All the world’s a circle! I have no idea what that means though it sure looked deep and intelligent when I typed it. Lately circles seem to dominate my life, as one experience seems to connect perfectly with the next one. As we all lament about the shape we are in, shapes can help us better understand the the lyrics to “The Circle of Life” from The Lion King. It might also help with your interpretation of “Hakuna Matata”, knowing there are no worries for the rest of your days.
Work can often feel like a never-ending circle of perpetuity. An email leads to a task, that leads to a meeting that leads to an action, that leads to another meeting, that leads to a change that leads to another action. This circle finally reaches completion, until some executive who never attended the meetings, finally sends an email asking for a different circle to be created, because they want to show their collaborative spirit.
Wedding rings are perfect circles. At the wedding ceremony the minister tries to explain this, without the use of PowerPoint slides, that the symbolism of eternity is key in the transfer of rings. Eternity is also a fair description of the duration of the speeches that will occur shortly at the reception. Since a circle never ends, those wise words land gently on the audience of the marriage ceremony. The families in the pews smile reassuringly as they wonder if will there be jumbo coconut shrimp served during the cocktail hour.
When early explorers proved to a skeptical population that the world was round not flat, the circle industry really took off. The invention of the wheel is often considered early man’s greatest accomplishment, however the guy who invented the triangle would argue vociferously about his status with the famous inventors of shape. Without the triangle we wouldn’t have Pythagorean’s theorem, (one of my all time favourite theories), love triangles, The Bermuda Triangle, the pyramids, or more accurately pyramid schemes . Mary Kay and the Pink Cadillac would not be the status symbols they are today. The triangle is also one of the most underused musical instruments in the recording studio these days. But enough about three sided shapes that are easy to draw.
Drawing a perfect free hand circle is damn near impossible to do. In early math classes the teacher made the students sit in a semi-circle to help explain the purpose of a protractor. Semi-circles always left a sense of incompleteness, as did most of my math tests in those days. To help students draw perfect circles, the compass was forced upon the little scholars. Every Boy Scout and Girl Guide in the class argued that a compass was a tool to help determine direction, not a tool to draw circles.
Teachers seemed perplexed as they attempted to convince students that English words often have two meanings. They said this aloud and this allowed the students to understand. To support this language principle, the principal came in the class to reenforce this important lesson. The irony of this moment got lost with the 10 year olds, who were still thinking they needed a compass, to navigate through the frequent erupting volcanos of vocabulary.
As we transformed from students to employees. circles kept getting in the way of our progress. Bright colourful pie charts were displayed to show how badly your department was performing, as you always seemed to be represented by the smallest slice. Sophisticated circles were presented by those annoying strategic leaders. Venn diagrams connected three circles and help those linear thinking people understand that their work is connected to other circles of work. The triangle people could only sit in despair, as their unique shape of work was totally ignored.
Politically circles are often misrepresented. The Oval office in not a circle. It is no accident that the office of arguably the most important person on the planet, is not circular in shape. That would suggest that the debates, ideas and finally decisions made in that room, are supported by oblong logic. Ovals distort the perspective and confuse the people who inhabit that oddly shaped room. Leaders who talk in circles tend to get elected into the highest positions of authority. In the end most non circular interactions damage your core circle of friends, as the jaded edges of your competitive approach, disconnects you from far more important bonds.
New circles are beginning to shape my routines. In a couple of weeks I will be participating in a high school reunion, where incomplete memories will be dismissed or confirmed to tighten up those nostalgic swirling circles in my memory banks. Old circles will return while new circles are being created.
Every year I participate in a boy’s golf weekend with the circles of influence in my professional life. These gentlemen will remind me of the importance of friendship and circles that connect and disconnect. Like that wedding band there is a sense of eternity with working colleagues who have become dear friends. This circle is never broken regardless of the infrequency of contact.
The most interesting circle I am living is occurring at Sheridan College. I am currently a professor in the Pilon School of Business. They call me professor, though I don’t own a monocle or a tweed jacket. This circle is tightly connected to my mother, who no longer remembers my name. She worked the majority of her professional career at Sheridan College, pretty well running their Athletic Department. As a tribute to her tireless contribution, her career ended by being inducted into The Sheridan College Athletic Hall of Fame. This new linked circle of shared experience, provides me with a great feeling of a tight, familial connection, to a lady who I can no longer connect with at all. Sometimes circles aren’t created naturally, but more accurately, they are made with illogical desperation.
So if you feel like a square living in a world of circles, adjust your belt and soften your edges. You will discover that cutting corners is a simple way to adjust your sphere of influence and undoubtedly improve the shape you are in, if you avoid triangulation.
Well that was a rather uninspiring. confusing conclusion. Let me try again.
Keep your circle for family and friends tightly bound. Every phone call, every get together and every coffee shared, tightens the circle. Circles will expand and contract with time, as that is what circles do, however the strength of the circle will never break with continued effort, to keep the circle alive. The occasional eclipse does not last very long, and the circle reappears with the same brightness and often more luminous than before.
Well that was even a more incomprehensible ending. Last try.
All the world’s a circle!
Cue the Blong In a world that provides vicious circles, in the end we only remember how people make you feel… Be Tender with your circles.