A powerful question . . .


A Powerful Question

A man driving down a country road spotted a farmer standing in the middle of a huge field of grass. Sensing something was wrong, he pulled the car over to the side of the road. As he watched, the farmer just stood there doing nothing and looking at nothing.

Curiosity got the better of the motorist and he climbed from his car and approached the idle man. “Ah, excuse me mister, but is something wrong?”

“No, no,” replied the farmer, “I’m fine. I’m just trying to win a Nobel Prize.”

“You are?” asked the puzzled motorist. “But how?”

“Well, I heard they give the Nobel Prize . . . to people who are out standing in their field.”

(If you were expecting my humor to get better, I’m sorry to disappoint.)

It’s true that few of us will ever win a Nobel Prize. But that’s okay, because being the world’s best is not the point. Let me ask a different kind of question.

According to John Gardner, founding chairman of Common Cause, one cheerful old man asks a fascinating question of just about everybody he meets for the first time. Once they exchange names and they get to the part where one is sure to ask the other where they work or what they do for a living, he turns the conversation in a different direction. He asks his new acquaintance an unusual question. He asks a big question – an important one. He asks, “What have you done that you believe in and you are proud of?”

The question is direct and a little unsettling. It is not as easy to answer as, “What do you do for a living?” It requires some thought. When asked why he likes to pose that question, the old man responds that he doesn’t care how they answer. He just wants to put the thought into their minds. He thinks everyone should live their lives in such a way that they can have a good answer.

“What have you done that you believe in and are proud of?”

As I search for an answer, my mind goes first to family. We’ve raised healthy and productive children who want to make this world a better place. Not that I’ve been a model parent – far from it. But I’m proud of them. I also believe in the life my spouse and I have tried to put together with one another. We both chose to work hard on our relationship from the beginning.

What else have I done that I believe in and I’m proud of? Several things, I hope. But one especially is the creation of Life Support System. For me it’s always been about reaching out, and I’m gratified when others in our Life Support System family write and tell me how it has made a difference. In a small way I think we’re helping to bring the world together.

How would you answer that intriguing question? It may not be a big thing. Perhaps it’s something that nobody but you cares about. But it cost you somehow … you’re invested in it. You probably will never be awarded a Nobel Prize for your accomplishment, but it was important enough to do.

I think this can be one of the most powerful questions we can ever ask ourselves. It causes us to look deep inside and, like the old man says, prompts us to live our lives in such a way that we can have a good answer.

Now it’s your turn. You may want to close your eyes and give it some thought. “What have you done that you believe in and are proud of?”

— Steve Goodier, Life Support System

Consider this: How would you answer the question?

Seek to understand first . . . A funny leadership story


By Michael Rogers

I heard a story the other day that reminded me of the need for leaders and people in general to seek to understand first before getting involved. In my years of observing leaders I have seen many of them jump to conclusions and get involved in issues way too soon.

In many cases the wise leader that is patient and seeks to understand the problem first; eventually discovers that there is very little he or she has to do to help solve it. Many issues have a way of working themselves out without the need of the leader intervening. At the very least the leader that seeks to understand first puts himself or herself at a greater advantage in helping get the problem resolved if it needs to be.

The Sharing Couple

One day a little old and very cute couple walked into the local fast food restaurant. The little old man went up to the counter and ordered their food. He brought back to the table a hamburger, a small amount of fries and a drink.

Carefully he sliced the hamburger in two and then neatly divided the fries into two small piles. He sipped the drink and then passed it to his wife. She took a sip and passed it back.

A younger man at a nearby table observed this couple and begin to feel sorry for them. He offered to buy them another meal, but the old man respectfully declined saying that they were used to sharing everything.

The old man began to eat his food while his wife sat still, not eating. The young man continued to watch the old couple feeling there was something he should be doing to help. As the old man finished his half of the burger and fries, the old lady still had not started eating hers.

The young man couldn’t take it anymore. He asked, “Ma’am, why aren’t you eating?” The old lady looked up and politely said, pointing to the old man, “I’m waiting on the teeth.”

You might have the same initial reaction my wife had when I shared this story with her. She laughed and then with a disgusted look on her face said, “Gross!”

But how many times are things not as they appear? Seek to understand first is a good rule of thumb.

What has been your experience as a leader with jumping to conclusions? Has someone ever misunderstood you? I would love to hear your thoughts on this by commenting below.

We can do better, by Tyler Perry

A couple of days ago a storm came through here that was crazy. I’ve never seen that much hail and rain. It reminded me of when I was living in my old house. Every time there was a bad storm I had to go through some major things to get the lights back on in the house. One time there was a storm so bad that lightning hit the house and all the power went out. I looked across the street and my neighbor had power, so I knew the problem was just in my house.

Stay with me, I’m going somewhere here…

I knew I had to get to the circuit breaker to fix what was going on. Now, in my old house, the breaker box was in the attic, and in order to get to it I had to climb a ladder, go up a flight of stairs and then climb over an air conditioning unit, all the while trying to not step through the ceiling joist or I would go straight through the sheet rock. And imagine trying to do all of this in the dark. But I had to do it if I wanted lights on in my house.

I got to the breaker box and started turning the breakers back on. For those of you who are not up on your DIY (do it yourself, LOL), the circuit breakers protect the house from further damage by turning themselves off if they get too much power or pull too much power to them.

As I was thinking about this yesterday I started thinking about us as people, as souls… me, you and any other human on this planet. What is common about us all is that we all, at one time or another, will go through or have been through a storm, and sometimes the storms are so bad that they turn off circuit breakers in our lives. We can look at others who have gone through the same storm and they are fine, like my neighbor across the street. They had power, but I was in the dark. Same storm, but it affected me differently. Many people can have the same experience and get over it but it affects each of us differently. Never let someone tell you to just get over it because they did. It’s not that simple.

When circuit breakers shut down in our lives they usually turn off to protect us from trauma, but just because they turn off doesn’t mean that they are supposed to stay off. A lot of times we leave them off because we don’t want to do all that is necessary to reach the breaker box to turn them back on. So what happens? We begin to live a life that is not as bright and fulfilling as it was originally designed to be. You just stay in the dark because it’s easier to not go through what you need to go through for healing. Trust me, I’ve been there, lived there for a while until I realized that I wanted all the lights on in my soul. I had to get these breakers back on.

Why am I saying this to you? Well I know that God designed all of us to live the fullest life that we can, to live in the light, love and joy. It is my hope and prayer today that you will start to do the work to turn on some of the breakers that may have been turned off in your life by difficult moments. What do I mean by that? If you have a dream and you stopped dreaming because it got too hard, that’s a breaker that went off. Turn it back on. If you decided that you wouldn’t love anyone else because you’ve been hurt, that’s a breaker that’s been turned off. Turn it back on. If you have decided to give up on life because nothing seems to go right, that’s a breaker that went off. Turn it back on. If you have given up on your kids because they won’t do the right thing, that’s a breaker that went off. Turn it back on.

You see what I mean? Go through your life and look at all the people who have hurt you. Look at all the situations that have left you in the dark. Turn those breakers back on. Live in a full house. One of my favorite scriptures says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father, which is in heaven.” Light up your soul!

Tyler Perry online

Consider this: Are your breakers on?