We Are “United” By the Decisions That We Make

Unless you live as a hermit, you have heard about what is viewed as the less than wise decisions, which were made by a gate manager and the cockpit crew of an United Airlines flight and possibly the airport police personnel called to a scene which resulted in a fare paying passenger being physically ejected from one of their airplanes due to an oversold situation.

This kind of event strictly exemplifies the importance of placing an equal value on making ethical decisions as well as legal ones.  United and every other airline are legally able to overbook their flights, select passengers who will forfeit their seat when none volunteer, and are contractually within their rights to have passengers evicted from their aircraft by force under certain situation when deemed necessary.  Everything that happened that day seems to have been legal but almost everyone agrees that it was not right.

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The Power of the Wisdom of Three as it Relates to Christian Holy Week

It is a well known fact that the Jewish Torah and the Christian Bible are both filled with obvious and some not so obvious references to the power behind the number three.  As we prepare for the holiest week in the Christian calendar, I thought it would be interesting to share some of these examples found during the historic week leading up to the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of our Christian Lord.

Feel free to share comments of your favorites, as well as any that I might have overlooked.

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Using Natural Laws to Solve our Problems

Every wise decision must be based on the truth; identifying the true problem, understanding the true motivating factors impacting those affected by the problem, and committing to the truly selfless solution as well as the consequences that will impact each of the three parties involved.  Yet, for millenniums the truth has evaded, been doubted, or has just been totally ignored by the human race.  It is through this struggle that we create, instead of solving, the problems that plague our lives.  The funny thing is that the human race is the only species on earth that has the mental capacity to challenge these eternal truths.  All other species live their lives programmed to follow the universal truths that rule all of our existence; while we live our lives questioning the very truths instilled in us from birth and that we know, deep down in our being, to be true.

Fascinating!

Take fire, for instance; it has solved our problems from the earliest times of our existence.  It solved our heating needs, brought us more food options, and was instrumental in our creation of many tools that solved even more of our problems. These are just a few of the obvious solutions that fire has brought to us, but there are many other problems we can solve if we learn to use the building blocks that allow fire to even exist.  These building blocks are the universal truths all people have access to naturally.  Let’s use the following scenario of two people gathered around a camp fire as an example.

Jerry was enjoying his decision to move away from the rest of the community.  He built himself a crude shelter by the lake and was able to do whatever he wanted, when he wanted without first having to consider the rules of the town.  He’s always been a loner and did not like having to conform to the wishes of others.  Oh sure, the town’s people were nice enough but he thought that they seemed to judge his actions.  People noticed that he was on the lazy side and when he did have a job, he did not like being told what to do; even if he was being paid to do it.  He also felt that his neighbors looked down on him for other reasons; when he did not attend church services, his hair was longer than every other man in town, and he admits he enjoys a few too many alcoholic beverages from time to time.  Out here he could be himself.

About a year later another man, Greg, built a cabin across the lake from Jerry.  Seeing one another from time to time, they got along well enough and soon Jerry thought of him as a friend.  One evening they were sitting around a fire.  Greg asked a lot of questions about how Jerry came to be here and how he coped during the winter months.  Jerry explained that he had a small herd of sheep and he did some trapping to bringing in extra money during the slow months.  When Jerry began to quiz Greg about the same, Greg said that he relied on others.

Confused Jerry asked, “What do you mean?”

“I have two other “neighbors” who bring me what I need.”

“How do you pay them?”

“I don’t.” said Greg.

“Why would they do that?”

Taking a stick from the wood pile, Greg nudges a burning log off the fire and to the side, away from the stack of burning embers.  “Jerry, watch what happens to that log.”

The two men sat quietly watching as the burning log slowly began to cool to the sight. The once glowing amber log died to a coal gray color of ash and the dancing flames quickly shrank and eventually faded away completely.  “You see Jerry, without the support of the community of the other logs and the shared energy of their embers, the isolated log quickly dies away.”

Greg coldly stares down Jerry and whispers, “I expect your support.”

The next day, Jerry packed up his wagon and moved back into the town.

Jerry learned valuable lessons.  Never confuse your desires with your values.  People who make decisions based on emotions, desires, or false ideologies can easily be taken advantage of by the next passionate, likeable character to walk into their life.  There will always be three communities, one with whom you share core values, the one whose core values you oppose, and the one that tries to hide their core values.  Sadly the utopia does not exist where all residents of the community share completely in all values.  However, when you do find the place where the majority of your core values are shared; unity, peace and respect will live supreme.

It would serve us well to remember and understand the message behind the words of Michelangelo, “Only God creates; the rest of us just copy.”

We can draw so many lessons from this story, all of them compliments of the natural laws.  First, people, like all animals, are not meant to survive alone.  The Law of Survival teaches us that we each depend on one another.  Humans are by nature a social animal.

“No man is an island unto himself.”

John Donne

The other, less obvious lessons come from the Law of Fire.  We know that the logs burn because all three ingredients are present for a fire to start; fuel, air, and the ignition source.  As in all aspects of our life, as long as the law is followed, there will be truth and the outcome is predictable.  If that is true, why do you think that the log that rolled away from the pile stopped burning?  It is simple, either one of the three ingredients were missing or a fourth overpowering element was present into the mix.

To apply any law to one’s life we are required to be educated, have experience and apply the spiritual, ethical and moral precepts in a selfless manner.  The education and experience could consist of understanding what conditions make wood the best fuel.  It is the wood fibers that are combustible, but logs naturally contain a very non-combustible ingredient, water.  When logs are piled together in a fire, their unified presence increases the heat substantially.  This magnified heat can overcome a higher level of non-combustible water; turning the fourth ingredient into steam.  Once separated from the higher heat source, the water overwhelms the fuel component and the reduced heat as the ignition source.

When this lesson is applied to our life, we can exchange the water in the wood for lies, deceit and trickery in our lives.  Every one of us is basically the same; just like that pile of logs and we each have a little of these falsehoods in our lives.  When we are trying to do the right thing, it is much easier when they are surrounded by people of like mind, words, and deeds.  However, when we separate from the group, for whatever the reason, and if too much untruth is introduced to their life, we quickly begin to burn out.  The flames of truth are smothered and the blackness of deception envelops us.

That explains the introduction of a fourth ingredient but what about the loss or reduction of one of the three required components?  Think back to that rolled out log. The area where it lays flat against the earth has no way to receive the air needed to continue to burn, the rest of area of the log which is producing the needed heat source is not enough to over compensate for the presence of the water. This in turn reduces the temperature even more allowing the water to extinguish the rest of the fire.

These realities should prove to us that it takes all three areas of our life to make us burn with the passion we are meant to deliver.  Our three ingredients for our fire are our body, mind, and soul.  The other “logs” that we depend on come from the “forest” we create from our three personas, personal, professional, and spiritual.  We need all of these to burn bright and if one of our three ingredients are covered up for some reason, we need the other “logs” more than ever in our life.  It is almost guaranteed that at some time in our life, one or more of our ingredients will be negatively affected by something.  Do not lose hope; instead turn to those key “logs” as a trustworthy source of truth, strength, and courage.  Together we can more than make up the difference.

If this is my last post, I want all to know there was only one purpose for all that I have written; to have made a positive difference in the lives of others.

Anthony “Tony” Boquet, Vice President, Education & Development at The American College of Financial Services and the author of “The Bloodline of Wisdom, The Awakening of a Modern Solutionary”