Welcome back to my Precepts series—inspired by meaningful thoughts, insights, and discoveries I have during each week and intentionally designed to help make your life just a little bit better.
You can find the series in its entirety here.
Precept 32: Jealousy
I was recently thinking about how my privileged, first-world, relatively free, and wealthy life must appear to my fellow human beings who might be underprivileged, poor, or persecuted. Fact is, if you live in a typical developed or industrialized nation, there's a pretty good chance that you have greater wealth, abundance, and freedom than kings and queens of old would have experienced. There's also a pretty good chance that (and please don't be offended by this) you share far less of those riches, blessings, and belongings than you actually could. I know that I'm guilty of that.
Recently, I realized that this type of wealth inequality contributes greatly to the “hard crimes” such as theft, murder, vandalism, etc. that blue-collar criminals often commit from what is often deemed as a lower social class.
Why do I say that?
Imagine for a moment that you are dirt-poor. Your throat is parched from lack of water. You have painful, debilitating stomach cramps from hunger. You sleep on dirty concrete under a bridge. But one day, you wander past a television screen in a shop window, and you see on the screen a privileged, upper-class, happy, smiling family with their hair all neatly combed, dressed to the nines, and enjoying a lovely feast around a giant dinner table. Worse yet, perhaps you see a pile of uneaten food dumped into their trash can while their dogs feast upon ribeye steak scraps under the table. Something inside you recoils in disgust as you grind your teeth, and you think, “Why? Why can't they share? How could they be so insensitive, so ignorant, so selfish, so evil?”. This jealousy, bitterness, and anger festers inside you until one day, you make a decision to break into one of these rich people's cars, vandalize it, and steal a purse. Or perhaps it gets even worse. Perhaps you wander into one of those fancy mansions one day with a dangerous weapon so that you can take what you need to survive since you know they have way more than they need anyways, and they're definitely not sharing.
See what I mean here?
I often wonder how much less crime there would be if we watched ourselves living our own lives as though we were ourselves poor or underprivileged. If we all did so, what would we be thinking about ourselves, particularly in terms of how we share our wealth or our food our belongings, the extent to which we live in luxury, and how much we go out of our way to engage in charity and community service for those in need? I'm no epidemiologist or anthropologist, but I'm hazarding a guess that we folks who have been blessed with wealth could solve a lot of the world's crime problems by simply following the Golden Rule a whole lot more.
Precept 33: Lead With Love
There's a saying that goes something like, “If momma ain't happy ain't nobody happy.” It's kinda true, isn't it? For example, if a wife (or, I suppose, a husband) is angry, upset, bitter, or otherwise emotionally disrupted, the negative ripples of that can spread through the whole family, possibly due to disrupted electromagnetic signals from their brain or heart, possibly due to quantum physics based photonic and frequencies occurring at lower vibrations, possibly due to invisible spiritual distress that other human beings “spidey-sense” can detect, and possibly due to all those factors and many others. Regardless of the cause, one valuable lesson you and I can learn from this phenomenon is that a major factor of life happiness and arguably even life success is a happy home life and a happy and well-loved family/spouse. One of my friends (who is featured in my upcoming parenting book, entrepreneur, and men's leadership counselor Chad Johnson, who is a father of eleven children, teaches a principle he deemed the “Giant Five Framework,” in which he lists the top priorities for parent or spouse to be, in the following order of importance:
- Faith – Building your life upon this foundation.
- Marriage – Uniting with your partner, staying “on the same page,” and fighting together.
- Children – Aspiring to raise your children to be all God created them to be.
- Health – Caring for your mind and body by being fit, healthy, and active.
- Career/Work/Business – Using your unique God-given abilities and life purpose to earn, serve, and bless others.
As you can see, second to union with God, #2 and #3 from the list above fall into the category of “family.” This means that if your spirit is cared for and nourished through the spiritual disciplines and your family is at peace, in loving relationships, and thriving, then the final two elements of the list above (health and business) seem to fall into place quite nicely. As a matter of fact, if there's been angst and arguments earlier in the morning at home, it's pretty hard for the most successful businessperson in the world to walk into the boardroom to negotiate a massively important multi-billion dollar deal without a large portion of their mind bothered and dwelling upon the problematic issues back on the homefront.
