For many the statement, “I want it yesterday!” describes our expectation of immediate production. When I was a child, the introduction of fast food meant the shift from the coal/wood stove to a propane stove.
As a young boy I read the incredible story of the building of the Hoover Dam. The Encyclopedia Britannica gave a detailed account describing the transformation of the ‘idea’ into the dam. There were several years of planning and preparation before the first concrete was poured. It took a solid foundation to secure the future of such a massive structure.
On the botanical side, bamboo growth is an incredible feat. While young bamboo sprouts grow only a few inches during the first three or four years, and the shoots above ground seem small and thin, beneath the ground a network of roots and offshoots is growing deeper and spreading further. By the fourth year, the plant is solidly grounded and ready to grow – and grow it does! The Chinese Moso Bamboo variety has been known to grow 47 inches in 24 hours!
The foundation of the Hoover Dam has kept it secure, safe and serviceable for almost 100 years. The solid grounding of the Chinese Moso Bamboo enables it to withstand hurricane force winds and stay standing.
Foundations (convictions) are an essential if we desire to finish life well. Without convictions, criticism or derisive comments can distract us and take us out of the game.
I would like to suggest some convictions that can add quality and stability to your life.
Resolve to be a person who keeps their word. A contract is a poor substitute for reliability. Do everything you say you will do within the agreed upon timeframe. My father used to say, “An excuse is the skin of the truth stretched over a lie.” Victims make excuses. Some circumstance beyond their control is to blame. Reliable people stand behind their word regardless of the circumstance. If they are wrong, they admit it, find a way to resolve the wrong and move on.
Be a person who lives by a code of honour. Learn to separate between wrong choices and the intrinsic value of a person. A doctor referred a person whose medical problems seemed to have emotional roots. As it turned out, this person had stolen over $30 thousand dollars’ worth of jewelry from the store where she worked. Did her wrong choice reduce the value of who she was? A man was assigned for counseling by the court. His violent anger resulted in the breaking of his wife’s jaw. Again, did his wrong choice reduce the value of who he was?
Even though those people deserved the full penalty of the law for their wrong doing, they are still persons of value and need to be treated with respect and honour.
The strong conviction of honour helps me see past the behavioral choices to the inherent value of the person.
Furthermore, the conviction of honour helps me guard my tongue. I will not be privy to the gossip network that shares damaging information about another person’s character. I have interrupted many conversations with the question: “Have you talked to the person relative to the information you are sharing about them?” If the answer is “no” then my next statement is usually, “Don’t talk to me until you have talked to them.” If they say “yes,” my next question is: “Are you telling me because you want me to be part of the solution?” The next question is: “Would you be willing to follow the counsel that I give?”
At the heart of the conviction of honour is the strong belief that I do not have the right to cast a negative reflection on anyone’s reputation.
Be a person who respects the profit of another man’s labour. Envy, jealousy and greed jaundice the soul and distort our perception of reality. There are two things that stimulate the growth of this cancer: 1.) The lie that what you possess will give me greater power and prestige; and 2.) The lie that you do not have the right to possess what I cannot enjoy. Contentment releases creativity and enhances our enjoyment of life. Gratitude releases my grasp on things and enables me to find ways of sharing with those in need. It is good to remember that a salary of $25,000 per year puts you among the top 85% of the world’s population.
My life is built on the conviction that the Creator of the universe is a personal being who desires a personal relationship with me. It is this conviction that unfolds the value of human life, inspires me to be man of my word, instills honour for every living person, and enables me to respect the profit of another man’s labour.
In closing may I ask the question: “Who or what sets the convictions of your life?”