During this challenging and disruptive time, I think it’s important for all of us to revisit and perhaps reestablish what I call our ‘frame of reference’.
This frame of reference is a constellation of ‘points of reference’ that consists of the people, institutions, and barometers that we turn to in order to weigh, measure, define, and value our lives. Perhaps they could be considered more tangible expressions of the Core Values that I often write about.
Only these ‘points of reference’ are often flesh and blood, real world things. For a number of Old Money individuals, part of their frame of reference is their ancestors. Fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers, aunts and uncles who accomplished and contributed to family, business, or country.
While it’s always tricky business to measure yourself against someone else, to feel the pressure or motivation to achieve as much as your predecessors did is a common thing. We often want to ‘hold up the side’ or ‘do better’ than our parents.
Another point of reference can be our spiritual tradition. Are we living our best life in terms of adhering to our faith? Are we putting it into daily practice, or just going through the motions on Sunday at church?
Institutions of higher learning can inspire us to excel. Alumni and classmates who have, again, achieved and contributed can motivate us to be another notable link in that chain of men and women who honored the privilege they had and made the most of the wisdom they received at a college or university.
And finally, our country can ask us to give of ourselves and our talents. And even our lives.
My question is this: what constitutes your frame of reference? What holds you firm in times of trouble? What pushes you on when you’re tired and frustrated?
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Happy Sunday.