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Letting Go After the Gathering Fights – A Reflection

11 Mins read

We live our life fighting in the wild of life, gathering experiences, victories, winnings, memories, souvenirs, trophies, garlands, and laurels like our fore fathers who were hunter gatherers. Curiously, we then let go all that we fought to amass from the gathering fights; from years spent in the trenches of business adventures and career exploits. The fights and battles are fierce and numerous throughout the journey of life.

In 2019, there was a “fight”. According to Reuters, Talissa Soto the spokeswoman for Code Red, the Dutch environmental action group addressed the board of energy giant, Shell, during the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) holding at the seaside town of Scheveningen near The Hague. She had said, “We will tax you, regulate you, split you up… today you are witnessing the last-ever Shell AGM,”

This is 2022, and Shell have held other AGMs thereafter. Europe, and it can be assumed, the members of Code Red are preparing to buy fossil fuel to generate energy and avert a terrible winter. No thanks to the war between Russia and Ukraine and the sanctions from the West.

Shell’s last AGM have not held. Some people therefore, have had to let go, any victories they may have gathered, after the last ‘fights’.

“Our company wants to be on the right side of history and we are doing everything that is needed, but we cannot do it alone and as a matter of fact even the entire energy industry cannot do it on its own,”

Ben van Beurden in 2019 (when he was Shell CEO)

Before Quiet Quitting and After

Did you just read that, “when he was Shell CEO?” Yes, you read that right. Wael Sawan, the Director Integrated Gas, Renewables and Energy Solutions, and previously the Director Upstream will be taking over from Ben van Beurden as the CEO of Shell at end of the year as announced on the company’s website on September 15, 2022.

Bernardus Cornelis Adriana Margriet van Beurden fondly called Ben, have been Shell’s CEO since January 1, 2014. From a ‘busy, positively noisy,’ gathering career in Shell spanning 39 years, he like many others have to now quietly quit and move on to something else. He already joined the Supervisory Board of Mercedes-Benz Group AG in April 2021.

Previously, before he was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of Shell in January 2014, Ben was the Downstream Director from January to September 2013 and Executive Vice President Chemicals from 2006 to 2012. Prior to this, he held a number of operational and commercial roles in both Upstream and Downstream, including Vice President Manufacturing Excellence. He joined Shell in 1983, after graduating with a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands.

First, comes the courtship, then the honeymoon period. Next comes success and stability, but eventually the stability plateaus and then the problems begin: the cracks in relationships. Finally, comes the breakup – the inevitable parting of ways.

Carlo Ancelotti (from the book, Quiet Leadership)

Letting Go After the Gathering Fights – A Reflection

Letting go of what we fought for, is a lost battle, not fought
Giving up what we labor to gather, as gatherings say, bye
Shoving it all aside after the fights, holding but, experiences

You have experienced the victories and the smell of battles
Tasted, enjoyed the thrills, gimcracks, frippery, and foppery
Bragged, ‘un-intentionally,’ swaggeringly shamed the losers
The bowel is emptied, I smell, not esteem the waste couture

Maybe we’ll meet at the Alumni and reunions
Not likely as neighbors, you’re rich, not poor-me
Yours, a goodly created hype, not disdained ghetto
All under the sun, shielded -on- the mise-en-scène,
But we will reunite under a lovingly equal cover
Yours in a mausoleum or covered by rare earth

You did not outshine in the 24 hours you use up per day
In the free air that you consume, and pollution exhaled
You didn’t have a dozen kids or nurture vagrants a billion
But acquired and consumed a dot of inexhaustible earth
And will let go of the air on your palms. Oh, sweet sleep!

Irreplaceable experiences; memories, souvenirs – waste?
Luscious winnings; trophies, garlands, laurels – dopamine?
Letting go after the gathering fights, toys acquired, amassed?
Pinch us, we’ve queued to trade places, to travel your route

Stand up for the champion, your achievement is celebrated
You’ve lived life, no script guide, but grit, talent, and ambition
Now, time to return to toddler reality, just toys, to hold briefly


A Monarchical Quiet Quitting – Letting Go After the Gathering

On the 8th of September 2022, the news broke out on BBC like so many other channels, Queen Elizabeth II has died. The UK’s longest-serving monarch died peacefully and ‘quiet quit’ at age 96, after reigning for 70 years. This happened, the afternoon of Thursday 8th September at her Scottish estate at Balmoral, where she had spent much of the summer.

The Queen who came to the throne in 1952 has witnessed enormous social changes. Her grandson and now heir to the throne, Prince William, according to the CNN, has just just inherited a 685-year-old estate worth $1 billion. This is from his inheritance of the private Duchy of Cornwall estate from his father and as the future king. Though the Duke of Cornwall website says that the revenue from the estate is “used to fund the public, private and charitable activities,” of the royal.

