This past week, alone, I’ve witnessed the following:
- An e-mail from a Christian newsletter publisher talking about treating joint pain.
- A department store with a bank, clinic, and tax prep booth – all where better shoe, books, and clothing selections once were.
- A bar-b-que restaurant serving fried fish. BAD fried fish.
- Another e-mail newsletter (“specializing” in health) talking about relationships.
And it’s just Wednesday!
Is it just me, or are people trying to DO too many different things and BE too many different people these days?
Fast food restaurants may be the worst. There’s even one clown who seems to think he’s Starbucks. Stick to the fries and burgers, buddy. Oddly enough, people seem shocked that this restaurant is falling in profits and popularity. That happens when you stop trying to “perfect” what you’re supposed to be doing.
There’s a beauty salon I drive by frequently and it seems that each time something new has joined the lineup: manicures, pedis, botox, fillers, and other things I can’t even pronounce. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to drive by today and see, “Now doing open heart surgery! Get your nails done before you even come to!”
Even my own much, much beloved coffee shops are branching out further and further. Pastries, sandwiches, smoothies, candy, nuts, etc…
Trying to do everything doesn’t perfect anything.
Take the flip side. Think of Chick-Fil-A, Cracker Barrel, NBA Players, and Waffle House.
- Chick-Fil-A sticks with chicken. They concentrate solely on what’s on the sign out front and you will not find better chicken in any fast food restaurant.
- Cracker Barrel doesn’t try to be anything they’re not. They serve great home-style cooking and leave the rest to… well, they leave the rest to the rest.
- NBA and WNBA Players Defy Logic. Ever think of how incredibly difficult it would be to get a small ball into a hole that’s hanging so far away? All while there are 5 athletes, your size or bigger, giving their all to defeat your purpose?! But these men and women commit themselves to the game and they are just mind-boggling to watch. They specialize in perfecting their game and their conditioning. They do things we can’t even begin to imagine doing because they work at that one thing – basketball.
- Waffle House? Breakfast food all day, all night. Can you imagine how ludicrous it’d be to see “Now serving lasagna” on the sign out front? A lot of the scenarios we see everyday are just as ludicrous, we’ve just gotten used to them.
Now let’s bring it home to where we live. Do we ever fall into the same traps to the ones above? Of course we do. It’s human nature, I suppose to think, “More = Better.” Wal-Mart’s reasoning is that if they create essentially a “small city” inside each store, more people will shop there. They think, “Let’s give them a bank, a clinic, a beauty salon, a pharmacy, an Optometrist, a place to do their taxes…”
None of which, of course, makes them a better department store. Ironically, it makes them LESS valuable as a department store because all the other clicks and whistles are squeezing out the LAST things they should be squeezing out. I can remember when Wal-Mart had the cutest, most affordable shoes in town. This was about 10 years ago and their selections have gone downhill since. I guess they just don’t have room for things like that anymore.
Mark my words, Sam Walton would not be a happy man. Can you imagine what he’d said the first time someone said, “Hey, Mr. Walton, I have a great idea. Let’s put a clinic inside each store!”
Don’t get me wrong, I applaud ambition but, like they say, “Ambition without knowledge is like a boat on dry land.” And since NO ONE knows everything, that stands to reason that a lot of people are treading water they never should have jumped into in the first place.
What happens when an individual tries to do too many things, wear too many hats, and tries to walk on too many different paths? Well, for one thing, they look like a darn fool.
On a more serious level, though, he or she suffers in three key areas:
- The MORE they do and try to do, the LESS happy they will be. They find themselves so BUSY trying to do all things and be all things that they’re left with no time to simply enjoy life. Life is passing them by and they never actually even look up long enough to see it. Stress is a particularly ugly monster and he prefers people who have too many hats. They’re like some kind of signal to him – he thinks, “Easy prey!” How can you tell if stress is sneaking up on you or already has you in his clutches? I think the easiest way is to ask yourself how your RESPOND to situations and people. Do relatively small things set you off? Do things that once wouldn’t even measure a blip on your radar now cause your heart rate to speed up, your neck muscles to tense up, and an angry disposition to show up. Sure signs of stress…. and since stress leads NOWHERE good, deal with it today.
- The GO! GO! GO! mentality creates physical problems that can be deadly. Heart disease, hypertension, and even gastrointestinal problems can, and are, directly linked to this type of hyper lifestyle and mindset. Have you ever seem someone in the throes of thinking they had to do a million and one different things? I swear, sometimes they even forget to breath.
- Relationships Suffer. While this is the last one in the list, it certainly is not the least. Moms and dads who think they HAVE to work extra long hours at the expense of actually spending time with their children are making one of the biggest mistakes known to man or womankind. It’s also one of the mistakes they’ll, one day, regret the most. The same can be said for husbands and wives who become so wrapped up in “making money,” “having more,” and “getting caught up…” when every topic of conversation revolves around these subjects, the stage is set for misery.
Life isn’t something we’re going to be able to get out and enjoy for hundreds of years, you know. If you’ve become so busy that work or money are all you ever think or talk about and you’re forever looking for your next hat – do yourself (and everyone in your life) a favor…
- slow down
- live in the moment
- enjoy life
Your level of happiness will rise with each hat you cast aside. Life is to be enjoyed, not rushed through.