Looking for Dirt

Charity 12/22/2019

My job is to find dirt. To be more specific, I look for dirt and other quality issues on the painted bodies of luxury cars. I am an auditor and finding dirt is one of my specific functions. I know what dirt looks like underneath the paint and can spot a speck that is smaller than a millimeter. When I go looking for dirt, I find it.

Before I was an auditor, I built cars for the same company. I didn’t know what dirt looked like and honestly I didn’t care. My focus was functionality and performance. I cared about what was on the inside.

Those who look for the bad in people will surely find it. –Abraham Lincoln

Finding dirt on people is just like finding it on cars. If you go looking for dirt, you will find it. We can find all kinds of things we don’t like about other people. If that is our intention, nobody, not even the good ones, will stand a chance. We will find a way to criticize even their positive aspects. We see it in politics. We see it in our coworkers and even with our family members.

I get paid to find dirt with the hope that our customers won’t see it on their cars. I would rather they focused on the inside which contains the majority of the car’s value. I don’t get paid to find the dirt on the people in my life. Doing so will drive them away and create an unnecessary chasm between us. I would rather focus on their inner qualities. That’s where their real value lies. By focusing on that, we have the chance to strengthen the bonds between us.

This is a good thing to keep in mind this Christmas season. We can begin with the friends and family we will see over the next few days. We can carry our practice into the new year giving us the opportunity for true peace in our lives.

The Skeleton Keys #3: Give to the World

Charity 11/27/2019

I doubt it began with the Egyptian pharaohs, but they are a good starting point. They amassed huge fortunes when they were alive. And when they died, they took their wealth with them to their burial chambers. Why? Maybe they thought they could it would help them in the next life. Better safe than sorry, right? And today, what’s the legacy left for the world? A few monuments and recovered artifacts.

Now, think of the old man. The one you know or the one you have heard about. His goal in life was to accumulate wealth. He was that crabby old guy that living only for himself. He was a hoarder of gold without a charitable bone in his body. When he dies, he will probably do everything in his power to take his loot with him into the next world. And what of his legacy? For a short time, he will be remembered as an old rich guy that died alone. And then as the decades go by, he too will be forgotten.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. –John 15:13

The greatest sacrifice you make in this world is dying for another. We don’t hear of these feats too often. But when we do, we never forget this ultimate sacrifice. The soldier doesn’t think of the consequences when he crosses that barrier between life and death. He is only thinking that he will cross instead of those around him.

I have always attributed these words in John 15:13, as the end-all be-all for a show of love. And it is, but is there a second best show of love? What could we do now in this world while we are still alive?

A small deviation about responsibility and employment…

When I was younger, I only lived for myself. It was childish. When I got married and had a child. I had to put away childish things and start living for the good of two other people. This is far better than living for just myself. Being responsible for three raises the stakes. It adds a little positive pressure in my life to do the right things.  I hold a certain value in my family’s life. They need me. Oh yes if I was to go away, they would move on. They would find a way to survive. In a sense, it is kind of similar to an employer/employee relationship.

An employer needs an employee. Terminate the relationship and both will find a way to move on and survive. Until then, their relationship is based on a contract. The greater the perceived value of the employee, the greater the compensation the employer will be willing to pay.

Back to the second best show of love…

There is a great joy in being able to help others. The more I help others, the greater the joy and drive to help even more. It brings value to my life and to the lives I touch. I may not have the opportunity to make the ultimate show of love, but I can do the next best thing: I can give my “living” life to my family, to my friends, and to those around me. I can give it to the world in an attempt to make it a better place.

Why the comparison to employment? If you live only for yourself and your contract ends between you and the world, the world will move on. It will forget about you like you forgot about your co-worker who was terminated last year. But if you live for the good of the world, the world will take notice and compensate* you based on your perceived value. Your legacy will be determined by how long you can stay in the memory of those you reached. For example, imagine Shakespeare whose writings will probably be with us in some form until the world is no more.