But King Charles as reigning monarch, has by far the biggest slice of the family’s fortune, the £16.5 billion ($19 billion) Crown Estate, which includes vast swathes of central London property and the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

This is one way to transfer wealth in the world. But if now King Charles showed his humanity by his choices, Prince Harry have taken this a notch higher. And so to humanity, resources should flow.

‘Getting Rich’ Didn’t Make Him Happier – Letting Go After the Gathering Fights

Sam Dogen the Financial Samurai , worked in investing banking for 13 years, and retired with $3 million when he became 45-year-old. According to his post on CNBC, in 2007 when he was 30 years old, he had achieved a net worth of $1 million, saving 50% of his $150,000-per-year salary. He also invested 90% of every annual bonus, and was able to have a few successful real estate investments. Surprisingly, reaching that milestone didn’t make him happier. In fact, he felt pretty miserable working more than 60 hours a week at a job he no longer enjoyed. Still, he kept going to work and eventually reached a $3 million net worth — enough for him to quit the job and retire early at 34.

The above is not from the book of Proverbs in the Bible, but the one below is.

Effortlessly Letting Go of the Air on Your Palms. Oh, Sweet Sleep!

“Two things I ask of you, Lord;
    do not refuse me before I die:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
    give me neither poverty nor riches,
    but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
    and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
    and so dishonor the name of my God.

The above is from the book of Proverbs chapter 30, verses 7 – 9, the New International Version. Verses 15 and 16 says three things, I will like to add a fourth thing, the rich and wealthy that never says ‘enough!

“There are three things that are never satisfied,
    four that never say, ‘Enough!’:
 the grave, the barren womb,
    land, which is never satisfied with water,
    and fire, which never says, ‘Enough!’

Is it All Vanity Upon Vanity?

There is another book of the Bible called the Ecclesiastes. Chapter 1, verses 1 to 11 of the New International Version reads; The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher,
    vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
What does man gain by all the toil
    at which he toils under the sun?

A generation goes, and a generation comes,
    but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
    and hastens to the place where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
    and goes around to the north;
around and around goes the wind,
    and on its circuits the wind returns.

All streams run to the sea,
    but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
    there they flow again.
All things are full of weariness;
    a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
    nor the ear filled with hearing.

What has been is what will be,
    and what has been done is what will be done,
    and there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there a thing of which it is said,
    “See, this is new”?
It has been already
    in the ages before us.
There is no remembrance of former things,
    nor will there be any remembrance
of later things yet to be
    among those who come after.

Sam Dogen the Financial Samurai

It’s been 10 years since Sam left the corporate world. He has now had a lot of time to reflect on what gives him the most satisfaction in life after initially thinking the answer was wealth. Remember, getting rich didn’t make him happier.

If you really want to feel rich. Be a mentor. Share your wisdom. Help people achieve their potential. Giving your time is more rewarding than only giving your money.

– Sam Dogen the Financial Samurai

Quiet Quitting – Wagner Group Letting Go Style

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner group that is linked to the Russian government, is not asking Russians to sacrifice their kids on any altar to a god or goddess as it was done centuries ago. Moloch, also spelled Molech, was a Canaanite deity associated with child sacrifice in biblical times. And Mr Prigozhin doesn’t seem to have any association with the deity and so he has asked Russians for another deal.

To solve the problem of shortage of soldiers on the battle field, he said those who do not want to send convicts to fight should send their own children instead – “It’s either private military companies and prisoners, or your children – decide for yourself.””. According to the BBC, there is a leaked video footage which showed Mr Prigozhin telling inmates of a prison they would be freed if they served six months with his Wagner group. They can quietly quit prison life by “pay my debt to the Motherland”.

I thought God the Almighty did enough, opening the pathway for the forgiveness of sin by giving His only begotten son, Jesus Christ, that whosever believes in Him will not perish, but can start a sanctified new life now and a glorious life in eternity.


Remarkable September of Quiet Quitting – Patagonia Letting Go Style

Bloomberg reports that Russia’s richest person, West sanctioned billionaire Vladimir Potanin will be transferring some of his Rosbank PJSC shares to his charitable foundation. It always sound quizzical when I hear the rich do this. Some do make you feel positively different when they give, kind of their antecedents speak more to confirm their recent action. Like Patagonia founder and chairman Yvon Chouinard, who can boldly now say, “Earth is now our only shareholder.” He has ceded the company’s $3 billion shares worth to the “Earth Trustees” for the earth’s sustenance.

I was however shocked when I read that Yvon Chouinard told FastCompany that “Everything man does creates more harm than good. We have to accept that fact and not delude ourselves into thinking something is sustainable” in 2019. I thought I was reading a portion of the Bible that has undergone reverse engineering, that is Romans 3:10-12, Psalm 14:1-3, Psalm 53:1-3 in the English Standard Version.

