Creative Destruction…a part of life

November 8, 2017

From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this gem of understanding from an unlikely source –

“Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”  (Marilyn Monroe)

In the world around us there is a process called Creative Destruction, which is defined as the “process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one”. Sometimes the changes take place quickly and sometimes it is what seems like slow motion. A prime example that we can all relate to is the Creative Destruction that took place in the retail world when Sam Walton started Walmart. At the time Walmart was created the big names in so-called big box” retail were Sears, Montgomery Wards, K-Mart and Penney’s. Today it is Walmart, Target and Kohl’s. The old gave way to the new sears store closing(although Penny’s has held on longer than the others). These days stores like Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Kohls are fighting to remain relevant in the on-line world of Amazon, Ebay, ETSY and Wayfair. Things continue to evolve and Creative Destruction continues to change our landscape.

I suspect that Marilyn’s little quote may have had a more personal meaning, since she had a few marriages fall apart and she moved on to new men in her life. That seems to happen all too frequently in marriages these days. One of the reasons that companies fail, especially retail companies, is that they don’t evolve as the world around them changes. Tastes change. Fads come and go. New generations have different desires in cloths and other things. The retailers who can keep a sense of those changing tastes survives, while others fail.

couple-looking-at-phonesPersonal relationships also evolve and change over time and it is the couples that can’t seem to keep up with those changes that end up in divorce. Many marriages are based almost solely on the relatively narrow base of physical and sexual attraction. Once that ardor cools a bit, if there is no underlying foundation of friendship and common interests, the “love” that was professed cools and creative destruction can take over. Cheating in a marriage is a form of Creative Destruction.

For some couples Creative Destruction in their marriage starts when the first child of the marriage is born and the man discovers that he is no longer alone at the center of his wife’s universe. The passion that once obscured all else may cool and faults that went unnoticed or overlooked before may bubble to the surface and become issues of contention or conflict. It is harder for that to happen, or at least for it to have destructive consequences, if one can also say that they truly like the person with whom they live. How many times have you heard, “the sex was good, but I couldn’t stand to live with him/her”?

What can be done to ensure that a marriage doesn’t end up on the dust heap of Creative soulmate1Destruction? I think it takes a mindset that realizes that a marriage is something that will evolve and must be constantly invested in to keep it relevant and growing. The birth of children must be viewed as a new opportunity to share new things together and not as a threat to the relationship. The sharing of responsibilities and work in a marriage must be viewed and an investment in the relationship and not as a burden to be borne.

The continued development and strengthening of the friendship aspect of the marriage must become more and more important as the sexual relationship runs its course over time. Viagra is not the answer. Working upon your friendship with your spouse will insure the longevity of the marriage. Sharing common interests. Doing things together. Sharing the parenting load and the household chores. Showing love to one another, in ways other than sex, all become more important over time. Things need not fall apart in

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“Image courtesy of Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

your marriage, in order for things to get better. However, things will change and you need a more solid base than just the sex that was there upon which to base your future together.

You can look at the changes that have occurred in your lifetime and come to the conclusion, “Yes, things changed, but I’m still here.” Those in a good marriage will say, “Yes, things changed but we’re still here, still together.” Jobs come and go, along with the people who were there. Old friendships from school or sports or other things in life may come and go. In the end, when you look back on the pictures of your life (real or in your memories) the one constant is that person standing next to you in most of them – your spouse. Remember that and work on that relationship as it evolves over time. What you’ll achieve is not Creative Destruction; but, rather, Creative Growth of your marriage.

Have a great rest of your week. Kiss your spouse and say “I love you” at least once every day and think a reason that it is true when you say it.

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Doing the right thing is never wrong…

February 13, 2015

There’s a song with lyrics that say, “If loving you is wrong, I don’t want to be right.” That’s a touching claim to make, especially around Valentine’s Day; however, another saying that I saw in a recent post from the Jack’s Winning Words blog contained this piece of advice:

“Never do a wrong thing to make a friend…or to keep one.”  (R.E. Lee)

That is particularly hard advice to live by for many confused and anxious young people, especially in their tween and teen years. It is also hard for many even after getting kids at schoolthrough the years of raging libido and crippling insecurity that sometimes define those tween and teen years. Even, so-called “grown-ups” often suffer from enough insecurity to do things that they realize later were out of character at best and just plain stupid at worst, all in the name of trying to “fit in” and make new friends.

The most basic problem with doing the wrong things to make a friend or to try to keep one is that your change of character is always just temporary and the burden of living the lie that you have created is not one that can be borne for long. The eventual revelation and correction of whatever that wrong was does not only take way any temporary advantage that you may have thought that you had gained, but also damages forever your credibility with that “friend.” They will realize that they can’t trust you to be honest about yourself or about them.

What is so hard about just saying “No, I can’t do that or won’t do that” in the face of the temptation to do the wrong things? Is it a lack of understanding of what is right or listeningwrong; or is it a fear of being rejected because you do understand that difference and chose not to do the wrong thing? How can that be bad? More important, perhaps; why do you want to be friends with someone who is urging you to do the wrong thing? What will that friendship be based upon? How can you grow that relationship when you can start off on such questionable grounds? Which direction will that friendship go from such a beginning – further down the path of wrong?

I don’t think that there is any valid argument that can be made that you are going into such a friendship in order to save that other person by compromising yourself and your values first. If you cannot get a positive reaction to someone accepting you for who you are and what you believe is right and wrong, then turn and walk away. That is not a relationship worth having.  I have only read some of the reviews of the book and the movie (disappointing according to most); but I suspect that at the core of the story of 50 Shades of Grey is a choice that was made by the young lady, perhaps out of naive curiosity as some reviewers have written, that was out of character for her. She friends at schoolabandoned her values for the thrill the unknown and the friendship (some may say the mentor-ship) of Mr. Grey. In the end, was that the right thing to do?

Sometimes we are faced with what can be even harder for us – doing the right thing in the face of a challenge or request from someone who is already our friend or loved one for all of the right reasons (or so we thought).  I have bailed friends out of jail or picked them up from hospitals when they had done something stupid; but I have also refused to hide someone who was on the run after doing something stupid. I tried to talk them into turning themselves in or to seek professional counseling help to avoid any more stupidity – I was not always successful at that. I lost some friends that way and I’m OK wioth that. I felt bad at the time, mainly for them; however, I felt good about not compromising myself or my values long after the incidents were over. Let’s face it, friends come and go, but you have to live with yourself forever and that’s a long time to be someone that you no smiling manlonger like. The old saying “to thine own self be true“, comes to mind.

So, as we head into another weekend, resolve to stay true to your values and not to do anything stupid or wrong just to try to impress someone so that they will be your friend. In fact, if you really want to be a valuable friend to them, make the effort to talk them out of doing those stupid or wrong things, too. Think of it this way: would the next lemming in line go ahead and jump off the cliff if his friend right behind grabbed him and suggested that they go get a Starbucks instead. They could have a lively discussion about what might be at the bottom of the cliff instead.

Have a great weekend and be a good friend…