The first skeleton key to success is to combine your faith with your works. The second is to hope in your own self. The third skeleton key to success is to give it to the world. This is success that goes beyond the grave. It goes beyond our actual time on this planet. Of the billions of people throughout the ages, we have the opportunity to leave our mark by creating a legacy the world will remember.

 

To do more for the world than the world does for you –that is success. –Henry Ford

 

*This could be in other forms of compensation, not just financial.

 

A Clean Slate

Charity 11/17/2019

As the new member of my work team, I get the opportunity to listen to my teammates’ opinions of the other members of the team. If I listen to each of them and formulate my own opinions based on what they say, I am going to find myself with more negative views than good. In time I would come to the conclusion that none of my teammates are worth anything.

The politics within this small group reminds me of the politics we see in the news. If we watch it long enough and not put much thought into it, we will begin to form our opinions based on the opinions of those reporting it. And the problem with that is nobody really reports the good stuff. It is only the negative, because that is what gets the ratings. You could pick any channel, turn the volume down, and you will still hear the noise coming at you loud and clear. The individual being reported on could be doing some really good work, but nobody is going to notice. The dirty sells better than the clean.

 I always prefer to believe the best of everybody, it saves so much trouble. –Rudyard Kipling.

It isn’t easy to tune out all the noise. You don’t even have to tune all of it out. You can take some of it into consideration, but in the end you will have to make your own decisions. You will have to judge for yourself the quality of those you allow to influence your life.

I believe my teammates are here for a reason. I’m going to hope they are high performers that will add value to the rest of the team and the organization. If not, then I will take that into consideration as well. But I will form my own opinions. I will believe the best of them as I hope they will believe the best of me.

You are going to get a clean slate from me. The next move is yours.

Tao to Rise Up

Charity 11/10/2019

Ambition is tough. The desire to get ahead in the world is a natural thing for the one interested in her own self-development. She wants her life to be better tomorrow than it was yesterday. She looks around at those content with where they are at in life, and realizes that she wants more. She’s hungry, and her desire won’t allow her to sit on her laurels like everybody else.

Over the years, I have worked with people like this. I’ve seen both the good and the bad. I know a guy who is hungry to get ahead. Nothing wrong with that, but he’ll cut your throat to do it. Along the way, he will be all smiles. But then one day, you will wonder what happened when you got run over.

I’ve seen some others that were all smiles as well, but their approach was completely different. They knew that a highly functioning team was more important than individual glory. They built relationships and brought those around them up. There was no pettiness, and certainly no back alley throat-cutting.

The famous samurai, Miyamoto Musashi said, “You must understand there is more than one path to the top of the mountain.” And to get to the top of your proverbial mountain, you will have multiple paths. The way you choose is completely up to you. But if you would destroy those around you to achieve your own success, you will find yourself lonely and unhappy at the pinnacle. You will find many wanting to pull you down. What happens if you choose to help others ascend to their own heights? You will discover that you have company at the top, and true happiness with those respect you for who you are.

How will you get to the top?

We rise by lifting others. –Robert Ingersoll

Nothing Without Love

Charity 10/13/2019

Outside of the passage from the book of Genesis (ch. 2), it is no surprise that Paul’s great chapter on love in I Corinthians 13 is frequently read at weddings. After all, isn’t love the ideal reason for marriage in today’s society? For the common person, it is not for social or political reasons. Not for an arranged marriage. It is love. Those other reasons seems like entering into a contract of misery.

When I attended a co-workers wedding recently, I once again heard Paul’s words. But unlike all the other times, this time I really heard the words. They sounded different this time. What I could almost repeat verbatim entered my ears for what seemed like the first time.

Instead of the word “love,” they used the older, traditional word of “charity.” When we think of charity, we often think of the giving of our time and/or money to those in need. Do we ever consider that what we are giving is love? Do we give out of love?

