There seems to be the thought that being first at something is the preferred method. It is entrenched in our psyches from birth, whether it’s little league sports, being the head of the class or making the most money. It is the pursuit to get ahead at all cost no matter what. You can find it at home, at work, on the ski slopes and on Fox or CNN as you watch certain candidates starting to seek the limelight this new election season.
In this competitive environment it begins to become a type of Machiavellian model–to progress to an end result at any cost, to achieve more knowledge, more power, more this, or more that. Ultimately, by following this model to win at any cost we lose, we lose ourselves. Sometimes taking a breath and doing nothing is the best thing to do. Sometimes going for a walk or getting in your car and taking a scenic drive while listening to Rachmaninov, Shostakovich, Chopin, Miles, or Bill Evans is the best thing you can do. But the reality is, is that the people who get this already do this. And most likely the ones that don’t are at this very moment thinking of ways to get on top. Their egos, don’t allow just being there–being in the moment. In my experience, there is no top.
You need that down time, you need to have a place to go and think. If all you are doing is trying to catch up and ultimately win–whatever that is– you will most likely miss the point of what the universe is trying to whisper to you. If you want to see a person and what they stand for you have to understand what it is they are doing when no one is watching them. Hard to do, but for yourself.
Perhaps that’s why there is a Camp David. Perhaps that’s why Lincoln had a cottage that he would ride to about 3 miles North of Washington, D.C. As he rode to that Victorian cottage to find refuge, he would have undoubtedly seen the scores of Union troops encamped for a cause he believed deeply in, a cause to which thousands were dying and would continue to die. Quietly, and by himself, and away from the confusion of the White House he drew up the plans of how to unite a divided country, mourn the death of his son Willie, and dream up the Emancipation Proclamation. He understood the necessity of space and just being there.