“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
Look at any company’s website, mission statement or recruiting material; one of the first messages you will receive is that they value their people. This is a great sentiment for them to portray because we all desire to be valued…but do they? If they truly do, it will be evident by the experience level of their workforce. Current statistics paint a different picture however. Tenure is down and long term employees are starting to build tenure later in life so maybe, just maybe, our business leaders don’t really get it; despite what they are trying to make us believe.
What’s the big deal?
We live in a circular world. This means that what goes around comes around. In other words, if you experience something in business you will more than likely experience it again in the future and you should be better equipped to handle the problem the second time around. That is, if you are still there to do something about it.
Every wise decision you or your business associates make 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. Not easy to do without experience yet some leaders either believe that wise decisions are not important or that experience is not needed to make them happen.
The fact is, experience along with education and ethics are the three factors required in order to make wise decisions. Sure, you can luck out and make a wise decision without any of the three but for a business to survive or more importantly thrive, it takes more than just luck so why risk it? I would like to believe that our corporate leaders would rather rely on the truth but the majority usually doesn’t; they just react.
Sadly, history shows us that this isn’t a new mindset, for millenniums that truth has been denied, doubted, or has just been totally ignored by the human race. It is through this struggle that we create, instead of solve, the problems that plague our work 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.
Maybe we need an example of a very basic problem that was solved by a wise solution with the aid of experience. Take fire for instance; it has been a valuable solution to our problems from the earliest times of our existence. It solved our heating woes, brought us more food options, and was instrumental in the creation of many other 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 educate ourselves to the building blocks that allow fire to exist, apply the lessons learned through experience and do all of this in a selfless, ethical and moral fashion.
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.”
In our example, early people used wooden logs to create the fire they needed. These logs burned because of the laws of nature that make fire possible. It is the law that three ingredients have to be present in order to have a fire; fuel, air and an ignition source. As in all aspects of our life, when given a law, as long as the law is followed, we will find truth and the outcome is predictable; it is certain.
So how would out ancestors have learned this law?
They would have been educated by observing lightning striking the trees producing fire. Then they would have gained experience by experimenting with the transference of flames to other sources of fuel; selflessly sharing the warmth with those in need. Through these life experiences they would have learned that when either one of the three mysterious ingredients was missing or a fourth overpowering element was added into the mix no fire was possible.
In business, to relate any law to the problems we face we are required to be educated in the business’ matters, rely of the unique experiences associated with conducting the business operations and then drawing on life’s spiritual, ethical and moral precepts to apply what was learned in a selfless manner. Only then can a predictable wise decisions be made.
In our example, the education by observance would have given them the understanding of what conditions made wood the best fuel. They would have had to learn through experience that it is the wood fibers that are combustible, however, green logs naturally contain a very non-combustible ingredient, water. Experience would have proved that when burning logs are piled together in a fire, their unified presence increases the heat substantially so even green wood can burn. It is the magnified heat that overcomes the higher level of non-combustible water; turning the fourth unwanted ingredient into steam allowing the wood to continue to burn. It is for us to now realize that only through experience would early survivors have learned that a separated log from a burning pile would stop burning because the unseen water trapped in the wood overwhelms the fuel component when the reduced heat is unable to compensate for the water; eventually it depletes the ignition source completely. It was only through experience that they identified the unseen mysterious ingredient; the power of the invisible requirement of air. When a log burns, the side resting against the earth remains untouched by flames; it cannot burn. Our ancestors would have depended on the wisdom of the elders to pass along the practice of stoking the flames in order to keep the fires burning.
As a side note, when this lesson is examined and fully applied to our business life, we should exchange the unwanted water in the wood for damaging lies, deceit and trickery that goes on in business environment. Every one of us is basically the same; just like that pile of logs, associates represent the entire employee pool. Each associate has a little of these unwanted ingredients in their lives. When they are working and are trying to do the right things, it is much easier when we are surrounded by people of like mind, words, and deeds. However, when we separate from the group, for whatever reason, and if too much untruth is introduced to their life, they quickly begin to burn out. The flames of truth are smothered and the blackness of deception envelops them. That is why a good leader understands the importance of identifying, creating and maintaining the right culture in an organization. A unified culture intensifies the heat of success!
The above paragraphs explained the introduction of a fourth ingredient but what can we learn from the loss or reduction of one of the three required components? Think back to the log burning against the earth. When this happens, the area laying flat against the earth has no way to receive the oxygen rich air needed to continue to burning process. Since only a portion of the log is committed to the flames, the area producing the heat source is reduced dropping the temperature below the level needed 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, working at full capacity, to make us burn with the passion desirable to deliver what the business demands. The three ingredients for the fire of our businesses are our Personnel, Customers, and the Product or Service we produce. Remove or lessen anyone of the three your business will begin to fade and eventually be extinguished. The individual “logs” or fuel that the business depends on comes from the “forest” of society that creates each employee and customers grown from their own three “fields” or personas; personal, professional and spiritual environments. Each individual “log” is fed and nourished through their three humanities; their physical, mental, and spiritual states.
These are the laws of the Power of the Wisdom of Three. They non-negotiable and will insist that our business have all of these to burn bright and if one of our three ingredients is covered up for some reason, we need the other “logs” to do their part. Too many green “logs” and the fire will surely go out. In addition, it is almost guaranteed that at some time in our future, one or more unnecessary ingredients will generate negative influences in our business. Do not lose hope; instead turn to those experienced “logs” as a trustworthy source of truth, strength, and courage. They will have the ability to spot these interlopers because they saw them before but only if you have the wisdom to keep them around.
To cap off this lesson I would like to share with you the law that emphasizes and gives birth to power of the presence of experience. Years ago I wrote a story about a young man who grew up in a verdant valley surrounded by foothills but was drawn by the majestic mountain to the east. Every morning he would awaken before the sunrise so that he could view the unique splendor of the various images that the sun’s rays would create as they shot past the magnificent mountain peak. He was amazed by the multitudes of colors and the contrasts of the rays depending on the amount of clouds or the seasons of the year. In his mind, body and soul he yearned to capture the greatness of this power; becoming a great leader of people.
Throughout his life he was repeated shaken, beaten and broken by one defeat after another along his journey to the greatness he sought. It wasn’t until many years later he finally realized that it was all those experiences that cleared the path to his greatness. He learned that everyone must learn to absorb that “special” power that comes through living life’s journey; paying close attention and showing deep respect to those who came before him. One’s true goals are never solely yours to keep but instead to be use as personal motivation, setting your perspectives, and guiding you toward the locations that you are destined to be.
“I am proud of you my son. You have found your greatness through your understanding and it will continue to grow throughout your life. For it is our Visions that change our Motivations, which in turn changes our Perspectives, which drives us to change our Locations, which once more changes our Visions, which changes our Motivations…this is the cycle of the vision of life.”
Excerpt from “Our Vision Changes Our World”
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.
To learn more about the Power of the Wisdom of Three examine the writings of Anthony “Tony” Boquet, the author of “The Bloodline of Wisdom, The Awakening of a Modern Solutionary”