The Water, the Rock, and the Maginot Line

After World War I, France built a massive line of fixed fortified concrete bunkers and walls. It was called the Maginot Line and it’s gone down as one of history’s great blunders. The goal was to prevent future invasions by Germany like the one in 1914.

The problem was the French were fighting the previous war and the Germans were preparing themselves to fight the next one. In a World War I framework, an adversary would have been crazy to conduct a frontal assault against the Maginot Line.

By 1940, when the Germans quickly overran France, the Germans simply flew their planes over it and drove their tanks around it. The massive fortification did nothing to defend France and their reliance upon it caused them not to otherwise prepare.

The stark imagery of this example has gone down in history as a metaphor of stolid, dogmatic thinking in the face of change.

Wisdom is adaptation to the moment. Fixed thinking, like the Maginot Line, is not up to facing new challenges.

A similar metaphor is that of the a rock and water. A rock is solid, strong, immovable. Water is soft and pliant. It goes over and around the rock. Watched for a day or a week, the rock appears to be winning the battle. It’s holding its ground and standing firm. However, come back in a year or five or fifty. Over time, the water will wear the rock into nothing.

New challenges require us to be agile and adaptive. We live in a world, especially now, that is not only experiencing massive change in this moment, but is nearing the birth of a very different world where many old paradigms are going to be tested.

If we don’t adapt, we can look forward to the fate of the rock and the Maginot Line.

If we work to understand the difference between immutable principles and merely habitual thinking, a very important distinction, we will find ways to navigate and thrive in this new world.

Better days are ahead for humanity, if we’re smart, flexible, and principled.

My grandmother lived from 1904 to 1988. When she was five, her family got into a horse-drawn wagon and rode outside of town to observe the 1910 passing of Halley’s Comet. When she was 64, she witnessed a man walking on the moon.

Wagon thinking would never have gotten us to the moon in six decades. New thinking was required.

It’s very likely that in two or three decades our world will be more advanced and changed relative to today than 1969 was to 1910.

That kind of change holds both peril and opportunity. Who will we be? Will our technology run us or will we use our technology to benefit humanity in ways never before imagined? Will power and wealth be held in fewer a fewer hands or will we finally create an egalitarian society where our genius meets our basic needs and we have the freedom to explore our highest aspirations?

I don’t and I won’t let this moment get me down. We’re going through the growing pains of massive transformation. Whether it is to the benefit or detriment of most human beings is being decided, as tomorrow always is, by our thoughts, words, and actions today.

Stay safe. Stay well. Amazing things are on the way! Oh, and by the way, just in case no one else has reminded you today, you are awesome!


Ray

Paradigm-Shifting #RayQuotes

Words have power. They have been influencing you all your life. Some words push incremental change. Others splash cold water on your face with their truth and clarity. Here are some #Rayquotes that I hope will inspire you to think more deeply and see another perspective.

I’d love to hear if any of them resonated with you below in the comments.

Just in case no one else has reminded you today, you are awesome!

Ray

What A Difference a Day Makes

We have a beautiful Spring day here in northeast Kansas today. Yesterday we had howling winds and sideways rain. Today we have the gentle healing of blue skies, puffy clouds, and a persistent sun. The video below provides a visual of this start and definitive change. The same three appears in both parts of the video.

Our lives are very much like the weather. I know that’s novel insight, but it’s stark how quickly weather shifts and how quickly the fortunes of our lives do too.

Two months ago life was cruising along as normal. We weren’t forced to think beyond our mundane routine and often we didn’t. Then the Coronavirus and COVID-19 and now the threat of economic challenge have forced out of that comfort zone and into new paradigms that will linger for years or decades.

It all seems very dark at the moment – don’t buy all the dystopia. We do have choices in the matter. The skies have seemed dark for many these past two months, but I’m here to promise you the sun will come out again because our lives; they are very much like the weather.

One day you can experience a hellish storm and the next day blessings of a new life and new hope carried on the wind. That sunny day is coming for all of us again. Stay focused on what you can do and what you can control.

