Thursday, June 9, 2011

Necessary Endings: Rizal, Divorce and Apple

Endings are a part of the process of life - be it in business and relationships. That's what the book Necessary Endings is all about.

By Author Dr. Henry Cloud
While reading the book, my mind was in parallel running thoughts or memories of situations - be it in my life, business or in history- where to put something to a close had become necessary. Such events always come, and always not too obvious. Often our vision is blinded by emotions, by fear, by attachment, by disbelief. It is always after the fact when the clarity of their wisdom becomes more apparent. While the subject of endings seems innocuous enough, or hardly the subject matter fit for a full-fledged book - one will be thankful that author Dr. Henry Cloud had the reflectiveness to think it worthy of a treatise.
According to Dr. Cloud, endings are as much a part of life as beginnings are. And it's precisely so that beginnings could happen that we should allow for certain things to end. To resist to end things that are not working - is to be stuck.
Rizal and Necessary Endings
It being our national hero's 150th birthday, I remembered Jose Rizal, and how through his writings, he had advocated the end to Spanish rule in the Philippines. He believed in the Filipinos' capacity for self-determination; and while even then there were still no 'Filipinos' - still no real Filipino nation to speak of - Rizal knew that given the opportunity, we will find our own identity and make a great nation for ourselves. Of course, the Spanish, stinged by Rizal's novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, wanted to put an end to Rizal - literally. To them, that was necessary, to silence the growing clamor for independence among Filipinos, and to continue the Spanish reign in the country, starting with the pesky but undoubtedly brilliant Rizal.

Rizal's execution in Bagumbayan
Rizal was shot in Bagumbayan by the Spanish in December 30, 1896. To the Spanish, Rizal's death was the fitting, deserved and necessary ending. To the Filipinos, it was only the start to the necessary and inevitable demise of Spanish rule.
The ability to spot necessary endings is a skill to be learned; an important one because it determines the velocity of our personal, professional and national growth. It determines how fast we move from one bad relationship to the better relationship (personal and professional), from one bad business to the business that actually makes it worth your while, from one bad product to the product that conquers the world.
Apple, Steve Jobs and Saying NO
In the world of Apple and Steve Jobs, the ability to say no to one product is one of their key success secrets. Steve Jobs is a genius of a man, but before the world even got to see the first Ipod, Iphone or Ipad, they have had several iterations of the same product, and they had learned to let go of versions even at so late in the game, even at a cost of millions, in order to move in another direction which they feel is the worthy path to take. That the Ipod, Iphone or Ipad have experienced tremendous success is an argument to the worthiness of the process that Apple and Steve Jobs have taken.

Steve Jobs and his Apple toys
Divorce and Happy Endings
With divorce cropping up in the national psyche as another divisive issue, and reading Necessary Endings, I am further provided an argument for why divorce must be legalized. Coming from the paradigm of 'endings and beginnings as a part of life', truly marriages must also not be immune from that fact of life. Bad marriages must have a way out; bad relationships must be given a chance to end and start fresh. It is not about being pessimistic about relationships, it is about being humane, and being realistic. Undoubtedly, some people, however much they claim to love each other, are better off apart than together. Everybody deserves a happy ending, and if it takes letting go of bad choices, then we who are capable of choice must have the freedom to make it.
When we desire a different outcome - in our life, career, relationships, and business - we must learn to let go of the things and circumstances that generated the undesirable situation in the first place. The letting go, the letting it end, the MAKING it end - are necessary to the change we desire, to the new beginnings we look forward to.

“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.”
 (Richard Bach; Author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull)

Recommended Books:
Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward
Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not)
El Filibusterismo: Subversion: A Sequel to Noli Me Tangere
Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

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