As a group of sailors stood in formation at a Navy Base, the Drill instructor said, “All right! All you idiots fall out.”
As the rest of the squad wandered away, one sailor remained at attention.
The Drill instructor walked over until he was eyeball-to-eyeball with him, and then raised a single eyebrow. The sailor smiled and said, “Sure was a lot of ’em, sir?”
I offer this simple discourse.
I have three points, maybe four. Dirt, true intentions, and the human body.
Humans are like dirt. For instance, some of the elements found in dirt are also found in the 59 elements of the human body. Maybe that is why it is fun to play in the dirt, grow stuff in the dirt and if you eat a little dirt it probably won’t hurt you. Human behavior is less shocking when you realize we are all just dirt. Apart from the obvious chemical connection with dirt, we often find ourselves treating others literally like dirt. Many problems arise when one speck of dirt thinks it is cleaner than another speck of dirt. In contrast to dirty dirt verses clean dirt men have the ability to treat others wonderfully and do incredible things. I’ve found that inside every man lays a dirt field that has the ability to produce what is planted on it. In a quick sociological observation good things can be seen growing in the worst of people and bad things growing in the best of people. One could make the argument that all the horrifying or great accomplishments of mankind came out of dirt. Out of the dust we came and to the dust we will return. Both creationist and evolutionist believe man came out of dirt. We are all just dirt. Some sing about us being dust in the wind.
True intentions are the deciding factor to what you get out of life. I have found that if I go out on a job and intend to do some work on it I will piddle around, socialize and take several breaks. If I go to the same job with the intention of finishing so I can get paid then I will focus my efforts and do everything necessary to get that check. If you intend to try something you will find a way to try it. If you intend to put it in practice and see results you will find a way to do what you truly intend. If you believe you can do it, you are right. If you believe you cannot do it, you are right. Beliefs energize our thoughts. Henry Ford put it this way. “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” A diligent man finds ways to make a project work while a lazy man finds excuses. There are no lazy people here so let us look at our intentions.
True intentions are powerful. So powerful that a plant may be able to pick up on them. When the man working for the C.I.A. who was developing the lie detector machine got a little bored he hooked it up to a plant. The meter did nothing. He dumped water on the plant and tried to drown it but nothing happened, no movement on the meter. The meter was not doing anything significant until he said he was going to burn the plant. He did not burn the plant but only stated his intention, of burning the plant. His intention of burning the plant caused the meter to start moving even though he had no matches.
He forwarded his material to a friend and asked him to repeat the experiment. It all went the same until the point where the words were spoken about burning the plant. Nothing happened in the second experiment so the inventor did it again and watched the meter. As soon as he stated his intention of burning the plant the meter moved again. It was finally realized that the plant recognized the visual image and true intentions of the person with fire. The first guy visualized and said emphatically he was going to burn the plant. The second guy just mouthed the words and nothing happened. According to this experiment a plant can detect our true intentions. If this is true then maybe we should pay a little more attention to them. If you are involved in a project with a team listen to what your group is saying about intentions. It will give you an idea of what needs to be changed or reinforced.
There is power in positive and negative thinking. Not many books are written about how to be a negative thinker. Things left alone with nature will tend toward chaos so without energy infused in a process it will decay. Murphy’s Law states, “anything that can go wrong will.” Murphy forgot to stress, his law works best when people talk bad things into existence. Murphy’s Law is correct because of entropy. Nature and humanity constantly interact and things go wrong. Nature and people collide at times and it tends toward chaos so it is important to prepare for anything that could go wrong. There is a distinction to be made. Preparing for disaster is called making a plan. Expecting disaster and focusing on it, has a tendency to help bring about Murphy’s Law. We need to be aware of Murphy’s Law and do preventative work but not to the point that only disaster is expected. We need to focus on the good things that we stand for and the possibilities for good to happen. It is far better to say “any good thing that can happen will happen;” instead of “if it wasn’t for bad luck I would have no luck at all.” The perception of good will raise expectations. When you plant a garden, you focus on a good outcome of the dirt.
