Saturday, February 11, 2006

Alpha Male

I am a alpha male and in my work, I am surrounded by alpha males and females. The fact is the construction people that surround the table on a big project have been shaped by bitter struggles.

Projects can last three or more years in a highly charged atmosphere. There can be six fantastic ideas about a project around the table. The debate can be aggressive with each alpha willing to defend their point of view as if it was a struggle between life and death.

Each project becomes my baby. Once when I said I built the School of Architecture, Larry correctly and playfully asked how many bricks did I lay? This question made me laugh out loud. The truth is often funny. A large project involves hundreds of people and each contribution is critical to the whole.

I have been known to be brutal and ruthless in pushing a project forward on budget and on time. I have never subscribed to the notion that the end justifies the means. So I will never try to justify my actions. At the same time budget and time is my turf and hopefully I can attempt in being more creative in my approach in moving a project forward without bullying.

I like reasons, facts, and research as a basis of making good decisions. A civilized discussion resulting in consensus is my strong preference. Unfortunately, a rationale discussion among the alphas is often not the case. We have seen the results of alpha male dominated politics in the United States the last few years. It isn’t pretty and the results have done a lot of damage.

The transition from the construction meeting to the editing circle or to home life and friends is a tricky one at times. I don’t need a sword, armour or my shield when I enter my home. I have no urge to impose my will on friends or family. If I wish to learn anything I must listen carefully to people who tell me I am wrong.

Language is a hologram for the mind. If I say the name “Daniel”, what image will a person receive? My image is that I am four years old in Sunday school listening to the story of Daniel in the lion’s den. Sometimes I have to be Daniel in the construction project. I must never suffer from fear among alphas.

It is interesting to me how fear may shape our lives and our abilities. How we struggle to balance fear with courage. This process takes us on this incredible life journey. My greatest fear is losing control within myself.

Travelling alone has taught me courage. I sometimes find a strength and freedom to go places I can't reach in company. The arrogant, easily intimidated, ignorantly bold, and overly afraid are bad travelling partners. But when you are alone you carry the weight of your fears and there is no other voice to act as a sounding board to help evolve decisions on which the fate of your life depend.

Having the final responsibility of budget and time is like travelling alone. Being an alpha among alphas I attempt to temper my growls with aspects of compassion.



Anonymous said...

"Why live as a slave to humans? You belong here. with us. We've come to take you back!"
Alpha Wolf sprang foreward and sunk his teeth into the back of my neck. Up until that instant, any death I had caused was the result of some mysterious murky instinct-an impulse that seemed separate from myself. But the pain and the fear of Alpha Wolf's vicious bite released in me the deeply rooted need to survive at any cost. And with that need came the long forgotten knowledge of killing.
I dropped low and rolled onto my back, freeing myself from Alpha wolf's jaws, clawing upward at his exposed throat to force him backward. As I had expected, all members of the pack had closed in. I picked out what looked like the weakest one of the lot, and I sprung upon it. My intention was not to kill them all-just as many as I could.
I knocked the weakest wolf off balance and bit down on his throat until he stopped moving, until I had bitten clear through. I turned to choose my next kill, but the other wolves had backed away, disappearing into the shadows. Alpha Wolf alone remained.
In my brain I felt him speak again. "You remember well, Cousin. You see, you are not so different from us after all." Then the huge animal turned and slowly walked after the others.
I stood alone, over my kill. then I threw back my head and howled into the violent wind.

(excerpt from "New Found Land" a novel by Allan Wolf.)

Anonymous said...

Cool...I like to read that sometime...

full moon last night I forgot to howl

I am about to begin my work week..

and hopefully balance my animal nature with my spiritual nature..tricky thing that balance...

Anonymous said...

Oh WT, that was a frightening thing for Lulu aka Lost Lamb to read... but what beautiful writing. The guy's last name is Wolf? That's kinda weird in a wonderful sort of way.

And BB, what a fascinating blog you wrote, it was riveting, you have such an interesting point of view about your work and your life.

Anonymous said...

The wolf and the (lost) lamb. Wasn't that the original symbol for peace? Before the lion and the lamb lying together? BB has the wolf nature and the lamb nature in him, often at odds. He's working toward the day that they lie together and live in peaceful harmony. In nature things don't happen at the push of a button. In nature time evolves slowly. It's wonderful Bob that you are aware of the process and either patiently or impatiently work toward your peace of mind with the odds that are given you. It's wonderful too that nature is your ally.

