was detected advancing toward the Clubhouse.
Naturally, some went out to meet Fred and Bob. As they approached, it was discovered that Bob was no longer of this world. When they asked Fred how he managed to finish the course, he replied, “Hit the ball; drag Bob.”
While the names have been changed, Fred is a friend of mine and the story above is one that he tells. He and Bob have been business partners for more than thirty years. To continue with the dark humor of a sad situation, Bob’s tombstone might as well display the reality of his life:
Died 198X – Buried 20XX
In the course of a road trip with my family, one day we were waiting to be seated at a restaurant. Hanging on the wall was a sign that read:
Unless You’re Lead Dog, The View Never Changes
Now, there are several themes in the introduction above:
We get what we allow.
Coattails are dangerous.
Leadership begins with self.
An unspoken question between Fred and me has been, “How much better might his Game have been if he could have just concentrated on hitting the ball?” We don’t talk about it because it is a judgment relative to the past. What we know, for a fact, is that Fred has grown into a productive citizen — whereas, Bob relies on coattails for mobility. Furthermore, as an accomplished critic, Bob is one of those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
Coattails can appear in the form of Heritage, Wealth, Success, and Reputation of a preceding generation. While all of that can be the foundation for the succeeding generation to build something special for themselves, generally, it exudes the taint of janitorial duty — the next generation is expected to maintain the empire.
Friends, Mentors, Employers and a variety of other Heroes can be sources of coattails. The most dangerous source of all is Government, with its propaganda of Free Lunch programs. Folks, “There ain’t such a thing!”
There is a price we pay for everything. Future dividends only come from present investments. Much more than financial matters, though, we are contemplating facets of the soul.
Moral of the story — The secret to happiness is, so eloquently, articulated by Teddy Roosevelt.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but, who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly!
From the Ages, comes the premise that we are to work out our own salvation with reverence. As with any relationship, the effort begins with us, individually, and is directed toward one other individual, deity, or focal point of development. Once we realize that life is best experienced from the inside — out, we begin to understand that internal change affects the external.
Beginning in the year of 2010, maybe, it’s time for the 2 x 10:
If It Is To Be, It Is Up To Me.
Ten little words, two letters apiece, which — if, believed and lived — can make a difference in the life of each individual and the lives of many others.
So, please, pause for a moment and check for Coattails. Be honest with yourself, when you ask this question, “Am I trying to ride on the coattails of someone else?”
If so, please, hop off.
Is someone trying to ride on yours?
If so, shake them off.
Trying never accomplished anything.
In fact, we learn by doing and the fun is in the doing.
Let’s all discover the fun of learning, together.