It is interesting how two languages may be similar and different at the same time. I have been fascinated by the English language since I was a little kid to the point that my parents paid for a private tutor to teach it to me. I was 8 at the time and I have loved English ever since. I have fond memories of me singing along the tunes of Pink Floyd and Genesis trying to say those words just right as if English were my native language (and yes I just gave out my age…). I soon discovered that there are many English words that mirror in structure and meaning those of other languages. I certainly found out that a lot of Latin influence is built into English and so I recognize words that are very familiar to me. Sometimes, though, their meaning is completely different and if I do not pay attention I can make some interesting mistakes while conversing with people whose mother language is English.
This awareness has become more acute for me in the last three or four months. In April, I was unexpectedly called to serve in a church leadership position that requires a lot of speaking, teaching and traveling throughout the Thompson-Okanagan region of British Columbia. It is a lay priesthood position and most of the speaking, teaching, and traveling occurs on Sundays but preparation and leadership meetings occur after working hours. I heard that I am a busy person and I was asked many times how I do it. That is indeed an important question to answer and my knowledge of a few languages may help.
One of the first thing that I have learned both professionally and personally is to have balance in my life. Stephen Covey explained many times that we need to spend more time in planning, preparation, strategic thinking, and goal setting. His mantra was always not to get bogged down in the busy-ness of life where you can get lost into many activities eventually to find out that most of those activities do not matter at all in the first place. Rather we need to identify what matters most and work on it first. To this he adds that emphasis must be put on “sharpening the saw”, in other words we need to take care of ourselves in order to create a balanced self that would carry us to do the things we need to do and that matter most filled with sufficient energy, health, and emotional strength.
Although this is a great concept, the reality is that many of times we still get bogged down in things that are distracting and at times even trivial and unimportant. As I face my various duties and responsibilities as husband and father, community leader, professional, teacher, and church leader, I realize that careful planning is very important and that flexibility plays a critical role as well. My version of “sharpening the saw” is found in the following quote from an ancient prophet who, in speaking to his people said: “And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength.” (Book of Mormon – Mosiah 4:27) Balance, to me, truly means wisdom and order, or in other words, selecting my priorities wisely and focusing on stamina rather than speed.
Balance, in Italian, means scale while the English meaning of balance would be translated with the word Equilibrium. We know that a scale is a measurement tool based on the balance of weight in order to determine its value. So, growing up, I’ve always thought of balance as a tool to reach equilibrium. The final goal is not balance but equilibrium which we can reach only through balance. Confusing? Not really. In English the word equilibrium means a state or feeling of mental balance and composure. Renowned scientist and educator Richard G. Scott captures this meaning using a different set of words. He said: “Peace of conscience is the essential ingredient to your peace of mind. Without peace of conscience, you can have no real peace of mind. Peace of conscience relates to your inner self and is controlled by what you personally do… On the other hand, peace of mind is most often affected by external forces such as concern for a wayward child, economic pressures, real or imagined offenses, deteriorating world conditions, or more to do than sufficient time to do it. An unsettled mind is temporary, transitory. Peace of mind is restored by resolving the external forces that disturb it. Not so with a troubled conscience, for it is unrelenting, ever present, a constant reminder of the need to correct your past mistakes, to resolve an offense to another, … Oh, a disturbed conscience can be temporarily masked by physical stimulation of the mind and body where one yields to the temptations of alcohol, drugs, pornography, and worse.” (LDS General Conference Report – October 2004 – http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2004/10/peace-of-conscience-and-peace-of-mind?lang=eng&query=peace+of+mind).
I recently read an article from Kenny Moore, author of the book “The CEO and the Monk” rated as one of the top 10 selling business books on Amazon. In his article Moore stated: “When I lived in the monastery as a Catholic priest, 20% of my superiors thought they were Divinely inspired. Now that I’m working in corporate America, the number’s up to 80%. Oddly enough, my years in the Church gave me some decent skills for succeeding in the business world. I often feel that the jobs have proven to be quite similar, much of my work continues to remain priestly: building community, repairing trust, offering hope, and trying to heal an inherently flawed human system.” (Your Work Place – August 2013 – http://www.yourworkplace.ca/business-lessons-learned-in-the-monastery/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=YW-MM+28082013&utm_content=YW-MM+28082013+CID_fce188297a6d6bddae5e53c2578a3e55&utm_source=Email%20marketing%20software&utm_term=Read%20more)
Gandhi said: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” In the end, it all boils down to finding the right formula to deal with all the things that happen in our life. But there is nothing magic to it. Work on your inner peace and serve others and the rest will fall into place!