100th Post! (Nobody gives a sh*&t!)

This is the 100th post on BobbyBluford.com. (I’ll be back in about an hour; I have to run to the emergency room because I think I just sprained my AC Joint patting myself on the back.) When I committed myself to giving everything I had to this blog a few months ago, my goal was to write a post every day. Luckily my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder lost this battle. But while my initial objective may have been a little ambitious, I’m proud of how far I’ve come, how far we’ve come together. And 100 posts is a big achievement, however you slice it. Because of that, I want this one to be extra special. We’ll see how close I get.

I had a few thoughts on what to discuss today. Heck, I have a lot to choose from since I currently have about 50 drafts that I’m working on. After some careful deliberation, though, I thought the best way to celebrate this milestone was to finally finish a post I started at the very beginning, but couldn’t (or actually just didn’t) quite finish. The delay has been due in part to the less than positive feedback I’ve gotten whenever I mentioned the idea. Everyone to whom I’ve mentioned the blog post has said my view is twisted, that my theory of how the world works is glum, troubled, or cynical. And those were some of the better terms used to describe it. Still, even amidst that, I move forward. Because although I admit it is rather blunt and candid, the lesson I’m about to share is one I believe to be absolutely true, as much a fixed part of life as physics and chemistry. More importantly, and just so you know I’m not really saying I’m absolutely certain I am right (I hate people who are rigid—and usually wrong—in their points of view and opinions), what I really mean to say is that this law is one of the tenets on which much of my life philosophies are based.

Ok, brace yourself. The lesson: Nobody gives a shit!

Retired NFL Coach and Executive Bill Parcells, the only head coach to lead four different teams to the playoffs, said it perfectly. And often, I might add. Every Wednesday of the season, some time during the week’s first required press conference, he’d inevitably be asked about some crisis or crises facing him and his team. If not a loss (or several in a row), it was an injury or three, or a comment made, or a coaching change. It was always something. And his response was as a familiar as the predictable questions. “Listen, fellas,” he’d say as only he and other Jersey guys could, “The Redskins don’t care about my problems. They’re gonna be here at 1 pm on Sunday whether we’re ready or not.” How true. How very true.

So it got me thinking. Although most of us don’t have to prepare for a 235 pound linebacker or a speedy wide receiver, we do have hurdles and challenges just as—some might argue more, even—daunting. Our board meeting on Friday is just as scary. Finding a way to pay the rent and still feed the baby will elicit just as much worry and anxiety as facing an elimination playoff game. And if I’m not leading you down my road of reasoning at least a little yet, maybe this will get you on board; believe it or not, NFL, NBA, and Major League Baseball players have family members die, babies get sick, and arguments with their spouses. Just like we do. And their own headaches, flu bugs, and other illnesses aren’t limited to the months outside of their particular season. But guess what? We as fans really don’t care. Just like the landlord doesn’t care that you got laid off from your job or had your bank account wiped out by fraud. We expect the players from our favorite teams to play just like your CEO and Board of Directors want you to present last month’s financials on time and professionally. Just like your kids still want their dinner and help with their homework.

Now this is not to say that people in our lives do not have sympathy. It’s not a declaration that the world is heartless or evil. What it is, however, is a reality check for all of us. Of course I say “us” because if you’ve read any of my posts before this one, you know that much of what I write is an admittance of my vulnerabilities and failures. But my life changed for the better once I truly embraced this universal truth. The very simple fact is that an acceptance of the “Nobody gives a shit” doctrine means immediate expulsion from the “Woe is Me” club. The two are mutually exclusive. It’s not unlike the moment when we all realized that no matter how much we faked being sick when we were kids, our mother was still going to say “Yo butt is going to school tomorrow!” (I know my mom is not the only one that said that.) It’s amazing how much better we felt after that. You see, when you understand how the world works, you no longer make excuses for yourself. You no longer think of life as something that happens TO you. You know it is something you control, if not the outcomes then certainly your reactions to them. I think Tim Ferris of 4-Hour Workweek fame, said it best. “The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of its way to line up the pins either.”

