There is an unspoken agreement in our home that I do the dishes. It works out this way about 90% of the time.
It isn’t because we have some liberated, modern family where gender roles are rebelled against and we have some intention to model some different way of life for our daughter. In fact, I find that whole movement of de-feminizing women and de-masculinizing men to be abhorrent, weak and utterly unhealthy.
The reason I like doing the dishes is actually very simple:
Because it is a task I can do and see the finished results in just a few minutes. When it’s done, there is completion. The kitchen is clean. The countertops, clean. And I can walk away having finished what I set out to do and lived long enough to see it completed! Almost instant gratification with something that matters!
That may sound strange, but considering how little of what I do in my life comes with that kind of tangible, obvious completion, it is actually something I find relief and great satisfaction in experiencing.
The nature of my life and my work is the opposite of doing the dishes. With few exceptions, everything else I do is a work in progress:
Raising our daughter is a work in progress. Being the husband I want to be for my wife is a work in progress. Helping my clients grow into the serious kick-ass young men and women whom they want to be, is a work in progress. All of these takes months, years and even a whole lifetime to do to completion, and the challenges, decisions, actions, mental processing and requisite learning never ends.
In part this is because I refuse to grow stagnant, complacent and engrained in a way of doing things that is outdated and irrelevant like the vast majority of our education and psychological treatment systems have become.
The world we live in is changing constantly and I refuse to be caught with my head up my ass delivering the same message and doing things the same way that worked a decade ago, when the people I interact with are not the same, are not living the same values, nor are they growing up in the same world.
My quest to stay relevant is not driven by a desire to stay in business. It is driven by something far deeper in me – something that only those who have a similar sense of calling about their life work seem to fully understand.
About 6 years ago, my Mentor made a comment to me that I had finally acquired enough skill and knowledge to be comfortable and successful for the rest of my life. I was 35 years old and I knew he was right.
I knew how to speak to audiences to evoke the emotional responses that made them feel inspired. I knew how to connect with kids and teens in a way that gave them serious hope – and I had a lot of knowledge about how life works to offer them that made me relevant well into their adult lives. I could reach many young people who were rapidly heading onto a path of mediocrity and turn them around to move towards real greatness.
Yet inside me, it wasn’t enough to be a big fish in a very small pond, nor was it enough to be better than the alternatives but not nearly as good as I knew was possible.
At times, I wish I were the kind of person for whom just being “an expert” was good enough. It makes life a lot easier. Especially with the standards in our inept society.
I’m not that person though, and I have to live with it every day of my life.
I have known geniuses. I have known a few true masters. I know what they put in and went through to gain that kind of depth, brilliance and capacity.
After 20 years of doing and studying this work, realizations and breakthroughs are coming rapidly now. Things I was not even capable of understanding even a few years ago and blowing my old work out of the water.
They are also making for a whole lot more new work to be doing to build an even deeper and broader foundation – work that will take years to complete and then by the time it is done, will likely have been supplanted by something entirely new to be building into the model and methods of how I live my life, do my work and find fulfillment.
Given that’s the way most of my life is, taking a brief break to do the dishes is incredibly satisfying. Okay enough for now, the kitchen sink is full and there’s just too much to say in one posting here.