Sunday, January 11, 2009

George Carlin and Goal Setting

What does George Carlin have to do with setting goals? Surprisingly, quite a bit. Before I explain the Carlin connection let me tell you my goals for 2009.
1) Run a sub-four hour marathon.
2) Log 1261 miles (1 more mile than 2008... just to prove that I still have it ;>).
3) Run a spring and fall marathon.
Nothing too surprising here. These goals are a variation of goals set by millions of runners... run stronger, run faster, have fewer injuries, run greater distances, eat better, lose weight, gain core strength.... they're all honorable goals and we should stand proud, but do you ever feel something's missing? That's where Carlin comes in.
George Carlin wrote that the role of the comedian is "to find the line in the sand and take a giant step past it". He was all about ruffling feathers and causing the establishment to squirm. He was forever pushing the boundaries and nudging people out of comfortable, preconceived notions. He made us think bigger than the times we were living in
and, no coincidence, we had a few laughs along the way. Carlin wrote the following passage shortly after his wife died. In typical Carlinesque style he reminds us to think bigger than ourselves and our pedestrian aspirations, to run past the line in the sand.
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done
larger things, but not better things.
We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stock room. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete...
Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.
Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.
Remember, to say, 'I love you' to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.
Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
George Carlin died on June 22, 2008 from heart failure. He was 71.
To the previously mentioned three goals for 2009 I add the following:
4. To love more.
5. To hate less.
6. To apologize when I have done wrong.
7. To find the line in the sand and run beyond.
Thank you to my perfect sister, Judith, and her beautiful partner, Heather, for their continued inspiration. Michael

1 comment:

Jen said...

That was amazing and true. I have often thought about how I got a cell phone for emergencies and now it's turned into something that people think they can get in touch with other people anytime anywhere and they are upset if they don't get through. All these conveniences just make life more complicated. We used to survive without them right? I like your goals. I'm sure you'll accomplish them. Thanks for all your kind words and advice. It is so appreciated!