Completing the Mission

Life consists of countless small missions and hopefully some Big, Hairy Audacious ones, too.  Whether big or small, there is one common denominator — the human factor.  People are susceptible to distractions that cause them to lose focus on the mission.  Sometimes the distractions are real, sometimes they are figments of the imagination.  But, the fact is, human beings are “focus challenged.”  I suspect there’s a little ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) in all of us.

What distracts you from completing your mission?  What can you do about it?  There are useful tips for enhancing focus, such as developing a personal mission statement.

“… develop a personal mission statement or philosophy or creed.  It focuses
on what you want to be (character) and to do (contributions and achievements)
and on the values or principles upon which being and doing are based.”

— Stephen Covey, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, p. 106

Great advice!  But, as valuable as a mission statement is, I’m sure Stephen Covey would agree that it is only the beginning.  The ability to get focused, stay focused, and restore focus when we lose it requires a comprehensive, on-going  program of preparation.  Such programs are often called “personal development” or “professional development” or “leadership development.”  The point is, if consistent and strategic physical conditioning prepares us for our physical challenges, doesn’t it make sense that intellectual, emotional, and spiritual development is at least as important?  I wonder how you are conditioning yourself to become stronger and more effective in dealing with the challenges of your mission.

Here’s my invitation to you.  Watch this cool video I discovered about staying focused on the mission.  It’s a humorous and powerful presentation that will have you ROFL.  When you’re back on your feet, think of ways you can develop yourself to deflect distractions and complete your mission.  Maybe its learning to prioritize, reading a personal growth book, or devoting time each week to reflect on your life’s purpose.  It probably means more, like engaging in a leadership development program or hiring a business coach.  Whatever you decide, strike while the iron is hot.  Get started right away and start enjoying the satisfaction of completing the mission.


I don’t know what inspired me to write about humor this day. The books I’m reading lately are drop dead serious. I haven’t seen any funny television commercials for the longest time. I guess it must be the spontaneous memory of something I read long ago, which is one person’s definition of humor.

“There are 3 types of humor: 1) a logical series of events leading to an illogical conclusion; 2) an unpredictable substitution of reason; 3) slipping on a banana peel.” — Unknown

Now that we have a working definition, let me note that humor can be found almost everywhere, even at funerals and in church. In my experience, most pastors don’t know how to tell a joke, at least not as well as a church secretary. Some great humor can be found in church bulletins and announcements. Imagine a moment of quiet reflection being interrupted by one of the following announcements?

“Our youth basketball team is back in action Wednesday at 8 p.m. in the recreation hall. Come out and watch us kill Christ the King.”

“The low Self-Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 to 8:30 p. m. Please use the back door.”

“8 new choir robes are currently needed, due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.”

So much for creating a mood of reverence. This type of amusing slip-up can also be found in the news media. I recall a summer day in 1977 like it was yesterday. On my car radio I heard the following late-breaking report:

“Groucho Marx died yesterday after 86 years in a Los Angeles hospital.”

Groucho would have been proud!

Humor is so important that it has its own Internet “initialisms” such as LOL and ROFL, which mean “Laughing Out Loud” and “Rolling On the Floor Laughing.” Humor’s significance goes beyond amusement and pleasure. It helps us cope in difficult times. It helps us lead. It helps us teach. Read the following quotes and you’ll understand what I mean.

“Humor is a rubber sword — it allows you to make a point without drawing blood.” — Mary Hirsch

“Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentments slip away and a sunny spirit takes their place.” — Mark Twain

“Our five senses are incomplete without the sixth — a sense of humor.” — Author Unknown

“Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious.” — Peter Ustinov

“Comedy is tragedy plus time.” — Carol Burnett

Humor is a matter of personal taste. What is funny to me may not be funny to you. Therefore, any attempt to make a top ten list is futile. Even so, I thought this issue of Clancy’s Quotes would be incomplete if it didn’t include some humor that made me LOL.

“Give a man a fish, and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll buy a funny hat. Talk to a hungry man about fish, and you’re a consultant.” — Scott Adams, Dogbert; Dilbert cartoons

There once was a young man from Lyme
Who couldn’t get his limericks to rhyme
When asked “Why not?”
It was said that he thought
They were probably too long and badly structured and not at all very funny.
— Anonymous

“Golf combines two favorite American pastimes: taking long walks and hitting things with a stick.” — P.J. O’Rourke

“2 is not equal to 3, not even for large values of 2.” — Grabel’s Law

“Son, if you really want something in this life, you have to work for it. Now quiet! They’re about to announce the lottery numbers.” — Homer Simpson

“The doctor says to the patient, ‘Take your clothes off and stick your tongue out the window’. ‘What will that do?’ asks the patient. The doctor says ‘I’m mad at my neighbor!”” — Henny Youngman

“Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up because they’re looking for ideas.” — Paula Poundstone

“Q: What do you get when you cross an insomniac, an agnostic, and a dyslexic?
A: Someone who stays up all night wondering if there is a Dog.”
— Groucho Marx

God Bless,

— CC

© Copyright June 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
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