I’ve officially been a “cake cutter” for the past few Ball seasons…which means I’m O-L-D. That also means I’m supposed to be wise too. I’ve learned most of my life lessons from the good old-fashioned school of hard knocks. Out of my old-man-cake-cutter-wisdom I’ve learned that there are five warning signs that if ignored will lead to certain failure at work, in friendships, in marriage and life in general.
Cake cutter warning sign #1: If you don’t know where you are going you will never get there. If you want to succeed in life you need to have quantifiable, obtainable and realistic goals. Without goals you are guaranteed to go adrift and then life will hit you in the face bringing you back to reality. You will ask yourself how in the world did you get to the crisis you are in and simply put, you failed to make goals. Good targets for the goals are five, ten and twenty years out. If you aim at specific targets such as a college education, a journeyman certificate, buying a house, a dream vacation and so forth suddenly your life has purpose and meaning as you succeed at your goals and move onto the next one. When you are old like me and look back on where you have been you will have the satisfaction of a life well lived having obtained so many goals.
Cake cutter warning sign #2: A failure to communicate. Do you understand the words coming out of my mouth (or off of this page)? Many of us think we have communicated with others when in fact they don’t understand the words coming out of our mouth at all. Yes, they understand the words we are speaking, but often the real meaning is lost. One way to better understand communication is to know the five love languages that Gary Chapman writes about in his book with the same title. These love languages will certainly help true communication to take place.
Cake cutter warning sign #3: Not having a budget. If you have blown through the first two warning signs then you definitely don’t care about how you spend your hard earned income. However, if you have clear goals and have talked about them with your family, spouse or significant other then it is amazing to see how well finances get on track too.
Cake cutter warning sign #4: Drug and alcohol abuse! If you have paid attention to the first three warning signs then there is no way you will even think about ruining your life by abusing drugs or alcohol. Goals, meaningful relationships built through solid communication and having the means to live will make it so you don’t need to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol… but as the old saying goes, “if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.”
Cake cutter warning sign #5: Infidelity. If we say “Semper Fi” but act otherwise then none of our relationships will go well. Your coworkers will not trust you to have their six, your friends will know you can’t be there in the good times or bad and your marriage is doomed. If you have heeded the previous warning signs then infidelity will be the last thing on your mind. A life without focus or purpose will lead one to look elsewhere, often times self-medicating through drugs, alcohol or sex just to feel good about themselves. Heed the words of an old cake cutter and protect what you have earned.