Contradiction

It has been raining all week here and today the sun came out in full glory.  The sky is blue and the clouds fluffy and bright.  When it has been like it has been for so long, one day like this makes it all worthwhile.  There is contradiction in everything in life.  If we move to one extreme or the other we risk falling into a current we can't escape.  It's best to tread the middle and to enjoy a little of both sides.

Yesterday I quoted Governor George Romney, father of now-Presidential Candidate and Governor Mitt Romney, after hearing a statement from The Real Romney, written by author Michael Kranish, a statement I thought was timely and straight to the point.  If only his son's handlers and fellow party members would actually read it, maybe we'd be in a better place today.  He said, in reply to Barry Goldwater on why he wouldn't endorse him for the 1964 Republican nomination: "Dogmatic ideological parties tend to splinter the political and social fabric of a nation, lead to governmental crises and deadlocks, and stymie the compromises so often necessary to preserve freedom and achieve progress."

There are those who are critical of moderation and tolerance.  They suggest that there are some things in life that require zealous passion.  I don't ascribe to any of that, in any fashion, in any part of my own life.  We are humans and we are fallible.  We are, however, and according to many faiths, made perfect in the eyes of our Creator.  But it is this same God in many faiths that also sees us having free will and the ability to choose right vs. wrong. In those same declarations of faithfulness, we understand there are consequences that occur for straying into the wrong.  But is "wrong" only on one side of the path I spoke of, or too far off on either side?

Too much of anything in life is bad for you.  Too little can be bad as well. We as leaders have to understand the extremes of either side and exercise diligence in learning more about the entire situation before rushing to judgment that one thing or another is bad or good.  There is bad and good in almost anything and it may be that what is bad now could be setting us up for good later.  We don't know that for sure, but what we do know is that as an enlightened leader, it isn't our job to push people toward what we want them to do, it is our job to cause them to WANT to do what we want them to do because it is the right thing.  We must live lives of yin and yang, we must experience both sides of issues in moderation so we can be more open to ideas and we can better grasp the realities of all situations.

If we only have one view of a problem, we can only approach it from that angle.  When we close our minds to other perspectives, we lose the facts that we can gain from those perspectives.  Let's put it like this, paramedics: If I asked you to determine if someone was having an MI by looking at one lead of a cardiac monitor, could you do it?  Maybe, if it were profoundly obvious in that lead you picked.  But still, it is only an educated guess, unless we can see changes in contiguous leads, right?  And we also can see reciprocal changes in leads that can really refine our determination that what we are seeing is a heart attack, but there is no guarantee that if you are looking at one lead that you will nail the solution.

Likewise, if we make decisions based on only one point of view, we close our book on the others, which may be detrimental not only to others, but to ourselves as well.  Take the time to examine what you are facing whenever possible.  Open your mind to the idea that we aren't always right, and even when we are right, we aren't always right.  Our lives and all we experience in them are daily contradictions to what we have already experienced.  Instead of resisting these issues, understand them, and maybe then you can better see the entire challenge. 

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Michael "Mick" Mayers

Battalion Chief with Hilton Head Island (SC) Fire and Rescue and an Emergency Response Coordinator with the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ National Disaster Medical System Incident Response Coordination Team.

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