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Are You a Spectator or a Participant?

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Photo by HometownInvasion



If there is one thing that GTD teaches us it's to close the open loops in our life.  These often revolve around our project list.  It's often the  seemingly small projects ('buy gift for Claire') that we leave open until the very last minute, when we are forced to do something ('only one day until Claire's birthday').  The lesson?  Act on your thoughts and keep your projects moving...somewhere and somehow.



My students and I have been studying a critical event from the 1960's which I believe encourage the closing of some open loops and the opening of others.  Vietnam War?  Nope.  Labor movement?  Not even close.  We've been studying what is known as the Second Vatican Council.



Vatican II was a meeting (actually a series of them) which lasted from 1962-1965 and involved nearly 2500 Catholic bishops.  Some key decisions were made at Vatican II, including the groundbreaking idea of holding worship services (Mass) in the language of the people.  But that's not even remotely close to being the most important aspect of the council. 



What Vatican II did for Roman Catholics and for the world was to encourage people to go from being spectators to participants.   When we become participants, we take responsibility and that of course involves risk and vulnerability.



Some areas in life in which we can move from spectatorship to being players might include:



  • Leadership at work: rather than being a complainer, a participant takes action where he can and does his job to a high level.


  • Leadership at home: rather than putting himself first in the family, a participant seeks to lift up those around him.  What can I do to make my home happier for those around me?


  • Leadership in your community:  close an open loop (i.e. the school board is spending money irresponsibly) by running for office, volunteering on a committee or hosting a party.


You can see the interchange between leadership/participation and the closing of loops.  The best online resource for a Vatican II overview can be found here. I believe that we are all capable of leadership which is a fancy word for being a participant ... in life.


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