Weekly Thought – February 2, 2021
Fred helped many with their problem solving processes when he distinguished between a problem and a fact of life… the first has a solution; the other is a given. To invert them creates frustration and an unhealthy obsession. This week the excerpt is from content focusing on facing problems.
Thank you for praying for the ongoing progress of BWFLI (Breakfast With Fred Leadership Institute). As we change delivery options, we stay true to the mission of “stretching and blessing the next generation of leaders – to the glory of God.”
Problem? Make a Plan
Are you having relational or financial problems? How about health or emotional problems? Any major problem can be approached in an objective, logical way. Organizing the facts, and building an action plan keeps you from taking a passive posture.
Here are three legs of a planning stool:
1) Accept the seriousness of the problem. A friend has pancreatic cancer; it is serious. It is not psychosomatic handled with denial or even words of affirmation. Many current cults attempt to erase the reality of disease. But as one of my friends says, “You can’t cure diarrhea by denying it.” That may be a bit earthy, but memorable. Right? The first step in planning is to accept the reality.
2) Externalize the problem. I’m indebted to my friend Dr. Kevin Gill for a significant understanding of illness. When I was covered with the external effects of penicillin poisoning I said to him, “Kevin, my body is sick, but I’m not.” He smiled and said, “You are the kind who gets well.” Then he told me executives are the easiest patients to cure because they have a practice of externalizing problems, organizing them, and working on them objectively. He said the most difficult are those who internalize them thinking the problem is caused by guilt, punishment, or unfairness. I was speaking in Fresno, CA at a men’s meeting. I used Kevin’s quote and afterward a young badly came up to me. His physical disabilities were very apparent. He thanked me profusely, saying, “For the first time I have some words for how I feel. My body is disabled; I am not.” Ben Hayden pastored the First Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga. He told me that one of his members went through a cure for leukemia, sparking a nationally recognized book about his cure. He sent me the book and with it three pounds of letters his member had written. The great progress began when he became a “student of my disease.” This meant that simply as a third party he was going to examine the disease, being objective about it. Externalize, don’t internalize.
3) Use the problem as a learning experience. When a close friend received a cancer diagnosis he told me, “Fred, I have a new mentor: cancer. In my mind I think of it as Professor C.” There’s real wisdom in never losing the good of a bad experience. There is seldom, if ever, an experience that doesn’t contain a nugget of good. And as we learn we have the opportunity and responsibility to share with others what has been taught.
This week carefully consider: 1) What am I facing this week? 2) What comes close to overwhelming me? 3) Which of the three legs is most in need of shoring up?
Words of Wisdom: “Never lose the good of a bad experience.” (Editor’s note: in the vast library of “Fred Saids” this is one of the favorites.)
Wisdom from the Word: “Who is a wise person? Who knows the solution to a problem? A person’s wisdom brightens his appearance, and softens his harsh countenance.” (Ecclesiastes 8:1 NET Bible)