Byron's Babbles

Am I Done? No!

Posted in Coaching, Education, Leadership by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on September 30, 2012

The Horizon Has No Boundary

Yesterday (September 29, 2012) I had the honor of addressing the graduates of the Northwest Indiana Campus of the University of Phoenix on the beautiful campus of Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana as their keynote speaker. Earlier in the summer I addressed the University of Phoenix graduates of the Indianapolis campus with a speech I titled “It’s Not All About You!” When asked to serve as the keynote speaker again for another campus I asked what they wanted me to focus on. They told me to give the same speech I had in Indianapolis. I featured that speech in my blog on July 4th. To read the speech click here.

The University of Phoenix has an incredible graduation ceremony which features graduates reflecting on their experience with the university. I was moved by the student speakers yesterday. One, Sherri Green, told about how she had gotten tired of training individuals with degrees to take her jobs. She then told how she started her degree and then was in an accident and had to fight through a long rehabilitation to finish her associates degree. Throughout her speech she kept referring back to a question – “Am I Done?” Then she would say, “No!” She finished her speech with “Am I Done?” “No,” she continued, “I have now started my Bachelor’s Degree!” I was so moved because my speech of “It’s Not All About You!” could easily be retitled “Am I Done? No!” because I spent a great deal of time talking about a very important point – YOU MUST BE READY FOR WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW YOU NEED TO BE READY FOR!

This also goes right along with my new definition of a Lifelong Learner: Education continues an unfinished past into the future. Think about it; this applies to all of us. We all have an unfinished past. As James P. Carse put it in the tremendous book Finite and Infinite Games: A Vision of Life As Play and Possibility (Carse, 1986) one never reaches a horizon. It is not a line; it has no place; it encloses no field; its location is always relative to the view. One can therefore never be close to one’s horizon, though one may certainly have a short range of vision, a narrow horizon.

Those of us who live life as an infinite game see life as theatrical and never ending. We see our death happening while we are living. The finite see it happening at the end of life. “We are never somewhere in relation to the horizon since the horizon moves with our vision” (Carse, 1986). In other words, every move I make is toward the horizon not toward a boundary. As Carse (1986) put it: “Who lives horizontally is never somewhere, but always in passage.” I am hoping you are like me and what to live horizontally, because; I AM NOT DONE!

Carse, J. P. (1986). Finite and infinite games: A vision of life as play and possibility. New York, NY: The Free Press.

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