Skipper Armstrong here. I’m writing to provide a little tension about what some of the boys wrote yesterday. Not all that stuff about me being disconnected and unconcerned — that’s what I expect a bunch of union boys to think. They’ll come to their senses as they age.
No, I’m suggesting that this whole “look at every part of your life and draw conclusions” idea, valuable though it may be, is a little shortsighted. To wit:
• Your conclusions come from a finite perspective. You don’t know every way you’re developing, and an incorrect conclusion about your development could lead to unfitting pride or dismay. You can use eternal parameters, as the boys suggested, but once you wander into introspection, things get a little iffy.
• You may sacrifice some parts of your development to further other parts. Wayne Gretzky was on his way to be an all-star baseball player, but he chose hockey. Two years after joining the NHL, he could’ve concluded he wasn’t developing himself in all areas of life properly. A balanced, holistic approach would have made him too disjointed an athlete to become The Great One.
• You can lean on others to fill in the places where you are underdeveloped. Marry someone different from you. Hang out with people who are better than you at a range of activities. They will develop your weaker areas, but you won’t have to rely on your own strength all the time. This is the only way people succeed at long-term ventures.
• The categories of heart, soul, mind, and body all have infinite aspects. Yes, even the body, you gnasty, gnutty, gno-good gnostics.* There are a million unknown ways that you could be developing these things, and although trying to pare them down once a week to finite activities will challenge you, it will also make you view these parts of Man as less impressive features than they are.
I’m not here to say the boys were totally wrong. I think the healthy, cold splash in the face of realistic evaluation can motivate a man to seek greater things. But developing as a man isn’t half as easy as a four-question quiz makes it out to be. If we’re going to try and improve, we have to admit the internal tensions of improvement.
Get back to work.
*From the editor: please remember that the views expressed in this post are solely those of Skipper Armstrong and not those of the South Northampton Dvorsky Broom Factory, Skipping Bachelorhood, guest post-ers, or any persons otherwise related to the site.