Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Consider this excerpt from Jim Collins' book, "Good to Great" about a conversation he had with Admiral Jim Stockdale. Stockdale survived 8 years as a POW in Vietnam and wrote a book, "In Love and War" about his ordeal and the lessons learned. He and his wife wrote alternating chapters to share each perspective. Collins read Stockdale's book to prepare for their meeting and conversation. His thoughts;
"As I moved through the book, I found myself getting depressed. It just seemed so bleak—the uncertainty of his fate, the brutality of his captors, and so forth. And then, it dawned on me: “Here I am sitting in my warm and comfortable office, looking out over the beautiful Stanford campus on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. I’m getting depressed reading this, and I know the end of the story! I know that he gets out, reunites with his family, becomes a national hero, and gets to spend the later years of his life studying philosophy on this same beautiful campus. If it feels depressing for me, how on earth did he deal with it when he was actually there and did not know the end of the story?”
“I never lost faith in the end of the story,” he said, when I asked him. “I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.”
* * *
I didn’t say anything for many minutes, and we continued the slow walk toward the faculty club, Stockdale limping and arc-swinging his stiff leg that had never fully recovered from repeated torture. Finally, after about a hundred meters of silence, I asked, “Who didn’t make it out?”
“Oh, that’s easy,” he said. “The optimists.”
“The optimists? I don’t understand,” I said, now completely confused, given what he’d said a hundred meters earlier.
“The optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, ‘We’re going to be out by Christmas.’ And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they’d say,‘We’re going to be out by Easter.’ And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart.”
Another long pause, and more walking. Then he turned to me and said, “This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”
From this conversation, Collins coined the term "Stockdale Paradox". Its meaning is the last statement above, maintaining confidence in a positive outcome eventually (maybe years) but refusing to pretend everything is currently as it should be.
Agree or disagree?
Monday, June 25, 2007
Sunday, June 17, 2007
"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time." Thomas Edison
Thank you, Thomas, for hanging in there. I am enjoying the lights. I am going to try to remember what you said and do better at trying one more time.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Few people will read to the end if I continue a full summary of the book. Frankl suggests that suffering can be a blessing in the long run and he condenses his approach to mentoring people to this one statement; "Live as if you were living for the second time and had acted as wrongly the first time as you are about to act now." What do you think of that statement? Please think about it and leave a comment.
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Here are my personal observations;
1] That is a big hog!
2] That is a cool gun. When I was 11, I had a Daisy BB gun. That is a $1500 heavy duty Colt pistol with a rifled barrel.
3] In response to the unbelievably hateful emails sent to this boy I say, lots of people are very confused about whether man is here to serve animals or to have dominion over them.
4] Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. Pride led to poor behavior by most of the people involved in this story, including the lady from the farm that sold the pig to the hunting preserve.
5] The many people who would write to attack an 11 year old kid and wish he were shot, condemn him to hell, hope he gets some disease from the pork, and throw in lots of profanity for flavor cause me great concern for the direction of our country. That they would use the opportunity to 1) condemn all Christians, 2) ridicule all southerners, 3) repeatedly use the word "redneck" as if it is something worse than all the profane words they know, 4) manage to include the "fact" that the president is committing terrorist acts DAILY, and last but not least, 5) communicate in such an arrogant, condescending manner while demonstrating the grammar and spelling of a third grader--is at the same time both hilarious and terrifying!
6] When you hear the term "feral" pig it is not a type of pig. Feral just means wild. Any animal can be called feral. Once this pig was sold from the farm and began living in the woods, he became a "feral" pig. Obviously, there is some matter of degree--he would have been "wilder" in a year or two.
7] This dad made some decisions that I would not have. But he earned my respect, not for spending lots of money on a guided hunt with premium weapons and not for grabbing the spotlight for his son, but most of all for getting up early in the morning and driving his son to the home of the folks who claimed to have raised the pig and confronting them to learn the truth. This caused the supplier of the pig to soften their attacks considerably. The truth was told without exaggeration BECAUSE this dad looked into the eyes of the couple who were being critical of his kid and asked direct questions. At the end of the day the two men demonstrated respect for each other.