Competitive people, frequently represented by the people at work, are often dangerous. Traditional clich?s are often daily reality. Ends justify means. Winners take all. All competitors are threats that one must neutralize. Every action carries a negative and political motive that one must understand, react to, and manage.
The warnings apply in every situation except one. This exception is today's world. A disaster occurs and a real, tangible outside threat the group puts them at risk. The emergency need for cohesive teamwork brings out the best in everyone. The change is dramatic. Everyone pitches in just as if they were old and trusted friends. Conversations build towards results even when someone missed a deadline or two. The only question is how we can work together to win. If you are the enemy, you had better look out; this team is on the hunt!
Do you and I have any idea at what cost we extract from ourselves when we play life the “normal” way? The clich?'s bring a false sense of security. One can never justify the end by the means. People who win often pay with their very soul. Every competitor is someone who shares the same goal, hope, and gift as you and I do. The challenge comes in letting go of what I think I need to do to get ahead and trust that God has already won the only game that counts.
The cost of business as usual is fatal. “When you grab all you can get, that's what happens: the more you get, the less you are.” (Proverbs 1.19) Are you willing to pay for temporary gains with the only thing that is valuable – your life?
Today I watched people work for the common good without a hint of reservation. The experience is energizing and nurturing even though I am completely exhausted due to very little sleep. I can rest dreaming of what life could be like if you and I approached every day this way with God on our side. Imagine. . .then, look out! God is awesome.
8 January 2001
Participating in a group crisis can quickly become a fascinating experience. Everyone responds to problems and surprise appearances in their own way. During the past two days, I saw anger, obsession of minute, calm, sensitivity, aggressiveness, and attempts to blame anyone other than those who are responsible all play out as our huge team of people located all over the globe responded to a data and operational center that could not be used for normal business. As I reflect in the middle of it, I can already see how my own decisions mirror the range of alternatives.
There is one lesson that cries out for reflection. There are things that are obvious to you and me that are at the same time invisible to another. This is not a matter of intelligence. Very bright people see things differently. The view is not a matter of right or wrong. The comment applies to a wide range of situations that we try to describe. You cannot explain the variations by cultural or experiential differences; the conclusions often defy traditional stereotypes and value norms.
One factor in common is what the person describing the event thought might happen before the event occurred. The second observation is that people who are open to new ways of looking at situations tend to react in ways that are more varied.
The details can fall out in crisp black and white and people still cannot see. In hindsight, the story is clear. “Lady Wisdom goes out in the street and shouts. At the town center she makes her speech, in the middle of the traffic she takes her stand.” (Proverbs 1.20,21) Yet, we do not want to see; we do not want to know.
I am as blind as anyone is. I refuse to see because ego assures me that I already know the situation and the answer. I find myself walking around deaf because I want to act more than I want to understand.
God offers you and I a way out. Today I chose to see and listen; God is stunning.