Just One Person

Life is one indivisible whole.   Mahatma Gandhi

It’s not the first time to get a splinter in my finger. I am working on a project at the street level of our multi-level condo at Orange Beach.  Being downstairs means a needle is not readily available. Since it is just a small inconvenience, I continue on with my work.  Not a good decision. Every time I grab a tool, I feel the irritation. Even when I feel no pain, I find myself thinking about this annoyance.   I make a conscious effort to not use that part of my hand so that I will not be reminded of the splinter that needs to be removed. After a while, I detect that my project is taking more time than usual. I am making an honest effort, but the results are less than expected and the project seems to be going in slow motion.

How in the world, I think, can a little splinter on just a very small part of my body take charge of everything?  It does not make sense. Yet, it is happening right in front of me.  I see it, feel it and do nothing about it.  Have you ever had a similar experience with a splinter?  Maybe you chose a wiser path and got rid of the irritation sooner than I did.

It is now later in the day and I am now upstairs.  I ask my wife for a needle. (Somehow she always knows where one is located).  She asks, Do you have a splinter?  Yes, I reply with a slight irritation in my voice. I have had it all day. Its time to get rid of it!

The revered Indian-born lawyer and inspirational leader, Gandhi, said, Life is one indivisible whole.” You cannot do something in one part that does not affect the other parts. I am sure that he was not talking about splinters, even though I think his words would fit perfectly.   He was saying that we are one single person, not multiple persons. What affects one part of our lives affects all other parts.  We start as one. We continue as one. We remain as one.

Look at Tiger Woods and his struggle in golf after the public disclosure of his personal life.  What he did as an individual outside of his own marriage and golf career became a big distraction. He took time off and did not play in tournaments. When he did come back, his game suffered. He was not the force that he had been in the past.  Today, his game is not the same and much of it has been attributed accurately to physical issues he has suffered in recent years. How much did his life outside of golf affect his career? At a minimum, it was a distraction. Do you agree? He has many fans in the golf world and they are cheering for his return to his former self.  I wish him well. His return to his past success will be directly related to getting all of his life in order.  Physical, mental and social components require his attention for him to be his best.  We are no different. The best chance for greatness in one area of our life is to first be really good in all areas.

The great Gandhi was trying to convey to us that each person’s life is not a group of compartments.  Each phase may be separated by time. You go to work and spend time at your job. You go home and spend time with family. On the surface, these are separate compartments. But, in the end, there is only one person with one journey traveling across time with different stops on the train of life.  The person at work actually goes home. You may be able to disengage from some of the thoughts and issues at work. You may actually be able to resist the temptation to talk about work with family members at home.  You still remain one person. The person who leaves work to go home is the same person who leaves home to go to work. There is just one of you.

If we truly understand this concept, then we have a great opportunity to advance our lives.  Anything done in order to improve life in one area will have benefits in other areas. A family life full of love and great relationships will positively impact workplace relationships.   If we are successful at work, it will spill over into our family.

Some give work a bad name. We have all listened to criticism directed toward jobs that require many hours on the job.  You have heard the common expression, ‘no one on their deathbed has ever said, “I wish I had worked more at the office.'” However, work at the office can be rewarding. People do things at work that change our world for the better.  Lives may be saved, great services may be offered, and much good can occur.  You do not have to be a heart doctor or brain surgeon to do work that is beneficial to others. The value of your work can positively affect homelife. I believe strongly that it should.

If you count driving to-and-from work, as well as any necessary preparation in accomplishing your assignments, you will spend one-third of your life on the job.  If you throw in all the conversations you have with family and friends about work, the investment in time increases. It makes no sense to me to try to be happy only at home if we also can be happy at work.  Does this seem right to you?

 A better system would be to treat your life as one whole.  This is your story. You are the author.  The chapters will be written from a lot of different places throughout life.  Home, job surroundings, and even other places, will all be settings for your story.   Allow your success and joy in any place to affect and direct your path in all the other places of your life. There is only one whole.

What is the current ‘splinter’ in your life?  Is there a ‘splinter’ at home? What about at work? In other areas of your life, is there a constant irritation that is distracting or holding you back from being all you can be? What are you doing about this?

What is working well for you at home, at work or in your social life? How are you allowing your success in one area to affect all other areas of your life?

Success is simply being and becoming the best at what you are meant to be and do in life. Every time you remove a splinter that is distracting, irritating or slowing down your progress, you have increased the opportunity for achieving your very best self.

If we have a choice, we would choose to be the best in all areas of our life. This can be difficult. How are you doing?  What are you going to do this week to increase the opportunity to be the best in all areas of your life?

Remove the ‘splinters.’  Duplicate the successes!