Just One Thing

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

I stumbled during a recent quest to understand why we celebrate Friday.  For some it’s just another day. For others it is their Monday.  For shift workers Friday could start as late as 11 o’clock in the evening. Why does this day get universal “thanks” for a crown?

I have noticed that people get physically ill when it comes to our leaders, noisy neighbors, and bullies, more than taxes and debt, flat tires, or when the grocery store runs out of our favorite ice cream flavor.

This makes sense. People cause way more issues than inanimate objects.

Fridays are the time we celebrate **not** being around people who make demands on our capabilities when the day is done. We look forward to our sharing time with the ones we love – the reasons why we work so hard all week.

I sought out a celebration film from last century. (Sounds weird saying it that way.) The 1991 film City Slickers, directed by Ron Underwood. 

Lovable comedic actor Billy Crystal plays Mitch Robbins, a man looking at his life as he is about to turn 40 years old. The virile and iconic Jack Palance  plays Curly, the Cattle Drive Boss who knows more about life than just which is the business end of a steer.

In a poignant moment, Curly explains that although his life is not cluttered with electronic gadgets and meetings and a harried daily pace, we all choose how we live. From Curly’s point of view comes my first stumble into something good.

“A cowboy leads a different kind of life – when there were cowboys.
We’re a dying breed. It still means something to me, though.
In a couple of days we’ll move this herd across the river.
Drive them through the valley. And, uh. . .
There’s nothing like bringing in the herd!

Jack Palance

Jack Palance – ‘Curly’

“You know what the secret of life is?
This. (He holds up one finger.)
One thing.
Just one thing.
You stick to that and everything else don’t mean $%!+.”

“That’s great,’ says Mitch Robbins, “but what’s the one thing?”

Curly replies, ”That’s what you’ve got to figure out.”

With that I stumbled into a second good thing, a short video featuring Geoff Colvin. He is the Senior Editor at Large for Fortune Magazine.  In it he speaks of compelling employees and owners to look inwardly and answer just one thing.

‘What is the Core Competency of our company?’

He insists that we ask ourselves what that thing is that we do better than anything else. And what that one thing is that we do better than everybody else.

This caused my revelation.  We celebrate Friday for ONE THING – because at the heart of what we do: our work; our labor; our effort; our presence – we have met a fulfillment goal.

We are resilient. On Fridays we can say that we have successfully outlasted our critics and our task masters. This gives us motivation to focus on what Curly mentioned.

When Monday comes back around, we can dynamically involve ourselves to greater pursuits of work for work at work.

For companies the one thing for success is hiring the right people.
For teams the one thing for reaching common goals is continuous training.

For each one of us, the one thing is . . .  That’s what you’ve got to figure out.

Happy Friday !

RIP Jack Palance (Volodymyr Palahniuk) of The Urkraine,
February 18, 1919 – November 10, 2006

Copyright © 1960-2016 Lawrence J. J. Leonard  All rights reserved

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