So when our words aren’t convincing enough, we’re tempted to bring in the big guns. Quote the boss. Quote Ayn Rand or Albert Einstein. Quote your mom or quote the Pope. There’s nothing wrong with doing this, as long as you’re accurate. It’s tempting to take what someone in authority or with an established reputation for integrity and knowledge says, and tweak it just a tad to support our viewpoint. There’s a Greek word for that kind of activity. LYING.
Listen, if what you said is valuable, truthful or worthy, it’s fairly likely that someone in the past has had a similar thought and agreed with you. So look and dig for what someone ACTUALLY said.
Don’t misquote. Don’t twist someone’s words. Don’t extrapolate, interpret or editorialize and then ascribe your garbled quote as fact. It’s dishonest, it’s deceptive and it’s just plain dumb.
Owls are a symbol of wisdom. But what about a rabbit? In the Disney classic “Bambi”, Thumper the rabbit imparts words of wisdom that have been quoted by thousands of mothers to their children. Thumper was criticizing Bambi’s ability to walk, and his mother reminded him that his father had said just corrected Thumper that morning about being critical…
“Mrs. Rabbit: Thumper!
Thumper: Yes, mama?
Mrs. Rabbit: What did your father tell you this morning?
Thumper: If you can’t say something nice… don’t say nothing at all.”
Great advice from parents to their young children. We don’t want to raise kids who can only find the wrong in a situation. But does that mean we can NEVER recognize when something is wrong, faulty or failing? Not at all. But consider this tweet from Jeff Bezos on a recent “60 Minutes” interview.
So then what should be our strategy when we find something that needs changed, fixed or discarded?
Be Honest- Make sure your criticism isn’t rooted in something unproductive. Is your complaint founded, or do you have another ax to grind? If so, BACK OFF.
Be Objective – Help yourself be honest by discussing your concern with a couple of trusted, informed and wise counterparts. Who can you talk to that is brave enough to challenge you if you aren’t being objective? Yeah, talk to those people.
Be Proactive- Don’t wait for things to completely explode into a million pieces before confronting an issue. How can you purposefully bring an early warning or concerned check to an issue that could be explosive later? Try doing THAT.
Be Encouraging. If you back people into a corner with accusations and shame, they only have 2 options- collapse in shame, or come out swinging. How can you make addressing the concern a “team approach”, and a “win-win” in finding and implementing a solution? This may force you to put your ego in check, but that’s OK. Very few of us aren’t in need of an “ego check” from time to time, so take it in stride, and then focus on relationships being the fuel for solutions, rather than relationships serving as doormats for you to walk over.
If you can’t something nice, don’t say anything at all? Maybe so. But let me quote from another Disney sage. “A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down,” sings Mary Poppins. Medicine is a vital part of our health, but it doesn’t have to gross us out or make us run away. Neither should your complaints or concerns in your relationships with other. Bezos was right when he said, “Complaining isn’t a strategy.” So figure out what your strategy is going to be.
HOW DO YOU PROCEED WHEN YOU FEEL THE NEED TO COMPLAIN? ANY ADVICE FOR YOUNG LEADERS IN THIS AREA?
Phil Robertson… Duck Commander Founder… a man of character. But now it’s Chick-fil-A, Round 2! Why is it that this society doesn’t get it? If you ask a Christian, whose faith and belief system is based on the teachings in the Bible, what he thinks about homosexuality, why is it surprised that he calls it a sin? I mean, seriously, the guy prays at the end of every episode of their hit show. They espouse Christian values on the show, and in interview after interview before this one they’ve made it clear- they are Christians first, family members second, and TV star is way down on their list. Politically correct? It’s not even on the list!
U.S. Census figures from 2010 show the population in the US that claim to be homosexual is somewhere around 1%. In much of the LGBT literature, they espouse an incorrect number of 10% population as being homosexual. But that’s at best a misrepresentation, and at worst a lie. If the A&E people are taking a stand based on their convictions, then that’s their choice. But if they are doing it because they are worried about money, then they need to think about the population that has made this one of the top shows on television, because they just pissed a lot of those people off.
I caught some wisdom and perspective from my friend Cambri on this whole situation… I’ll share it here:
Few thoughts on the whole Phil thing…
1. Why was GQ interviewing Phil? He is not exactly the GQ type.
2. Why did they ask him his stance on gay marriage?
3. Why is anyone surprised at his answer?
4. His words were a little more graphic than most would use but if you have ever watched the show, he never holds back. So once again why are people surprised?
5. I think A&E firing him is going to do the exact opposite of what GLAAD wants to happen. Just like with Chick-Fil-A, more people will come out to support the Robertson’s than ever before.
