101 Days

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We made it.  We survived longer than most thought was possible after the election of Donald Trump.  During the election, I heard talk of the “end of the world.”  I am happy to report that so far, that has not happened.  I am not saying that everything is perfect, I am not saying that everything is good.  I am not saying that everything is going to be perfect, or that everything is going to be good.  I am simply saying we are still here, and maybe this is a good time to take a peak in the rear-view mirror.

If I am being honest, I could have done better over the last 101 days.  I feel like I did a relatively good job, but there was certainly room for improvement.  I would give myself a “B.”  I wish I could say A+, but I didn’t earn it.

I wasted a good amount of time on social media, reading endless arguments and articles that support and defend the various positions people hold.  I drank too much a few days, ate too much a few days, caused a couple of “semi” ridiculous arguments with my wife, where on one occasion I may, or may not have refused to modify my position to avoid being “wrong.”  I skipped a workout here and there, and slept in a few days when I should have gotten out of bed.  Over the past 101 days my biggest shortcoming was with my kids.  I had less patience with them than I should have, more than once.

On a positive note, I ate pretty clean, worked out hard when I could, got up early, and spent my time productively.  I had my patience utterly tried more than once, most often from people in check-out lines at the grocery store.  If you have never had the pleasure of standing in line behind a man demanding a manager so his “9 limes for 99 cents” coupon from a competing chain is accepted, I recommend the experience.  I often talk about controlling your emotions, and I am as susceptible to failing as anyone else.  Over the past 101 days, I did a good job of holding the line on that issue.  I feel I was true to my word, but I am also fortunate that every word coming out of my mouth is not recorded or transcribed for review and dissection at the leisure of others.

I did ok, plenty of room for improvement.

For those of you that thought I was going to post something political, sorry, that’s not who I am.  I care who is President, I respect the office, I try to pay attention, but I don’t look to politicians, Republican or Democrat for my salvation or sustainment.  I look to myself.

I have never known a President of this country and I doubt that I ever will.  They don’t call me for advice, and they sometimes make decisions that are counter to my best interest.  Yes, someone other than me has impact on the layout of the chess board I call my life, but I alone choose how I play the game.

Perhaps you think my board is different.  Perhaps you would tell me that I am privileged.  Maybe I am.  I come from middle class, blue collar parents and the public-school system.  I voluntarily enlisted in the military at 17, and volunteered again multiple times to achieve my chosen career path.  The opportunities I had are open to every citizen of this country, regardless of race, gender, or religion.  They are not for everyone, but they are available to everyone.  Everything I have today draws its origins from those opportunities, but having opportunities is not a guarantee.  I could have easily given up along the way, squandering their potential.  There is one privilege I cannot deny, I am privileged to be an American.  I won the lottery, and was born into the first world.

It is easy to sit back and judge 101 days of someone else’s life.  The President volunteers for a higher level of scrutiny by accepting the oath of office, but does that mean you and I should get a pass?  What would happen if that microscope swung on to your life, or mine?  I suspect flaws would be exposed.  I suspect we would all improve our game, work harder, and be more conscious of our actions.

It goes without saying that it is essential to hold the President, and those that work for him or her accountable.  I choose to leave that responsibility to those more qualified.  Personally, I would rather focus that effort and time on something I can actually control, myself.  I have lived through good bosses and bad bosses.  I have found that my situation never improves or is changed by analyzing how good they are at their job.  If I want my situation to improve, I need to take the time and effort to analyze how well I am doing MY job.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of working for a terrible boss, give it some time, you will.  The same holds true of co-workers.  Eventually, you will be in an environment where you don’t like those you work for, and with.  Welcome to the world, get over it.  If you cannot change their attitude and behavior, stop wasting your time worrying about it.  Focus on the things you can control, yourself, your actions, the example you set, your family, your community.  Anything beyond that is arguably a waste of time.  Regardless of how witty, sassy, and entertaining your post or meme is, it is not going to change the outcome of the world we live in.  Holding yourself accountable just might.

To those who are not able to control posting every single shred of information (news, articles, essays, opinions) about individuals you love or hate, consider this.  The endless barrage of information does not paint the picture of that individual, it paints a picture of you.  If you want to be a leader, act like one.  That starts with being critical of yourself, before being critical of others.

19 thoughts on “101 Days

  1. well stated , I enjoy the thematic approach to your blog. and the focus on what we as individuals can do, that cannot be repeated enough.

