What’s going to happen to the world the day after you’re gone?
Whoa. Back up.
Do you care what happens to the world the day after you’re gone?
I meet a lot of people who are just drifting through life. Trying to stay out of trouble. Avoiding any kind of impact, good or bad, on anyone. Marking time at their jobs until they can retire, put their feet up, and “finally start living”.
One chap last year told me he had one year left to work.
“What will you do then?” I asked. “As little as possible” came the reply.
My prediction? He won’t last long.
Or, he’ll find himself henpecked and harried by those around him, who will happily use the time that he won’t.
He’ll be wondering how he ever found the time to work before. Almost every retiree I meet says that.
A car without an engine is a rusting hulk. The scrapyard beckons.
The only reason for the car, in fact, is to allow the engine, and you, to get around.
Human beings are not a true lifeform.
DNA is the lifeform. We’re all just carriers for our DNA.
Every human being is just another experiment being run by DNA. What, that person crashed and burned. Whoops, I guess that experiment was a failure. Let’s not repeat that one.
But there’s a twist.
A gold nugget that most people never learn:
You get to change your DNA.
Disclaimer: I’m not sure how true this is physically. I’m no geneticist. Although I am reading an increasing amount about how you apparently can switch certain of your genes on/off by your behaviour.
But mentally? You can alter, choose, change, adapt, tweak your mental and psychological DNA.
Most people never do.
Their DNA is, Survive. Stay alive. This life is a crock. Survive until tomorrow. Hang on until I retire. Life sucks, then you die.
They’re really just acting as carriers for other people’s DNA. Their own DNA forfeited the match and left town.
Last month, while in Toronto, I had an encounter I won’t forget in a hurry.
Pastor G, as he’s always been labelled, is Gerald Griffiths. Good old Welshman. With a name like that, what else could he be.
He inherited the label from his wife, Mrs G, the storyteller.
He a career clergyman, she a great storyteller. So great, in fact, that she started recording them and shipping them around the world to pastors and teachers in far-flung places where education was hard to come by. It turned into a tidy little business called A Visit with Mrs G.
Mrs G is gone now, but Pastor G was one day shy of ninety-six, and he stood and talked with me at the back of the church for twenty minutes.
For twenty minutes.
If he was in any pain or discomfort, he showed none. Seen many 96-year-olds stand for more than 60 seconds?
He’s a bit hard of hearing, and slightly stooped, but that’s it. His eyes are unchanged. Dark. Focused.
His eyes lock on you, and you realize very quickly: He’s on you. You have his full attention. He is listening.
And his mind? Razor-sharp.
I had not seen him since he officiated at my wedding 27 years ago. That had been his last official act as church pastor before retiring.
Retiring. Yeah, right.
He hasn’t retired.
“I’ve got five projects on the go. You know about the church in China? It’s an adult church, because the authorities make it difficult to teach the Bible to childen. But that’s changing. So we have to equip the people to be Sunday school teachers. We’re translating Mrs G recordings into e-books and podcasts and sending them over via the net. That’s just the biggest project, but there are four besides. What’s your email address? Here, jot it down for me. You used to work in wind engineering, didn’t you? How are those chaps that you used to room with? Are they still in the faith? Where in the UK are you? What do you make of Theresa May? I wish she’d do away with Boris Johnson, he’s a loose cannon.”
And with that, he walked away. Unaided. No cane, no wheelchair.
Met many 96-year-olds with an email address? Who know what an e-book is? A podcast?
That, folks, is great DNA. My mind was blown.
Note to self: Be like this when I’m 96. When I’m 106.
This engine is waaaaaay oversized. Well maintained, purring like a cat. It will eventually blow the body and chassis apart, but he doesn’t care. He’s tied up with the engine. He isn’t him, he’s the DNA.
What’s your DNA?
In the 1960’s, a young man, just graduated from Cambridge law school, returned to his island home and found it in political turmoil. The federal government resented the islanders, and declared them all persona non grata.
They didn’t want independence, it was forced on them.
The island had loads of disadvantages. Mostly uneducated peasants. A history of ethnic conflict. High population density. No natural resources. Hot, humid climate.
Only three advantages.
(1) Strategic location for trading.
(2) Human brains. Lots of ‘em. Uneducated, undeveloped, but loads of potential.
(3) One local bloke with a decent education, vision, optimism, natural leadership, and loads of pluck.
Go check the place out today.
Lee Kuan Yew had great DNA. Singapore punches waaaaaay above its weight.
When the Boxing Day tsunami hit Aceh and Phuket, the Singapore navy and air force scrambled. Ships sailed and aircraft flew in aid.
The tsunami-affected governments had two reactions:
(1) Gratitude. Obviously. They needed the help.
(2) Shock and fear. Who are these guys? Where did Singapore get this military capacity? The puny little flyweight we cut adrift fifty years ago is a potential threat. Living next door. Damn.
Lee Kuan Yew saw it all in his mind long before it happened. He had a vision for what his little island home could be. Even after he was gone.
Have you picked your DNA yet?
If you don’t pick your DNA, someone else’s DNA will pick you.
What your mind can imagine, you can create. What you do not imagine, never happens.