If you believe that men who volunteer to serve are basically good, willing and have initiative and you treat them accordingly you will see behavior that confirms that belief. On the other hand a belief that men are twisted, dishonest and lazy will show up as self-fulfilled prophesies also. When you believe that someone contains honesty, you’ll often find they are honest. Believe men are honest, expect them to act honestly but stay in touch with the facts and check the standards. It is my experience with working with Navy Quality control that men like to meet and exceed standards when they know someone is checking. If there are standards to reach then check to make sure the standards are met. Donald Trump said. “hire good people and then watch them like a hawk.”
When a building is being built there are measurable standards and at any stage it is possible to tell if the building is meeting those standards. Yes believe the best and expect high standards and then get down in the mud and check for yourself at every stage of construction. If something is 7 inches out of square and 8 inches out of level everyone involved needs to know so they can make changes. When no one is applying a standard is when important benchmarks are missed. Believe the best and apply standards. Honorable men love to exceed standards when given the chance. It proves to the world that they are honest.
My third point is about the human body. It has many parts. The many parts make up one body. It is the same way in the any organization. It takes many people with many different skills to make a company, school, clinic function. This necessity for different people is similar to how the body needs different parts to produce the different functions it needs to survive. Suppose the clinic contained all the same skillsets like a body with all arms. There would be no feet or eyes to have direction. All parts of the body are needed and each part has to be where it needs to be so the body can function correctly. As the hand cannot do the job of the foot likewise the athletic director does not do the job of the facilities manager. Now do you think one manager would ever say to another manager, “I don’t need you?” Well do you think your back would ever say to your hand, “I don’t need you,” Or your hand to the back “I don’t need you.” Well they do say it but both need each other. The back needs the hand to scratch it and the hand needs the strength of the back. Furthermore, some of the parts that seem weakest and least important are often the most necessary. All men and women together make up the organization you are connected to, and each one is a separate and necessary part of it.
Remember this the next time you are tempted to speak ill of a part of your body because you are connected to it so you are talking about yourself. You are connected to other dirt that is capable of producing great things. Lets us focus on those great things and expect good things to come out of the dirt. Are you with me? Choose. Alright here is the fourth point. Identity with an organization is powerful. The next time someone praises your organization see if you take it as a personal compliment. Check and see if you are insulted if someone criticizes. If you are in the news check and see how you respond to the news story. This is a simple test and you should find your identity is connected to your organization.
The following definition from the social sciences provides this information and is considered as common knowledge. It is paraphrased. When men understand who they are there is less destructive behavior within the group. Also men derive their sense of self, in part, from knowing that a group they value regards them as respected members. And this big one, cooperative behavior is linked to the role that organizations play in defining and maintaining people’s social identities. This is a good observation so let me break it down to a workable form. In other words, men will define their self-worth through the eyes of another person especially if they outrank them. When a guy receives positive identity relevant affirmations from their peers and managers they willingly cooperate with the organization. Furthermore, this will snowball because men who develop a favorable identity based on the respect that is shown from their chain of command will voluntary engage in cooperative behaviors without anyone watching. Some call this, “working as unto the Lord.”
Today is a time for great expectations. Let us move into today with the intention of going over, instead of going under. The plants will know and so will the community. There are brothers and sisters who are serving that are in need of respect, your positive affirmations and camaraderie. As one piece of dirt to another I say, “Let’s give it to them.” Let us speak well of our members because we are all connected. Let us lift each other up to a higher level and finally let us be in our place of service so the body can function. Turn skills into gifts.
Let us close with a word of prayer. Our Gracious Heavenly Father. Thank You for the Gift of Jesus, Your only Son. Help us to recognize our dependency on Him. Help us to follow along the path of compassion and goodness that we are founded upon, the compassion and goodness that comes from heaven. Father, place Your strength in us and give us Your Grace to fulfill our purpose as men and women who share forgiveness, kindness and love with the people we are connected to. Help us Gracious Lord and Friend. In the name or the Father, Son and Holy Spirit we pray. Amen. Chaplain, Joseph A. Nosak