If you have read any of my other posts, you may have realized that I frequently write on the virtues. There are seven traditional virtues. The four cardinal virtues: prudence, temperance, justice, and courage. And then, there are the three theological virtues: faith, hope, and love. Paul closes out the thirteenth chapter with these words:

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. –I Corinthians 13:13

The greatest of these is love. Love, the highest virtue. And for those who would strive to be more virtuous in their daily lives, they must do it with love. What is any of the other virtues without this one? You could attempt to keep the 10 commandments and hold to the law without love. But then you would miss the point. But when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment of them all was, He responded with, “First love God, then love your neighbor.” (My abbreviated translation from Matthew 22:36-40). If you truly love God and your neighbor, you would be able to keep the law. Not because you were commanded or forced to do so, but because you wanted to do so, out of love.

Most of my day I spend thinking about how I can become a better person. I strive to be more virtuous, and then I record my efforts so that someday my son may have a little help as he negotiates his own path. For some reason, I rarely think about becoming a more loving person. I go back to thinking of today’s definition of charity and forget that it really is loving my neighbor. It is easy to love friends and family, but do I have the same outpouring towards those who desperately need it? In the end, we are all on the same team. We are humans trying to survive in a world that is often harsh and indifferent to our desires.

For those who could hear a nourishing passage, here is the full thirteenth chapter of I Corinthians:

  1. If I speak in tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging symbol.
  2. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I can have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
  3. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I am nothing.
  4. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
  5. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
  6. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
  7. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
  8. Love never fails. But when there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
  9. For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
  10. but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
  11. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
  12. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
  13. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Charity 2/24/2019

How far a little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world. -William Shakespeare

It is time to turn up the brightness!

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The Virtue of Charity

Many view the act of charity as financial aid to the less fortunate. But charity goes beyond gifts of money. We can be charitable in our actions to those who need it. We can lend a helping hand to those who are suffering physically, mentally, and spiritually. How far can a kind smile, a kind word, or a kind act go? Sometimes these gifts go much farther than money.

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Charity 2/17/2019

Charity and personal force are the only investments. -Walt Whitman

What are you doing to grow these two accounts?

____________________

The Virtue of Charity

Many view the act of charity as financial aid to the less fortunate. But charity goes beyond gifts of money. We can be charitable in our actions to those who need it. We can lend a helping hand to those who are suffering physically, mentally, and spiritually. How far can a kind smile, a kind word, or a kind act go? Sometimes these gifts go much farther than money.

____________________

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Charity 2/10/2019

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. -Plato

It only takes a moment to take the focus off of ourselves and shift it to those around us.

____________________

The Virtue of Charity

Many view the act of charity as financial aid to the less fortunate. But charity goes beyond gifts of money. We can be charitable in our actions to those who need it. We can lend a helping hand to those who are suffering physically, mentally, and spiritually. How far can a kind smile, a kind word, or a kind act go? Sometimes these gifts go much farther than money.

____________________

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Charity 2/3/2019

It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit. -Harry S. Truman

Don’t let pride stand in the way of the big picture. There is nothing wrong in letting others get the credit.

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The Virtue of Charity

Many view the act of charity as financial aid to the less fortunate. But charity goes beyond gifts of money. We can be charitable in our actions to those who need it. We can lend a helping hand to those who are suffering physically, mentally, and spiritually. How far can a kind smile, a kind word, or a kind act go? Sometimes these gifts go much farther than money.

____________________

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Charity 1/27/2019

To do more for the world than the world does for you – that is success. -Henry Ford

Have you ever heard that the more you give the more you get? The more value you bring to this world the more valuable you will be.

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The Virtue of Charity

Many view charity as financial aid to the less fortunate. But charity goes beyond gifts of money. We can be charitable in our actions to those who need it. We can lend a helping hand to those who are suffering physically, mentally, and spiritually. How far can a kind smile, a kind word, or a kind act go? Sometimes these gifts go much farther than money.

____________________

Enter your email to subscribe to notifications from this site