Thursday, October 16, 2008

Life is like...a crowded line

Life is like…a crowded line. A crowded line is congested, forward progress is slow and, at certain moments, even immobile. Waiting in line and progressing with the often sluggish momentum can provoke stress and annoyance. Our patience is tested. During such circumstances, we face a variety of choices:

- We can become aggressive and force our way through the line in hopes of reducing the time it takes to arrive at our destination.

- We can step out of the line and walk away.

- We can stand still or sit down and let others bypass our position.

- Or, we can simply maintain our position and progress peacefully with the pace of the line.

The first option reflects the possibility that we will reach the front of the line in a timelier fashion. However, several risks accompany this decision. Forcing our way to the front causes us to push people and step on their toes. These actions may prompt others to develop sour feelings toward us and result in our redirection to the back of the line where we must begin the process again. A possibility in the grander scope suggests that people may resist our movements and become aggressive toward us and others. The feelings prompted by our actions could disperse to vaster segments of the line and perhaps invoke mass chaos throughout the entire line. The potential havoc is a direct result of our selfish effort to progress more quickly than our intended advancement pace.

The second option suggests that we would rather be anywhere other than our position within the near-stagnant pace of the line. We lack the patience to move slowly and desire a faster motion regardless of our destination. Consequently, we willingly remove ourselves from our position although we lack an awareness of subsequent steps. Following our exiting step, we realize that we lost focus of our destination and begin yearning for that which awaits us at the front of the line. We lost our former place, however, so we must start over at the back of the line. We again gain sight of the destination and dedicate ourselves to practicing more patience as we slowly progress toward the front.

The third option suggests that we become frustrated with the progression of the line and quit moving because we simply don’t like the line. Selecting this option causes us to serve as a barrier to others. Others need to modify their progression in reaction to our halting behavior. This may cause them to bump us and step on our toes. We are trampled on and bypassed because we chose not to progress with the line and stand up for ourselves.

The fourth option, which can be the most difficult option during the present moment, represents patience, awareness, and the desire to reach our destination regardless of the wait. We realize that the line moves forward, although not at the pace we always prefer. We know that it progresses and we understand that we will eventually end up where we want to be if we employ patience and continue to advance at the line’s pace. When the timing is right, we will arrive.

The "standing in a crowded line" metaphor applies to many areas of our lives. Identified areas include, but are not limited to, our careers, education, physical fitness, families, and spirituality. The following narrative discusses how this metaphor relates to our career path. Our careers represent progression through the career line until we reach our destined career. We have the same choices as those presented above.

We can become overly aggressive and attempt to surpass the capacity of our position in hopes of pushing our way to the front of the career line. We may try to move faster by seeking duties without permission that do not fit within our role, but instead fit the roles of those who are ahead of us in the line or at a superior level on the hierarchy. We are trying to get ahead by taking steps that we are not yet meant to take. This may prompt our coworkers to develop disgusted feelings toward us because we are not working within our role. They may become aggressive or bond together and implement a plan to ensure that we don’t make it to the front of the line quicker than our intended pace. They may even take action to have us removed from our current role.

We could choose the second option and quit our job if we are unsatisfied, but would then have to start over at the back of the line. Selecting the third option suggests that we become frustrated with our career progression, choosing to continue what we’re doing and not emitting effort to pursue promotions or advance our careers through other venues.

The fourth option is to remain patient and understand that we cannot immediately realize our destined career. We need to know our role and continue to work within the realm of our responsibilities. It is utterly important to know our roles within our positions and to complete the work that is expected of those roles. As we successfully complete the responsibilities that are presented to us, we are then given the opportunity to assume more. As additional responsibilities are offered, we must step forward to assume our new duties. The time between the completion of existing duties and the presentation of additional duties can be brief, but it may also be extensive. Therefore, we must be prepared to practice patience and stand still in the career line if it comes to halt. We must understand that the line will resume motion so we must be prepared to proceed even if we have experienced a lingering standstill.

We must follow the necessary steps and when the timing is right we will arrive.

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