There are many common themes amongst the conversations I hear at Pluralist Club events but the word I probably hear the most is ‘time’. Time to do all our work, time to fit in meetings, time to research new projects … time always seems to be in short supply.
However, there are also occasions when time is our enemy in the opposite way. We rush about making arrangements and plans, only to find that other people aren’t ready. We believe that we have got organisations involved, only to find that their decision-making processes are glacial, leaving us high and dry. The more people and companies involved in a project there are, the longer the chain gets and the slower everything becomes.
You would think that tunnel vision or single-mindedness would be incompatible with the Pluralist lifestyle but in my experience it is in fact a vital component of a successful portfolio career – the trick is to have several tunnels.
I rather like the way that ‘resilience’ is a noun that applies to both people and materials in similar ways. ‘The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness’ and ‘the ability of a substance to spring back into shape; elasticity’ (Oxford English Dictionary). Resilience is a quality we all need but particularly if we are going to put ourselves out there and offer ourselves up for new roles or experiences.
Even if you don’t have children at school, it’s impossible to escape the New Term feeling around us in early September. The shops, newspapers and TV schedules all tell us that summer is over, as do the longer and colder nights. Unlike New Year, we are feeling relaxed and refreshed at the end of summer, rather than bloated and hungover as we often do in early January. It seems like a good time to review our lives and think about what we are going to do next.
It’s hard to know how other people see us and however they do, it’s even harder to try to be someone you are not. Most of us have probably reached a stage in life where we no longer try to fit in with other people’s ideas of what makes a useful or interesting person. That said, we almost certainly have characteristics which our friends readily identify and to which we are oblivious, or, at best, indifferent. Yet these characteristics are often the ones we should be using, developing or taking into new fields.
As I write, those of my children still at school have just broken up for the holidays and sun-filled weeks of carefree joy stretch ahead of them until September, after which they will go up a year and embark of the next stage of their educations refreshed and ready for the challenges ahead. Well, that’s the theory anyway. The reality of course will be squabbles, boredom, rainy days, lack of parental engagement, long car trips to disappointing places and, if we manage to fit it in, a trip to stay somewhere else where all these things will be intensified.