May I introduce you to a book I have recently finished. It is not written by a pastor, nor by a Christian theologian, but I believe it is one that we can easily “baptize”. It is a book about business, and my opinion is that the individual can learn some things about life from this text.
Clayton Christenson has taught for many years at the Harvard School of Business, and has consulted with many businesses. In each of his courses, he also shares some lessons about life. I’ll share these, below, adding a few thoughts of my own. He says…
Among the healthiest of people it is Priorities, and not incentives, that truly motivate. You can’t pay enough to get someone to love and have passion for what is good. [Richard John Neuhaus rightly points out that next to declaring the gospel of salvation, the church must be in the “meaning business”.] People need to have a purpose, and priorities. We are driven by that which we value.
Opportunities come in two forms, and need two different strategies. Anticipated opportunities are those in the original plan and they take on a deliberate strategy. Unanticipated opportunities come along, often as surprises or difficulties, and they take on a modified or emergent strategy. There won’t be many signs in life that say, “Important decision ahead”, we have to keep our own eyes open, and have the flexibility to face the challenges and the detours.
What a person can or cannot do with their capabilities will depend upon three categories, and how well the elements of these categories can work together.
I. Resources—These include one’s own health, intelligence, education, experience, skills, wealth, as well as the other people in their life, people-skills, broader relationships with groups of people, equipment, technology, information itself, knowledge of history, and other constructs related to the priorities one has adopted. [The follower of Christ would include their resources in Christ in this category.]
II. Processes— These include the “how-to’s” of getting from Resources to Priorities, the bridges or roads to the goals. Processes are things like communication, problem-solving skills, decision making skills, collaborative skills, budgeting, time management, interactive skills, networking skills, coordination, etc.
III. Priorities— These are our Reasons, our Motivations, our Wants… In what are we invested, for what (and whom) will we sacrifice, and what are our deep commitments? Do we take responsibility for our own priorities? What are our major values? How do we “esteem” people, places, and things?
“So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”
“The safest road to Hell is the gradual one- the gentle slope- soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”
C. S. Lewis