Impressions, by Gregg Hake

The lake stood, undisturbed
Like a monk deep in prayer 
Or a thought not yet formed.
The surface waited to receive 
The impressions of the day
As stilly darkness darkness 
Ruled the face of the deep

I stood by the shore
Watching, waiting 
For the dawn’s first ripples
To reach the water’s edge. 
A fresh idea perhaps
Or the comfort of a loved one-
What will the day bring
And what shall I give?

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“The remarkable thing we have is a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.” – Charles Swindoll

There is so little in life over which you actually have control, so rather than struggle with those areas in which you have no hope of control, it makes sense to concentrate your feelings, thoughts and actions on those areas in which you do.

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Horror vacui

I once heard it said that nature abhors a vacuum cleaner, and after owning a dog that went into high panic mode the first time the groomer tried to vacuum the excess hair from his coat I would be inclined to agree with the statement. It is also clear that man abhors a vacuum, that is, that people are generally uncomfortable when there are nothing but blank spaces and question marks ahead of them. 

One responsibility a leader has to those he leads is to paint a picture of what lies ahead based on the best available information. He may not predict exactly what is coming or how things might turn out, but the events of the future do tend to cast their shadows on the present moment and getting good at interpolating from those outlines to distinct possibilities is an important skill if you are to lead effectively. 

Remaining silent on the matter of the future as a leader does not remain an option for long. There are leaders for a reason. Organizational structures serve a specific purpose. People depend upon leadership – for better if for worse – and in the absence of that leadership organizations stagnate, dissipate, or scatter. Suffice it to say that true leaders put vacuums to good use.  

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A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity.” – Dalai Lama

Leaving others guessing as to your intentions begs suspicion, doubles doubt, and heightens tensions. Even if your intentions are impure, transparency brings them into the light. And “sunlight,” it was said, “is the best disinfectant.”

Trust and security are the wages of transparency. 

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“The rapprochement of peoples is only possible when differences of culture and outlook are respected and appreciated rather than feared and condemned, when the common bond of human dignity is recognized as the essential bond for a peaceful world.” J. William Fullbright

The notion that peace is somehow established by a superior force subjugating a lesser one to its will, as is the case in the wars or conflicts between nation states, companies, or individuals, is patently false. Even if you win in the “I will beat you/crush you/make you pay” game, the net effect is not peace, but the further erosion of human dignity.

The absence of conflict is not necessarily evidence of the present of peace.

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“The native hue of resolution is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought; and enterprises of great pitch and moment, with this regard, their currents turn awry, and lose the name of action.” – William Shakespeare

Decisions are the means by which we move into a particular current of action. Decisions establish a vector of intent and provide the initial momentum for movement in a new direction. 

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