The book "New Found Land" is from the Kitchener library. I am reading it. The dog is Oolum, the newfoundland. His real name given to him by his Mother. She told him that he would have to serve a human who would give him a different name, but never to forget his real name because that would be his survival. The human name given him was Seafarer. He belongs to an explorer and becomes part of a search in 1804 , setting out from America, to discover the fabled Northwest passage to the Pacific Ocean. The story is facinatingly and poetically told through the mouth of each member of the expedition, from their induvidual point of view. Oolum's sections are in cursive and tie all the other pieces together.

So BB, as soon as I read your alpha story I knew I had just read another alpha story. I searched in the book last night to find it in the pages already read. Couldn't find it and went to bed. In the morning, (Stubborn Taurus I am) I picked up the book first thing, and opened it and found the passage immediately in the yet unread pages part. (Sometimes I am tempted to read ahead, especially when the writing is in poem form.)
So, voila, that's my story.

And yes, Lulu, (by now found lamb) I was as struck as you was with the name Allan WOLF!!! Isn't that often the case? Like "The Never Ending Story" was written by Michael ENDE !!!

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm what kind of story should someone like Bobby "Bacon" write.

The harmony of the lion and the lamb is like the quest for the Holy Grail.

LL and WT perhaps a "Bacon" should write about a wild pack of pigs. Wait, I think it was done in Animal Farm.

I think I rather be a wolf than frying for breakfast in the morning.

Anonymous said...

They were domesticated pigs, unhappy with human treatment. Where are wild Pigs? I thought maybe in Welsh Mythology. There are Lloyd Alexander's books, 5 in a series. Nr. 1 being "The Book of Three." The main character is Taran, an assistant pig keeper who saves his beloved land, Prydan from the forces of evil.

I do not remeber if they are wild pigs. Have to reread that series. But I seem to recall that they roam in the forest, and although controled in a way, they are not in a pigsty. Anyway, I don't think the pigs are really part of the story line, except that Lloyd Alexander remarks, "Most of us are called on to perform tasks far beyond what we believe we can do. Our capabilities seldom match our aspirations and we are often whoefully unprepared. To this extent, we are all Assistant Pig-keepers at heart."

So, BB if you are an Assistant Pig-Keeper at heart, which rather goes with the aspirations you describe g.e., "wishing to be creative enough to move a project foreward without bullying," maybe your name Bobby Bacon suits the bill. Is there a story in that for you?

Oh, oh, why do I now suddenly think of the "Three Pigs?" LOL

Anonymous said...

Oops make that, "The Three Little Pigs."

Anonymous said...

Charlotte's Web - there's a good pig story.

Mmmm..... I don't think BB wants to tame his Alpha Wolf aspect, nor even have it lie in balance with the lamb....lololol. Yin and yang are for fish!

And BB, that's the fun-loving lounge lizard - you can also be Wolf...

Anonymous said...

All this talk about lamb and bacon is making me hungry, and I don't even eat meat!!! LOL!!!

Weren't there famous pigs in mythology? I think they were Odysseus's men who were turned into pigs by the sirens or something... why do pigs get such a bad rap, anyway? They are intelligent creatures, so I'm told by people in the know.

George Clooney has a pet pot-bellied pig. Lives with him in Italy. Now that's a smart pig, living high on the hog (hee hee)

I think the cold medicine is going to my head, I'm going to stop now...

Anonymous said...

Maybe because pigs (boars) and wolves used to populate the dark, dense forests of Europe and meeting them was major unnerving? They hadn't heard of Disney yet in those days. :)

You'r right about Odysseus.There is a swineherd in the story. And I think his men were changed into swine on the island of Calipso by that witch woman I don't remember the name of. Another book I need to re-read. And I allready read it twice. Why do facts never stick with me?

Anonymous said...

Any journey, long or short, is simply a series of decisions that must be made. You gather facts. You search your heart. You choose between your options. Decisions can be wrong or right or somewhere in the middle. Whichever they are, they must be made. Stop making decisions and you stop making progress.

Anonymous said...

"Forget the map, roll down the windows, and whenever you can, pull over and have a picnic with a pig."

Anonymous said...

Kermit who is that pig you are talking about? You didn't invite me for a pic-nic! Do you have another girl friend? I'm green with envy...

Larry Keiler said...

For advice on being green, see kermit's comment on Mental Blog.

M@, we desperately need to know how you pasted that link into the post!