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  2. Leading up to this past election, I found myself weighing my family’s future on who was elected. I lost sight of what you speak of here. I have control of how I play the game. Really enjoy reading your thoughts. Keep’em coming. God bless to you and your family.

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    • But how you “play the game” is directly influenced by who is leading our country. I disagree that I’m not qualified to criticize and evaluate my president, especially THIS one, since he has no more governing experience than I do. Americans have an obligation to be active participants in our government, not just passive observers. In my opinion, the view expressed in this blog demonstrates everything that’s wrong with the country and is evidence of exactly why we have the president we have – people who don’t feel “qualified” to judge whether a politician is doing the right thing or the wrong thing, and leaving that decision to others. Seems like a lazy way to go through life.

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      • Tess-

        I’m 66 years old and have lived through a variety of President’s; the only one that had a small impact on me personally was Ronald Reagan… and not for the reasons you might think. He gave the military a double digit pay raise when he came into office and that definitely improved my life as a husband and father with 2 small children. Other than that, they come and go but our Constitution protects us from politicians going too far astray. As much as we might like to think the words we express about the political class are absolute truths and altruistic, they are really no more than opinions and everyone is entitled to theirs.

        Right now I’m hearing way too many “Chicken Little’s” telling me “the sky is falling”, but I still get up every day and go about my business… so far, so good.

        Liked by 1 person

      • No one said you are not qualified, or that you should not criticize, should you choose to. Nothing in what I wrote speaks to anyone’s qualifications other than my own.

        My blog isn’t for everyone, and nowhere in it will you find me saying that decisions should be left to others. My point, is that the most impact you can have is through your personal actions.

        The things you are assuming about what I am saying were brought here by you.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent! The world is still turning and the sun rises every morning. I can only control what I do and say and sometimes that is more than enough of a challenge for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I look forward to reading your comments Andy. I forward your e-mail to my four grown children, specially to my two boys. Keep up the good work!

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  5. Andy,
    You are two for two in making me take a look at how I am operating and making sure I’m on course. Sometimes a little outside perspective makes a big difference.

    Others,
    Make sure if you are criticizing those who are leading, you are doing it in a well informed way. Too many of us base our arguments and feelings off of the media. Take the time to do the research required to make a well thought out and educated argument.

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  6. Awesome thanks Andy, “response-ability” is a mantra I try to keep in focus. So many are so quick to judge others before taking a true account of themselves. Thanks for the reminder.

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  7. you don’t write like an idiot.

    good thing.

    too bad we can’t say the same thing for other idiots who have more followers than you

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  8. Andy, Just a heads up…ideas and quotes from podcasts you’ve been on and now your blog, have been and will continue to be incorporated into my leadership training for all my troopers and sergeants. You, Jocko, Leif, Echo, Hackworth, Boyd, McRaven, and in a strange twist…Joe Rogan, are all instrumental in helping me instill in and help my young/new troopers recognize what true discipline and leadership are. Keep it up. Safe Flights… Neil

    On Mon, May 1, 2017 at 11:33 AM, Confessions Of an Idiot wrote:

    > andystumpf212 posted: ” We made it. We survived longer than most thought > was possible after the election of Donald Trump. During the election, I > heard talk of the “end of the world.” I am happy to report that so far, > that has not happened. I am not saying that everything i” >

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  9. Andy, Well thought and written piece. Can I copy it for my students to read and discuss? We are examining the American Dream. Your piece fits perfectly with our engagement assignment. They are writing a letter to someone who could do something about an issue the students selected, researched, and proposed a solution. Your piece reinforces my suggestion that we can all make a difference with every moment.

    Thank you for any consideration!

    Sent from my iPhone

    Tracey Cook, Ed. D. Neuqua Valley High School Naperville Illinois

    >

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  10. andy, how’d you get in my head?! my 101 days were almost identical to yours……well i did stand behind some lady who wanted her tissue coupon redeemed that was 2 months expired but other than than, pretty similar…..my line is stand in front of a mirror and compliment or blame the person who is responsible for your achievements or challenges. TR says it best: “If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.” or was it Pogo? “we have met the enemy and he is us!”

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  11. Andy, Thanks again for an excellent read/share. I believe, as you stated, “patience” with our children is key and one of the most influential actions we, as humans can have on another human being. Parenting is one of the most important “Leadership” challenges we face, IMHO.

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