Weekly Thought – June 24, 2014
Fred and Mary Alice were married 67 years. Their life together began on June 25, 1937. They rented a room from an older woman and lived there saving money and setting their course. They never lived beyond their means, always choosing to save half their income. Their family has grown to 3 adult children, 2 dear in-laws, 6 grandchildren, and 13 great grandchildren. We remember this marriage with gratitude.
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The Benefit of Failure
Every multi-millionaire I know has suffered failure. Mike Todd, the movie mogul, was once asked if he had ever been poor. “No, but I have been broke two or three times.” Broke was a temporary financial condition; poor was a mental condition. Most of America’s poverty cannot be solved by throwing money at it. We are distressed by poverty of the spirit, not just the pocketbook.
Financial reversals often impact self-image, and the desire to accomplish. In reflecting on my upbringing, the thought struck me – we didn’t know we were as poor as we were. Our family focused on the art of living, not the standard of living.
The American economy is hurting, and these are troubled times for many. Upheavals of any variety are better handled by strengthening our emotional control. Please understand me – emotional control, as an element of perseverance, is not teeth gritting and rope clenching. This is about creating a process. Here is one of the principles I find helpful:
Stretch your emotional wheelbase
The difference between a child and an adult is the quick oscillation between the emotions. The Texas climate is often described like this, “Don’t like the weather? Well, just wait a minute.” Some people’s emotions are like that. Think about cars: hitting a bump in a Volkswagen is a lot different from a Cadillac. The length of the wheelbase determines the time span between the front end’s hitting the bump and the rear. We need to stretch the effect of events that change our moods. Maturity means managing life’s speed bumps with discipline and control.
Dr. Richard Swenson writes in his book, Margin, that stress depletes our emotional reserves. He contends too many of us are riding in the red zone with our emotional thermometers registering “overheated.” Stretching our wheelbase gives us an edge in rough times preventing our going over the edge.
This week consider carefully: 1) Am I riding on a SmartCar wheelbase or a Hummer? 2) What speed bumps are throwing me right now? 3) How do I handle failure?
Words of Wisdom: “Our family focused on the art of living, not the standard of living.”
Wisdom from the Word: “He is your constant source of stability; he abundantly provides safety and great wisdom; he gives all this to those who fear him.” (Isaiah 33:6 NET Bible)