The Dangers of Thoughtlessness

In glorious effort, I am now plowing through Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat. Seriously people, if you haven’t read it you need to. The world is changing at a blistering clip, and this phenomenal read does a great job of addressing many of the issues of our time.

As many of you have heard in discussions with me, I recently finished The Box, a book on the history of the shipping container, that goes hand in hand with The World is Flat. Our world is flat, ruthlessly efficient when it comes to logistics, and shrinking and creating more competition every single day. While not an exclusive review of the book as whole I just wanted to address one of the (many) excellent quotes from this book.

One of the chapters opens with thoughts from Mr. Winston Churchill: “To build may have to be slow and laborious tasks of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day.”

How true and how powerful. I know many of you work very hard at the things that you do. Your profession, your family, your friendships, your hobbies, your life.

For me, I’ve spent many years training and eating, training and racing, training and resting for all of my events to simply let that go to the wayside but I can fully appreciate the dangers of thoughtlessness. Shredding your knees or injuring your ACL or simply not taking care of yourself can end your season (or career) faster than most care to acknowledge. It even applies in the workplace. You could be at a company for many, many years but you mouth off once and you could be back out on the street.

“To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day.”

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One of my absolute favorite bands, Linkin Park, smashes the nail on the head in their song “Forgotten” off the album Hybrid Theory:

The memory now is like the picture was then;
When the paper’s crumpled up it can’t be perfect again.

How is that for destructive power?

The good news is that it is not all for naught. The diligence and hard work of slowly grinding up mountains toward your goals establishes precedence, and equips you with the tools and skills needed to persevere.

It also builds ownership within you. You will be far less likely to let something fall by the wayside that you are truly invested in. Sure, everyone has their moments of being a moron, but I like to believe that they will be limited in size, scope, and impact. Just put your money where your mouth is and remain true to your laborious efforts of positive, creative destruction!

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