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Day 47: Desperately Hoping

“Never despair; but if you do, work on in despair” -Edmund Burke

I should feel grateful really, that I have had 46 days on my positivity quest with no real test to throw me off course. Life was steady and responding to my effort. My days were full of my resolve and the hours of effort by many remarkable people who all willingly contributed their expertise to move Good Clean Love toward its next incarnation. Each day I took another step in reformulating our signature product, in re-branding our package, and in choosing materials to make our next run of products.

It all seemed too good to be true. Until today, when I learned that a mistake had been made in the label printing and worse still, it was not caught until 12,000 tubes have been ruined with the bad label. How many times in a life do we bear witness to the truth that “Bad things happen in minute and good things take a long time?” Only a single bad decision created the whole nightmare. A single bad decision that is not caught and multiplies itself so that the original project and all its inspiration is hardly recognizable.

Was it just yesterday that I felt content? This is life on planet earth… Things go wrong, usually without malicious intent. The mistake to my package happened because we were working to correct another problem. Despair is a natural reaction to big problems. I am fully aware that it is only money and time at issue here. It could be disease and death, or betrayal and brokenhearted-ness. I would choose time and money over the other options. But like everyone, I would rather just not face the big problems of life. I am as guilty as the next guy, thinking it should all just work out.

In some ways it always does just work out if you can get to seeing it that way. This is not the first really big problem that we have had in this evolving small business. Trademark infringements, embezzlements, messed up labels; these are all part of the landscape and each of them felt like the end for me. This is what despair does to me. It makes me want to quit. It questions my resolve. It makes me wonder if I really want to spend my time this way. It flirts uncomfortably with my fears of being seen and failing. William Burroughs once wrote, “Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape.”

So I guess the question is whether I can give up thinking I know how it’s going to go. It’s tough going as you write business plans to justify fictional financial forecasts- (F cubed). It’s a funny world, this 3D real time, trying to carve out a life that can justify the space it is given. Mark the time with something worthwhile. Make the world better because you were here. These are the things that I would want my children to know I believed in.

I am buying a biography of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe who said, “In all things it is better to hope than to despair.” Figuring out how he got to be one of the most influential and important figures in Western culture has got to be useful on a positivity quest. For those of you following along on the quest, thanks for sending the occasional comment, so it isn’t me talking to myself.