6. I hope that the Robertson’s do not cave, like every other celebrity in this country, and apologize for their beliefs when there is backlash.
7. I hope that when Christians read the statements from the GLAAD spokesman, that they were concerned as to why he thinks that “true Christians” do not believe that homosexuality is a sin. I think this proves that most Christians are more worried about offending someone and being PC than standing up for what the bible actually says.
8. WHY THE HECK WAS GQ INTERVIEWING PHIL ROBERTSON!!
How come Christians and Christianity can be bashed all over television and the movies, mocked and ridiculed as a belief system, and it’s followers taunted as old fashioned and weak? There are no “firings”, “suspensions” or “hiatuses” ordered because of these attacks on Christianity? Beyond that, this is a “Reality TV” show, for cryin’ out loud! What has happened here is definitely a hate crime. But it’s a hate crime against Christianity, inflamed and blown out of proportion by a liberal network that has lost touch with it’s viewers.
There will be a price to be paid, but it won’t be by Phil Robertson, trust me. A& E… back off and fix this, or find yourself watched about as much as MSNBC.
The iconic coach John Wooden used to tell his players, “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” You may have opponents in sports that play fair, and face others who cheat at every turn. Players in LIFE are no different, and there’s not much you or I can do about it. What we DO have control over is whether or not we cheat ourselves. We control our actions, and when we choose to cheat ourselves, we are the biggest loser. We have no one to blame but ourselves. So how do we cheat ourselves?
- CHEAT #1- We take the safest route or course of action. “If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever.” Thomas Aquinas Taking the risky or dangerous opportunities are not always the best option either, simply because they do have risk. But we rob ourselves of what might have been when we allow risk, danger or fear of the unknown overrule what our hearts are telling us is the best choice.
- CHEAT #2- We choose shortcuts over quality. Getting better at whatever it is we do is an admirable quality. We learn the ropes, the tricks of the trade. We are able to produce or perform better than we were a novice, whether through formal education or the “school of hard knocks”. Those types of leaps in efficiency are necessary. What isn’t necessary is to make or choose shortcuts that compromise quality and/or our values. Quicker doesn’t always mean better. We want a diamond cutter or a surgeon who places quality over speed, right? We should expect the same from ourselves.
- CHEAT #3- We fail to focus on the value of the process. Greg Anderson says, “Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” Admiring roses in a vase is pleasant. But how much more enjoyable is that moment if one has prepared the soil, watered and weeded the bush, and stopped to smell the roses along the way! Remember, soon the cut roses will fade, but the bush will remain, and in our process we’ve created something amazing! Treat your life with the same care!
- CHEAT #4- We refuse to take responsibility for failure. Trust me, when you screw up, people know it. You may sneak by with your mess undiscovered from time to time, but for the most part our foibles and failures are on display. We cheat ourselves of the learning opportunity and of other’s respect for us when we pass the buck or deny our own shortcomings. Embrace your mistakes so you can celebrate your victories. WD40 is a popular lubricant with hundreds of uses. Do you know why it is called WD40? Because the first 39 formulations didn’t work! Rovio, the company that create “Angry Birds” had 51 previous products that were failures. Both companies had multiple failures before their ultimate success. They learned, reworked, rebooted and tried again after each failure. So can you!
- CHEAT #5- We flippantly dismiss criticism. There will always be detractors and downers in the peanut gallery. Some people just won’t like you, others just hate to see someone else succeed. But why let their criticism go to waste, regardless of their reason for it? Maybe they were just mean enough or brave enough to point out what we couldn’t see and what others were too kind or unable to see! Accept criticism as a gift, and then you decide whether it’s worthwhile or not.
- CHEAT #6- We ignore the inherent value of people. Everyone has some kind of value. “Four be the things I am wiser to know: Idleness, sorrow, a friend, and a foe.” (Dorothy Parker). You see, it doesn’t matter if those we cross paths with value us or our mission. As a “being”, they have value to the universe, to the Creator and they should to us also. You cheat yourself out of valuable learning experiences, passionate relationships and maybe the some of the best times of your life by failing to realize everyone counts!
- CHEAT #7- We leave something on the table. Life is way to short to not give it all you’ve got. Your family deserves your best. Your clients demand your best. Your co-workers need to see your best. Your enemies should be afraid of always seeing your best. YOU owe it to YOU to give this brief moment in time and eternity all of the excellence and mastery you can muster! Don’t cheat yourself by coasting or winging it! Let your best YOU be the real YOU!
Are their other ways we cheat ourselves? Name those I’ve missed below, and how you think we overcome those cheats!