Deb & I, driving down the road, had a conversation that only Jay Leno would really appreciate. It started with us passing a landmark that I knew to be a Civil War battle area having studied the tactics of the commanders in that war while I was in the military.
I mentioned the civil war . . . which led to a comment about the War of 1812 . . . which brought wonderment about when the revolutionary War happened as it related to the civil War . . . and WHY they all happened . . . As we both rambled along, we finally reached that terrifying moment at which we both realized that neither of us could remember what we had learned in school just a few years ago 🙂
Thank God for “smart phones” . . . Within minutes I was able to “surf” to a mini on-line crash course in United States History. We verified that the Revolutionary War was pretty much a 7 year war BEGINING in 1776 . . . The war of 1812 was between the Brits and the United States (I was able to read a summary of the events of that war . . . Our own Tennessean “Old Hickory” Andrew Jackson engineered the final stand in New Orleans that ended the conflict) . . . The Civil War came later.
All of the above was in the recesses of our brains from school years of history and my military years of studying strategies for combat warfare . . . yet we had forgotten most of the significance of all of it.
That caused me to reflect on all that I have learned in my life – 6 years at MBA Montgomery Bell Academy – 3 years at Centre College – 2 years at UT @ Martin – 12 years in the army – 18 years as a REALTOR . . . what good was it all if I cannot even remember which came first – The Revolutionary war, the war of 1812 or the Civil war?
As I write this, the clarity of the “good” of having learned all of that information that I have since (very expeditiously) forgotten comes forth when I realize the wisdom of ancient war strategy and tactics as written in Sun Tzu’s The Art of War . . . Timeless wisdom that transcends the battlefield.
Know your limitations (and capabilities)
Know the lay of the land . . . and any impending obstacles
Understand the mission and vision
Know your opponent
In Deb & my defense, I might even be able to argue effectively that what we learned (and did NOT forget) from our History classes in Grade School was FAR more important than the dates and the details of the Historical events. We learned about Leadership . . . and persistence . . . and discipline . . . and innovation . . . and integrity . . . and STANDING UP FOR SOMETHING – ANYTHING!
Y’see – Anyone can ramble through life claiming ignorance and hanging out on the sidelines of life watching the world events pass by without engaging . . . with the defense that no single person could possibly make a difference in the grand scheme of things.
Yet . . . Study a little History and relearn some of what you have forgotten from grade school, and you’ll find countless examples of less-than-extraordinary people making HUGE accomplishments simply because they decided to take a STAND.
Give it a try . . . Decide to LEAD anyone towards anything that matters regardless of how “big” or “small” it may seem to you.
It only requires you to slow down a tad and pay attention . . . and to stick your neck out once in a while 🙂