As the late great Wayne Dyer once explained, “There is ain’t no use in worrying. There’s no use in worrying about things you can’t control because you have no control over them. There’s no use worrying about things you can control because you will take care of them.”

Everything happening right now will get handled. Life will return to something like the normal we knew before, only with profound new opportunities to remake the world into our highest vision of what it can be and of what we can be.

Stay strong. Stay safe. Stay inspired.

Just in case no one has told you today, you ARE awesome!

Ray

Old Dog, New Tricks – Day 339 of 365 Days to a Better You

You’ve heard the old saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” What if you’re the old dog? As slip into the back end of my 50s, I’ll admit it. Despite my reasonably cheery outlook on life and youthful impulses, I sometimes feel like that old dog.

We live in a world moving faster, so far as we know, than any other period of human history. Whereas 20 years used to constitute old, today 20 hours often does. Technology is changing by the moment. We drink information through a firehose without the ability to critically analyze it. In short, there’s always a new trick for us old dogs.

How do we cope?

We must commit ourselves to becoming one with the change. We must commit ourselves to learning new lessons, drawing new conclusions, and releasing cherished paradigms that simply don’t work anymore. All things we old dogs are loathe to do.

I’m not suggesting you relinquish timeless principles. In fact, we need to add a few more of those back into the mix. There’s been some throwing the baby out with the bathwater there.

I am suggesting that you need to adjust to doing old things in new ways. You need to be willing test new ideas, seek new approaches, and always be growing and getting better.

It would nice, for us old dogs, to think that the world is going to slow down and go back to how it used to be when we were young, comfortable, and uniquely confident. The truth is, barring an asteroid, this is the new reality, old dog. If you want to stay in the game, you’ve got to be willing to learn new tricks.

Just in case no one else has reminded you today, you ARE amazing!

Ray

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Ask Bigger, Better Questions – Day 324 of 365 Days to a Better You

You may remember earlier in our journey we discussed how there are no dumb questions. Today I want to expand on that and encourage you to ask bigger and better questions.

If we want bigger answers in our lives, for our species, and for the planet, we must ask BIGGER questions. If we want better answers, we must ask better questions.

Lives and civilizations thrive or fail based on the size and the quality of the questions they ask. If you want to profoundly shift your life, you’ve got to be willing to put everything on the table in your evaluation of it. The questions you asked or never asked, that created your current life are not big enough or smart enough to create the next better version of you,

“OK. Makes sense,” you might say, “but how do I ask bigger, better questions?”

  1. Go deeper – to ask the questions that really matter and can really change things, you have to understand who you are and what you want at a fundamental level.
  2. Be authentic- once you understand who you are and what you want, be authentic. Don’t run away from it no matter how scary or paradigm-shattering it may seem.
  3. Getting from here to there – just like you look at a map before getting in your car to drive someplace new, you have to map what getting from who you are to who you want to be looks like.
  4. Formulate your questions – who or what do you need to challenge or change? What ideas and paradigms have to shift? Ask more WHY and WHAT IF questions. These questions get to what matters and challenge paradigms.

By doing this, you’ll find that the questions you ask as you move through life each day will shift from:

  • What do I want to eat?
  • What do I want to watch on TV?
  • Where do I want to go on vacation this year?
  • What do people think of me?

To:

  • Does this job still fulfill me? If not, what career would serve me better at this point in my life?
  • Why do I want to be a screenwriter and how can I make that happen?
  • What would my life look like if I chose to be authentically me instead who I was pushed to be?
  • What if money and time were not an object? Who would I be then?
  • Why am I just getting by instead of living my dreams?
  • How can I make the biggest difference?
  • How could we have a next-level relationship?
  • What if war isn’t inevitable and peace impossible?

The bigger and better your questions, the bigger and better the universe’s answers. Unasked questions rarely receive answers. The very act of asking opens doors, gets your mind working on the how, and inspires your why to make it happen.

Just in case no one else reminds you today, you are AWESOME!

Ray

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