Breakless Time

   This is a note to my oldest son upon his graduation from the Culinary Institute of America. On the one hand, it's personal, but on the other hand, it's very applicable to the idea of being remarkable:

  To my firstborn son Sam: You have just passed over, a few moments ago, into Breakless Time. Your entire lifetime, up until this morning, has been punctuated with regular and numerous breaks of 6-week sessions, quarters, semesters, and summers. And with each period, someone else has set expectations and milestones for you. But now, with your final graduation, you are passing into another kind of life... One without the steady heartbeat of the breaks you have known all your life. And with the passing of the breaks comes the passing of the expectations and milestones. One day fades into a month, and seasons into years.

   But the real tragedy isn't that life slips away, because it gets away from us all. Rather, the great sadness is how many people go through the rest of their lives expecting someone to give them their next assignment.

   There is no next assignment. Nobody appoints you to greatness. Nor can you ask anyone's permission to be great. Also, you can certainly be good by doing things you're qualified for, but greatness happens far more often as a result of doing things you're not yet qualified for... and that nobody else is, either. So go out and find a need that isn't being met yet... and fill it!

© 2012 The Guild Foundation Press