Monday, January 31, 2011

Never Let a Crisis Go To Waste Again

In the wake of the financial meltdown the former Chief of Staff to President Obama, Rahm Emanuel uttered this statement. He was well criticized by the right-winged opposition but I found that statement to be loaded and factual. It was consistent with the Newtonian law of Inertia that states "every object remains in a state of rest or of uniform motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an outside force".

That external force that compels you to act in a different way and wakes you up from a slumber is called crisis. Some have termed crisis to be the father of all things for man never discovered God through wisdom or philosophy but through his needs.

Rahm Emanuel was articulating an age-long fact that crisis gives you options, creates new possibilities, allows you room to maneuver and in some cases gives you the space you need to negotiate your way out of controlling relationships. You are forced to act otherwise or you perish. It is your refusal to change course that makes the crisis harsh and brings the lives of people to a halt.

Pride is the manifestation of a belief system that simply states “my convictions are right regardless of the facts presented before me”. It is a decision to impose your views on reality and not to learn from the facts presented to you. I have always believed that this life will only work favourably for us if we take it as a learning experience.

To Christians who by nature of our faith are “doctrinal” in our orientation we face a challenge here. The challenge is to discern the difference between a right adjustment in your belief systems and the compromise of your faith. Will we grow in the knowledge of our faith or get the initiated into tradition.

It’s easy to say think outside the box which is what is required but in practice, Christians are dogmatic in their approach to issues. Traditional thinking replaces insight into worldly affairs through the lens of the word God. The real reason a crisis comes your way is to crack the outer shell (protective) atimes, you have lived in and to allow you to pursue new options. This is not a spin on reality but the truth about life. It’s not a cliché but truth with historical backing. The cardinal sin against your destiny when a crisis appears is to desire strongly to return to status quo. What you should do instead is wave our present reality goodbye. Have its funeral service quickly let the days of mourning be short so that you can wake up to the new possibilities in your life. The three things you lose through a crisis are your limitations, weaknesses and sense of servitude. You also probably lose relationships you think you need but, subtly hold back your destiny.

These are replaced by a greater sense of independence and liberty, strength and a sense of mastery over the circumstances of life.

An experiment carried out by Jacques Loeb, M.D., PH.D a member of the Rockefeller Institute with parasites indicates that even the lowest order of life is enabled to take advantage of crisis if they are willing to shed their weaknesses and take up the mind set of an independent.

“A potted rose bush brought into a room and placed in front of a closed window. If the plants are allowed to dry out the parasites, previously wingless change to winged insects. After the metamorphosis, the animals leave the plants, fly to the window and then creep upward on the glass. It is evident that these tiny insects find that the plants on which they had been thriving were dead and that they could therefore secure nothing more to eat and drink from this source. The only method in which they could save themselves from starvation was to grow temporary wings and fly, which they did”.

If a much less order of life could grow wings to meet with the challenge, it is clear that defeat only sets in because people want to meet today’s challenges with yesterday’s abilities.

To succeed requires growth and the development of inherent abilities. Abilities unknown to anyone else but is part of your spiritual make-up.

To succeed doesn’t depend on help from without and increasing dependency but growth from within.

To succeed you must face the reality of your situation. You want to know the actual facts on the ground no matter how bad it sounds. You must not go into denial about the facts or to play the blame game. That is not leadership. Crisis always calls for leadership.

If you hold a leadership position within an organisation don’t delegate a crisis. Take control of it and resolve it.

The first law of success therefore is, GRIP IT. Don’t deny its existence, embrace it. Don’t pray that it departs; embrace it in order to consume it. A crisis will help you with the hubris problem, that is, the arrogance of success. It will put you in touch with your humanity and the weaknesses and limitations you want to grow out of. If you respond rightly you will be a much stronger knowledgeable and liberated person with an additional grace of humility to your advancement.

I will sign off with these two principles embrace crisis and read it. Approach it with a heart of gratitude embracing it as an instrument of growth and then read through the lives of other people who faced similar challenges and surmounted them. Read until you are ready, your present situation in the lives of others and then you will know the options that are available into you.. Pastor Poju Oyemade

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