Benjamin A. Gochberg
Valley Voices

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June 11, 2014
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Vail Daily column: From heart to heart

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

I invite you to take a few moments with me to perform a bit of a personal experiment. It starts with a simple question: Who are you? For most of us, this question is not necessarily something that we must address on a regular basis. There are a select few that may be able to offer an immediate answer, and there are some that won’t even dare to ponder the question.

The average reaction to this question is usually our mind pointing to our accomplishments, our professions and our families. Although these things are important, and indeed, important parts of our identity, they are not truly who we are. These things are often results of who we are, or the results of choices that are made based on our self-definitions.

A different mind might point to a car, clothing, a house and the things we choose to surround ourselves with that provide us with some shallow subconscious reassurance of self. This need for reassurance also stems from our identity of self ... but the need, and the things we choose to surround ourselves with ... no ... this isn’t who we are either.

You see, all of these things are painfully temporary. They can change. Often, they can change without our immediate control. The coffee in your hand while you read this article, the office in which you sit, and yes, even the way you look today is temporary.

And so, I ask again: Who the hell are you?

I have to believe that the great blessing and curse of life lies at the heart of this question. If you strip away all that surrounds you, if you write off your profession, your education, and yes, even your good deeds as mere results of who you are, there are only a few items left:

Your ideals.

Now, I want to be clear that what I’m talking about has nothing to do with our beliefs. Beliefs, according to the definition that I’m using for this experiment, are methods of thinking which we use to support our underlying ideals. For instance, an individual can believe that their actions will be met with judgment at some future time, and deduce that they should therefore treat people well, but this is a belief that is a result of an internal ideal; an ideal that human beings should be intrinsically good, and seek to do good.

I understand that the head and tail of that idea are not always directly related, and while we could tear apart the explanation above and poke holes in the semantics, the core concept is where I would ask you to place your focus.

Our ideals, and the choices we make because of our ideals, define who we are. It is the identification of those core ideals that will eventually bring us together and create a sustainable sociological synergy.

I would like to believe that all of us share many of the same core ideals. It is with this basic assumption that I would like to highlight a few of them. By drawing attention to just a few of our common ideals, I hope that we might be able to more easily act on them, and recognize that we share more in common than we might casually admit.

• You are imperfect by your own definition, and it’ll be fine, so get over yourself and get to work. Imperfection is common and beautiful. Allow any guilt you feel from past choices to be an indicator for future actions. Now move forward. Go and do.

• You are greater than you are currently pretending to be. You will be a different person, and likely a better person tomorrow. Commit to your own greatness and stand with nobility.

• Your excess of talent and resources in a certain area is your duty and careful stewardship to share. Play ball. Create leverage for yourself and others.

• You need love and you need to give love in a variety of ways. Be brave enough to love all and live an open life.

And there are so many more….

I hope I might live and act fearlessly upon some of the ideals we share in common, and look forward to working in the same direction with you. From my heart to yours, across the never-ending divide of distraction and bias, I hope you will be brave enough to read my words in their intended light ... let’s not let a few words get in the way of all that we can do together.

Ben Gochberg is a commercial lender and business finance consultant. He plays, lives, works and is trying to do a little good in Eagle County. He can be reached for business inquiries or free consultation at 970-471-3546. Ben will donate a quarter to a charity of choice for each unique social media share originated from this article online during the seven-day period following publication. Calls to Ben to match, participate, or suggest a cause will be well received.


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The VailDaily Updated Jun 12, 2014 01:53PM Published Jun 11, 2014 12:27PM Copyright 2014 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.