Thoughts on Value

To Be Able to Paint That Picture

10 Years from Now… “10 years from now…” this is a phrase our team hears from me over and over. Along with, “The literal meaning of passion is suffering.”, “thats not a BHAG (big hairy audacious goal!”, and “Missionaries not mercenaries!”, this forms part of my team development philosophy of making sure every team member lives by perspectives that lead to success. This is a deliberate effort on my part to battle the popular ideas spreading around that sound appealing but really leads to entitlement, vanity, and excuses, all of which are enemies of greatness. I want, I deeply deeply want, every single person in our team to be great. “10 years from now…” is my way of getting them to learn the lesson under the lesson. It’s me reminding them to learn how to sell effectively, but more than that, to identify and communicate value. It’s me reminding them to learn to solve a client’s issue, and also how to process any issue. It’s me reminding them to learn the lesson that matters by identifying the lessons that matter a decade from now. “10 years from now, this won’t matter. What will matter is that you can picture an outcome and order your life to achieve that outcome. And you learn that by working extremely hard to order your life to achieve the target you’ve been assigned. Someday that target will be your own. It will be tuition for your kids. It will be a dream home, a dream car, a dream vacation. It will be an emergency. It will be a cause. And if you’ve learned how to refine the picture so that you see it so clearly, so vividly, and if you’ve learned how to order your life to achieve that picture, you’ll be able to turn that picture, your picture, from an idea in your head into an achievement of your life.” There’s a lesson behind the lesson, a foundational principle beneath the success. It’s sad that today’s generation is so shallowly rooted that they are so easily shaken, so easily impressed by trappings, and so easily vain. We have a generation that has been so protected from the responsibility, difficulty, and beauty of the struggle, that they’re failing to learn the right lessons because they’re too busy either trying to avoid the pain and embarrassment of failure or rationalizing their failure as someone else’s mistake, someone else’s unfairness, and someone else’s fault. 10 years from now, whose fault it is won’t matter either. What will matter is this: Have we become people who take responsibility? Or have we learned how to make ourselves feel better by always placing the responsibility on someone else? Have we learned to paint that beautiful picture we want? Or have we learned that beautiful pictures are for others to paint – for us? In other words, have we learned to live excellently and love excellently? Or have we hardened our pride and vanity? Those who match excellent lives with excellent love will paint beautiful pictures. The proud and the vain? For those of you asking why the world is so dark and violent and harsh, here’s what I believe: it is so because our hearts are proud and vain, self-centered yet empty. And that empty hungry heart cries out for filling, yet this generation of hearts has been told to “love yourself first”, so a bunch of empty hearts are grasping for each other’s emptiness, taking what they can, and turning the once empty hearts into broken empty hearts. This generations’ hearts have not been taught to face harsh realities, particularly the harsh realities of the state of our own hearts. We are told we’re great – without a qualifier for what makes anyone great: the ability to make their fellow man fundamentally better. So we walk along believing we’re great without knowing why, without foundation, that when an event comes that questions or threatens our imargined greatness, we whine and are defensive. We are defensive because we are insecure. We are insecure because we have no foundational principles to stand on. Truly great people need not be insecure, for their hearts are neither selfish nor empty, so what happens to them can be set aside for the greater mission. The world is dark because we have selfish and vain hearts, and because we’ve all been told to prioritize ourselves, and there can be no light in a world of selfish empty hearts prioritizing themselves every single day, posing as modern love. But sometimes in life’s museum of modern love, we walk across a piece, not a mere expression, but the soul of an man, a woman, matching an excellent life with excellent love, and for a moment our hearts say, “Wow…” They sit with us and we feel uplifted. They walk with us and we feel transported. They speak with us and we feel enlightened. More than inspiration, they remind us of our responsibility. These light bringers, peacemakers, lovers, painters of beautiful pictures remind us there’s hope. 10 years from now, I hope there will be a major shift from the vanity and ugliness of self-centeredness to the sanity and celebration of selflessness. To Be Able to Paint That Picture… In a few hours I’ll be speaking at an event of a good friend and man I respect, Brother Bo Sanchez. I think about his impact on thousands, maybe millions, of peole, and how he fundamentally improves their lives. A beautiful piece in life’s museum of modern love. I think about my parents, and all the honest, selfless, hardworking parents, and the smile of the old man having to push his cab in traffic last night, who Yasmin insisted we helped, and I appreciate these beautiful pieces in life’s museum of modern love. I think about the missionaries who are serving not simply proselatyzing, of their selflessness to show God’s love through sacrificial love, through feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, and educating the simple. More beautiful pictures in life’s museum of modern love. I think about honest soldiers and cops, about helpful officials, about industrious students, about hungry, hardworking, humble team members, all beautiful pieces in life’s museum of modern love. And I say, “Wow…” There’s a lot of crap in this museum, and they call it modern love. It’s modern yes. But it’s not love. And that’s why we reel at its ugliness when we see it’s real effect. So I walk back to my favorite pieces. Once again, I catch msyelf, “Wow…” Then I walk back to my own soul, shadows and all, inspired by those beautiful pieces, put on my pigment stained overalls, I grab my chisel, my brushes, my palette, and get to work, hoping that someday I too may add a beautiful piece that blesses others in life’s museum of modern love. To be able to picture a beautiful future, to see it so vividly, and then to be able to work backwards, breaking it down into the background, the outlines, the shadows, the highlights, the hues and shades, the values and contrasts, or to put it simply, to be able to paint that beautiful picture in your head, that is what it means to enjoy your God given freedom, to bless others with the excellence of that beauty, that is what it means to love, to do both every single day, that is what it means to be alive. #db