Before I began accepting this rule, I fell prey like everyone else. (I still do, but to a much lesser degree). For example, I grew up with a stutter (a lot more severe in my mind than in reality, I now admit) and used it for years as a crutch. I was also the first person in my family to go to college and as you can tell from my picture, I’m African-American. History told me I had every right to accept that achieving any significant degree of accomplishment would be difficult. As a result, everything I tried to do that was unsuccessful, I attributed at least in part, to these circumstances. But unlike in golf, life doesn’t assign you handicaps to even the playing field. And while your Freshman English teacher may have graded on a curve, the rest of the world certainly does not.

How does this manifest itself in my life? For one, I don’t expect anything from anyone. I don’t mean that in a defensive or angry way; I just understand how small a part of this world I am. It’s a humbling, even harrowing feeling. But it is true. When I am able to accept that the problems I have to deal with are just that—my problems—I’m less affected by the actions of others, no matter how wrong, insensitive, or even stupid they may seem to me. Secondly, I also know that “if it is to be, it is up to me.” That means if I want something, I have to reach out and grab it myself. No matter how far away that “it” is, nobody’s going to meet me half way. (Actually, “they” might, but since you don’t know who, when, or why; it’s best to assume “they” won’t). And finally, I realize that giving up because I’m tired or frustrated will only leave me out of the line that leads to success. My spot will not be saved and the line will continue to move, with or without me.

This rule that I try to follow is so hard to explain that I hope I was able to convey it without sounding like a pessimistic cynic. More than that, I hope I don’t come across as narcissistic when I intended the exact opposite. Perhaps a parting anecdote will help drive the message home. Three men were stranded in a cave that had collapsed, leaving them under a pile of rubble. The first man cried pitifully, lamenting over the possibility of never seeing his family again. The second was more positive. Although he worried that his days on Earth were numbered, he at least yelled for help, in between prayers to God for a safe and soon rescue. The third guy was more resilient. He cried and worried for a few minutes, then said one long prayer to God. But after that was done, he took a slightly different approach. He took his Swiss Army Knife out of his pocket, turned to the other two, and said “I don’t know if help is on the way or not; but either way, I’m digging myself outta here!”

I try to live my life like the third guy. What about you?

Oh, and by the way, you can now follow me on Twitter @BobbyBluford.  I’m new at it, so don’t be too hard on me.

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About bbluford
I am an executive finance professional with a love for process and application development (MS Access, Excel, Quickbooks), mostly as it relates to Accounting and Business Functions. I also love to write and share ideas with other people in this world. I'm an admitted Gym Rat who works out excessively. The best summation of me is that I love to teach and to learn.

7 Responses to 100th Post! (Nobody gives a sh*&t!)

  1. Shelly says:

    Congrats Bobby! To follow your line of thinking (and to humor your theory) I care…but just long enough to want to send an email. But…I won’t be picking you up at the emergency room after your Congratulations-Fest. Maybe flowers if your stay is 2+ days…does that seems about right??

  2. bbluford says:

    Yeah, that seems about right for an injury resulting from youthful exuberance and self promotion!

  3. Julie Manriquez says:

    Very well said, Bobby! A yogi that I highly respect said to our class years ago, after frantically fighting holiday traffic getting to the studio that day (2 days before Christmas), that in order to acquire peace you must constantly remind yourself to “Lower your expectations” of others….and always, “Be a giver!” I still remember those words. It’s true for the most part others don’t give a shit about excuses :). But, we do care about YOU and CONGRATS on the 100th post!

  4. Sharon says:

    Glad I found your blog (thanks Carlton!!) in time for this, your 100th post. It’s a great one! Congrats, and may you have 1000 more just like it. Not that I care.

  5. Pingback: Uncommon Courtesy « BobbyBluford.com

  6. bbluford says:

    Thanks, Sharon. I bounced around a little on your blog (http://cheesypennies.blogspot.com/), as well. I’ll be following you, as well. Looking forward to learning from you along the way. I’ve already been reminded of something I’ve been meaning to do. Read more fiction! Everything can’t be about learning and growing every second of the day.

  7. Pingback: Renaming Your Liabilities « BobbyBluford.com

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