Furthermore–and this is especially true for managers, executives, COOs, CEOs, etc. who are in a leadership position–the valuable lessons learned by prioritizing family stability and relationship love can directly apply to success in a business environment. Especially over the past few years, as I've learned both the importance of the foundation of family and my own personal failures as a leader, I've had to “learn” to lead and love my wife and family with compassion, empathy, communicativeness, conscientiousness, and interpersonal awareness and am (don't laugh) just now at this stage in my life discovering that those same relationship skills are exactly what I need to be a good leader for my employees and co-workers. For example, my kids don't want to be barked at and ordered about what to do. Instead, they thrive when educated about the consequences of any decision they might make, then given the freedom and responsibility to make the right decision. When my wife is feeling down, she doesn't want me to initially present solutions and strategies to problems she is facing; rather, she simply wants compassion, love, and the knowledge that I see her pain and empathize with her. These are just two simple examples that directly apply to my interactions with my team members.
We have a saying in our house that “love covers all.” Does someone make a mistake? Love and forgive. There's an argument or disagreement? Love and be humble. There's a need for discipline? Love and be gentle. So let's say you're the man of a household (yes, I believe a man's responsibility is to be a loving leader and a rock in the family who prepares and provides). You'll find that when you “lead with love” in this way, your wife and children follow you because they see that your actions are taken because you love them. If you're a single woman, you may find yourself as the head of the household, and the same rule applies. On the flip side, if you don't lead with love, you'll find that you either a.) aren't leading enough in the first place, usually because you shirk responsibility, then often complaining later on because your spouse seems to be wearing the pants in the family; b.) are leading, but not with love, and thus either nobody is following you or if they are, they are doing so begrudgingly. The same goes for your employees or co-workers. So now, let's say you're a CEO. If you lead your team with love, with compassion, forgiveness, and empathy, they're far more likely to follow you and your vision to the world's end. But, of course, the opposite applies: if you simply bark orders, complain and discipline with harshness, you'll create a spirit of fear that smothers creativity, quells growth, and creates strife.
Which family and/or business do you want? And how will you change your actions this week to tackle any leadership position with love?
Precept 34: Story Of The Universe
I recently read a quote by C.S. Lewis, from his book Mere Christianity. He says,
“Enemy-occupied territory-that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us to take part in a great campaign of sabotage.”
See, Lewis, and Christianity itself, believes there is a dark power in the story of the universe: a mighty evil spirit named Satan who is the power behind death, disease, and sin. But this dark power was created by God. Satan was good when he was created, and eventually went wrong because of bitter jealousy of humans and a thirst for power. So now this universe is at war. We humans are immersed in a battle for a universe occupied by a rebellious evil force.
As I've written about in the past, it's quite a magical and remarkable way to live if you believe in the existence of a higher power, a spirit world, your eternal soul, and a greater story that has been pre-written for your life–almost as though you are a character in some kind of an epic fantasy fiction novel. You are a soldier in the fight against evil spiritual forces. This is why training your soul and spiritual stamina is critical if you want to survive the battle. In contrast, it can be quite defeatist and eventually depressing if you have the atheistic or materialistic belief that we're all just a bunch of chunks of flesh and blood floating on a giant rock through the universe, trying to survive, reproduce, pursue pleasure, and be the fittest until we finally die and…game over.
Think about how inspiring and hopeful it is that story of every human's life parallels this epic and magical story of the universe. First, God created us. Then, we chose to rebel against Him, handing over our lives, the earth, and the history of the human race to evil. Next, all our misery flows from this rebellion. But then God intervenes by sending His only beloved Son to be sacrificed in one horrific and might act that redeems and restores us and offers us the eternal and perfect life that God meant for us to have in the first place. Now, we find ourselves in an epic battle for the human race and the planet, but God has promised us victory, and if you believe anything like me, that victory was secured when Jesus Christ died, was buried, and was resurrected, defeating death and binding Satan forever.
So which side do you choose to be on in this battle? The dark side or the light side? The evil invaders or the good forces? The defeated or the victorious? The side of God or the side of gods?
Being on the good side isn't always easy. You must strap on your battle armor each morning when you wake up and keep in constant daily union with God each day to maintain your fighting energy. Like Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” But man, oh man, being on the good side is such a hopeful way to live. And “getting” on the good side is free, simple and available to all. Here's where to start.
That's it for this week! If you have questions, comments, or feedback below, please leave your thoughts. I read them all!