Month: February 2013
One of my fondest ever memories is that of my 1977 Honday Civic. This thing was dope. Four speeds, a super long stick shift, felt like you were going 200K on the highway when you were actually going 85, and had those external flashers on the hood..with chrome. I put some boom in there too so the license plate rattled real good when I was listening to the Dream Warriors (look ’em up).
It had just one flaw – rust.
Around the wheel wells of every Honda Civic of that era water would somehow get in and rust away the metal right above the rear tires. Obviously rust spreads so I did my college best (I was literally in college) and cut as much of the rust as I could and used one of those rust kits and bondo to fix it. I repainted things and it looked good.
But the rust came back.
Just a few months later bubbles started to appear and the paint started to bulge. A few months later the red rust was breaking through the gold paint screaming ‘let my people go’. I attacked again but could never quite get down the wheel well far enough with my residential toolbox and the problem would always resurface.
Lately I’ve been noticing ‘rust’ in my life, the lives of others and in business.
I’ve noticed that a lot of people when they are caught in a sin (I define sin as anything that is rooted in selfishness while disregarding the commands of God that produce a joy-filled life) try to remove the sin by means of replacing them with good habits, by controlling their thoughts, or by patting themselves on the back when they don’t sin. The last one to me is funny if you use an extreme example:
“That’s great, Tommy! You only murdered three people this week in your anger. That’s down two from last week. Keep that up…I mean down.”
The problem is that sin is like the rust in my civic. That beast will eventually re-appear because it’s rooted in my sinful nature. Once people realize that the cause of many of their personal problems are rooted in sin, they can seek a solution. The cross is their solution. If you want to stay on your merry-go-round, no one will stop you. Feel free to keep trying your failing methodologies.
I’ve also seen rust in business.
I’ve been monitoring a fairly large retail chain these days. This chain had a heyday a few years back and the brand was really starting to kick some kahoahoa (I just made that word up). They were carving out a piece of a market where few had attempted to travel and creativity, life, excitement surrounded it.
But then Mr.Arrogance came by for sales call and the chain bought what he was selling in wholesale quantities. The rest is history. On the outside it still looks somewhat as it did but on the inside is dead man’s bones. The writing is on the wall. They only have one choice left: a full scale repentance and willingness to come clean with all people involved and even to the public. Nothing short of full confession of past foul-ups and immediate remedies will suffice.
This retail study will very much help my future investments, too. A company that is being eaten by the rust of arrogance will show symptoms:
- lack of creativity
- lack of excitement from the inside
- positions filled by people who shouldn’t be where they are
- words that don’t match actions
- no apologies – ever
- a heavy reliance on lawyers evidenced in one-sided contracts in their favour
- leaders who don’t get their hands dirty with the troops – ever
- and more
If you see these things, keep your good money as far away from this as possible. Search for companies or organizations that display the opposite and you will sleep better at night.
Rust. Cut it out.
I’m not a fighter.
If someone were to attack me I would just curl up in a ball and try to protect my vital organs. I tried Tae Kwon Do to remedy that back in high school but I still find it easier to curl up in a ball. I’m not lazy, but I just figure even dirtbags would feel dirty if they were kicking a helpless man curled up in a ball and may stop sooner than wasting more time provoking them. I never won arm wrestles either which was embarrassing, especially in front of girls and even worse when I was the one challenging someone.
I’m not a fighter – physically.
I learned early that the battles of this world are not fought physically but that there was a greater force at work that I could not explain. First of all, why were they kicking me in the first place?
Let us turn for a second study someone who knows more about this topic than anyone else – God Almighty – Jesus the Lord.
One of the greatest battles of history (I almost typed ‘Epic Rap Battles of History… go to Youtube to figure out why that’s funny in a bad way’) was when Jesus defeated Satan on the earth in Round 1 in the book of Matthew chapter 4. Here Satan tries to make Jesus fold ’em and take the bait with the hook. Note that Satan didn’t sucker punch Jesus or beat him like a rented mule when no one was looking. He leaves that kind of buffoon work for his underlings. He used words. He cut right to the core of the human vulnerabilities and used manipulation skills in an attempt to achieve his nefarious goals .
And that’s the battle we face. Words and manipulation for selfish gain.
So our battles are, at the core, battles of the words (not much unlike Epic Rap Battles of History…. I really gotta stop promoting these guys but it’s hard)
Good manipulators don’t put anything in writing.
Companies hesitate to put in writing anything other than that which will benefit them. I told my mom to call up her ISP and try to get a new modem and a better rate. I told her to get them to email the quote to her and then she could forward it to me for approval. When I asked her for the quote later that day she said, ‘They weren’t allowed to put it in writing but they gave me a faster download speed and bundled something with it.” Not surprised I then asked, “And the new modem?” She informed me that the company ‘doesn’t have new modems like the one she has but only modem routers’. Gimme a break. She ended up with a plan that will save her a bit of money now but, at the end of the fine print (and there is always fine print) she will likely pay more.
Lawyers know this, too. They are Wordsters. They can word you into certain death or they can word you right out of a mess. They can outword anyone and using a language that only they know.
With that preface, now that we agree the battles are with words, what battles should we fight and which ones should we pass up?
I believe that if your battle is for selfish gain you won’t have any long term joy from the victory. If your battle is just simply to take someone down that you will spend your energy and time and even when you are done, you won’t have made any great significance in the world.
If your battle is to pave the way for helping others in the same boat as you, and your victory will not only help yourself but many who come after you, then you must fight. You cannot avoid your duty to put on the verbal gloves and wordcraft your way to victory. So what do two examples look like?
The classic example of a battle not worth fighting is the divorce battle. Obviously I’m completely against divorce from the get-go, but for those who have chosen this path, read on. The sick stories that I’ve heard related to one ex trying to destroy the other ex seem like they are from a twisted Hollywood movie. The only people who win in these stories are the lawyers. And I’m not talking about a ‘fair divorce’ (if such a thing were possible) where both sides divvy up the bounty. I’m talking about divorcing but then going that extra step to make sure there is salt in the other person’s wound. Forget it! Move on. Seek God and He will heal your heart, not auctioning off your ex’s motorcycle for a dollar.
I’m not saying that I agree completely with where many unions seem to have gone in the last few decades, but I think they are a good example of a battle that was worth fighting. Unions formed because companies were abusing people. Companies that have only their own selfish gain in mind are still very much present and, oh yes, right here in Canada, right here in Vancouver. Unions used peaceful demonstrations, and words of negotiations. No punching (well I’m sure a few angry union dudes lost their cool). No beating of rented mules.
So, I recommend using a basic gauge for your battle. Will others benefit from your battle? Will you be helping others beside yourself?
If the answer is ‘yes’ then by all means go down fighting and die trying if you must. Take a round-house kick to the head for the team. Curl up in a ball and let them boot-smack you.
But if you are the only ‘winner’ in the battle, pack up, fold the cards and move on – your battle is in vain.