#FridayReads – This Is Water by David Foster Wallace

FRIDAYREADS - This is Water by David Foster Wallace

I’ve been going through some things in my personal life that are really hard. Like anyone, I have good days and bad days. This week, I had a really good day. My mentor, Robert Brumby, had mailed a package to me and when I opened it, this 137-page book fell out. Now, it’s a small book and I read it cover-to-cover in less than 30 minutes. In fact, I read it twice….and then I cried.

The day-to-day trenches…

The book is a commencement speech given by David Foster Wallace in 2005 to the graduating class of Kenyon College. He’s only done this once in his life. He only needed to say these words once, trust me.

I can’t speak for other financial service marketing folks who work with advisors, planners, etc., but I get up each and every day and wonder, “How can I change our world?” Even with a cavalier notion that my small ripple in such a very large pond could ever have any impact, the book jumps right into being aware of the day-to-day trenches of adult existence, the banal platitudes, as they can have a life-or-death importance.

Being conscious and aware….

Yet another real fear of mine is getting caught up in the walking dead. This idea that our minds and our actions become automatic, no longer having intention much less real purpose. Wallace reminds us to choose what we pay attention to and to choose how we construct meaning from the experience.

So we must find ways to snap out of the world of automatic everything and remember to think, feel, understand in the present moment. It actually made me rethink simple things like scheduling content too far in advance as to the relevance of that content later on.

Real freedom…

Freedom only comes wrapped in attention, awareness, discipline, effort, and truly caring about others – especially when it’s not really exciting to do it. I believe this is exactly what the late Maya Angelou meant when she said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” You see that’s where the REAL freedom is…in the essence.

The moral of the story: Everything meaningful is right in front of us, but we are so caught up in the bullshit of naysayers, trolls, bait clicking, reading the comments, internal dialogues, and all other negative things of the sort. So be intentional in sweeping past the brouhaha and put your brain and body to the task of making a difference, being impactful, and feel more feelings, taste your food, laugh at things that are funny, cry when you’re sad, rest your body, exercise your mind, and do it all with simple awareness.


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