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
    They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds;
    there is none who does good.

The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man,
    to see if there are any who understand,
    who seek after God.

They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
    there is none who does good,
    not even one.

Since 1985, Patagonia has set aside 1% of sales to finance grassroots environmental groups in the U.S. and abroad. Forbes add that in May 2013 the company launched Tin Shed Ventures which provides seed funding to environmentally and socially responsible start-ups.

If we have any hope of a thriving planet—much less a business—it is going to take all of us doing what we can with the resources we have. This is what we can do.

Yvon Chouinard

A Letter for Ben van Beurden and Wael Sawan to Read

Below is an extract of the public letter from Yvon Chouinard, and I recommend that Ben reads it to Wael. He, Ben has moved from pursuing laurels and experiences to begin a major quiet quitting.

One option was to sell Patagonia and donate all the money. But we couldn’t be sure a new owner would maintain our values or keep our team of people around the world employed.

Truth be told, there were no good options available. So, we created our own.

Yvon Chouinard

Another path was to take the company public. What a disaster that would have been. Even public companies with good intentions are under too much pressure to create short-term gain at the expense of long-term vitality and responsibility.

Truth be told, there were no good options available. So, we created our own.

Instead of “going public,” you could say we’re “going purpose.” Instead of extracting value from nature and transforming it into wealth for investors, we’ll use the wealth Patagonia creates to protect the source of all wealth.

Here’s how it works: 100% of the company’s voting stock transfers to the Patagonia Purpose Trust, created to protect the company’s values; and 100% of the nonvoting stock had been given to the Holdfast Collective, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting the environmental crisis and defending nature. The funding will come from Patagonia: Each year, the money we make after reinvesting in the business will be distributed as a dividend to help fight the crisis.


Greatness Beckons!

There comes a time in the life of a great individual in the making. When he or she wakes up and change life course. To drop a garb, and choose a new path. I invite you today, to drop mediocrity in pursuit of greatness. To drop fear, in the eagerness of excellence. Nothing holding you back, as you face your fears and doubts.

No one ever regrets leaving the comfort crib. Hard it may be initially. Tough, uneasy, and fearful. So it is time for you too, to drop mediocrity in pursuit of greatness. Come on. You can do it. Greatness beckons!

A dream, an opportunity, act on life before you wake up

Akinspire_ Letting Go After the Gathering Fights – A Reflection

Life is too precious, not a day to live in mediocrity’s hand
Life is pure, white like a dove, no patchiness in its living
Ordinary, common, indifferent, average all is a choice
Do not be in the middle-of-the-road, dull, or humdrum
Undistinguished, uninspiring, second-rate, and ordinary
Insignificant, inferior, colorless, common, and a waste

Life is an opportunity, a dream, an orchestra, a song
Golden, life is admired; but stolen, just by mediocrity
Life is a golden opportunity, use it as good as you can
A gem, distinctive, brilliant, hidden in the mud of doubt
Excellent, superior, rarity, of pre-eminence, and genius
Peerless, virtuoso, supreme, unrivaled, and nonpareil

Akinspire_Quiet Quitting

Can you dare me and be different?

You follow the herd? Hi, have your dreams grown wings?
Birds wings and great heights, but not mediocrity autopilot
Dreams found? It flew back? Got courage to climb and fly?
Can you dare me and be different? No, dare them and fly
Still living and working another’s dreamy expectations?
Stop it mediocre! Nobody glows or grow by mediocre life

Mediocrity wakes up, sweating, threatened by talent alive.
Are you a dead talent, a worry master of what people say?
Why be unable to put in “sweat equity,” stop living by default?
Mediocrity fears talent in pursuit of what matters to me, you.
Doing what matters to mine, in excellence, at full heart speed.
But I need you, courage, to be different, to follow my heart.

Stop putting up with mediocrity!

Akinspire_ Letting Go After the Gathering Fights – A Reflection

Stop putting up with mediocrity! There are no later life acts.
Move on, move far, change circle. Mediocrity is contagious.
A mediocre life puts forth mediocre effort, no “sweat equity.”
Dream big, set goals, interact with champions, get inspired.
Think big, make plans, escape comfort, take responsibility.
Forge your path, be crazy, take the risks, break the chains.

Be vulnerable, lick criticism, razor focus – one goal, a time.
Extinguish fears, ignite confidence, be different, a new YOU!
Mediocrity will wake up, sweating, threatened by talent alive.
Stop putting up with mediocrity! There are no later life acts.
Life is a golden opportunity, use it as good as you can.
Life is too precious to be lived, not a day in mediocrity.

A part of the above was previously published under the title, “Drop mediocrity in pursuit of greatness.”

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