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VOL. 128 | NO. 107 | Monday, June 3, 2013

Chris Crouch

Part-Time Enlightenment

By Chris Crouch

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I’ve been struggling with some serious philosophical issues lately. For example, I couldn’t remember if we were supposed to wait until after Memorial Day to wear white, or were we supposed to wait until after Labor Day? I tried to look it up on the Internet and discovered that most people don’t really care anymore and you can pretty much wear white anytime you want to. That’s a relief!

However, even more unsettling than that, I’ve been watching the TV series “Mad Men” and reading the blogs that attempt to explain (in great detail) what the latest episode was really about. What’s going on with the people who create this show? Or is it the people who watch it? Why do we have to have an army of bloggers tell us what each episode is about? You never had to work so hard to figure out what Andy, Opie, Barney, Lassie, Uncle Jed, Granny, Richie, Potsie, Jerry, Elaine, Kramer, Rachel, Monica or Chandler were about.

As it turns out, pretty much everyone on “Mad Men” is going through some sort of existential crisis. Even the former master of I-know-exactly-how-the-world-works, Don Draper, seems to be questioning his ever-so-despicable values.

Perhaps this is why I recently felt a need to check back with some of my old, old books that offer insights on the meaning of life and becoming an enlightened soul. But some of the enlightened soul stuff can lead to some real problems in the not-so-enlightened practical world. It appears that one of the basic requirements of being an enlightened soul is that you always live in the moment. To use more enlightened words, you project an aura of total presence and timeless consciousness at all times and you are always aligned with the “now” versus thinking of the next thing.

I mentioned all this to my spouse. To paraphrase her response she said, “How can you prepare a meal if you are always aligned with the now and not thinking of the next thing? What happens if you get hungry in the now, but you have not previously thought far enough ahead to go to the grocery store and get some to-be-consumed-in-the-future food?” I couldn’t really answer that question – I guess totally enlightened people must eat out a lot.

Anyhow, here’s my plan. I am going to initially shoot for part-time enlightenment and carve out little blocks of time during my day to work on getting better at living in the moment and being totally present when interacting with people and working on activities. Then I’ll gradually increase my “being in the now” time until I find myself hungry with an empty refrigerator. At that point, I’ll know it is time to back off a bit and spend a little more time thinking about the next thing.

Here’s a potential lesson in all of this: Many good intentions fall apart because the word “always” gets attached to them. Be very careful with this word.

Chris Crouch is CEO of DME Training and Consulting and author of several books on improving productivity. Contact him through www.dmetraining.com.

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