A recent Sunday school lesson started with a play on words shown as the title of this blog. Everyone in the class laughed immediately. No one needed any explanations. Besides being a twist on the title of a familiar song, “Standing on the Promises”, it was just so profoundly accurate and descriptive of life today.
That prompted me to check out who wrote the song. It was composed by Russell Kelso Carter, a star athlete, excellent student, successful teacher and coach, an ordained Methodist minister, and a doctor of medicine! He was also a musician and songwriter. In 1886, he co-authored a hymn book with John Sweney that included Carter’s most famous hymn, “Standing on the Promises”.
At age 30, Carter’s heart was failing and physicians of the day could do no more for him. Carter turned to God for help and healing and it was then that he began to stand upon his understandings of the biblical promises of healing. He was determined to believe no matter what his physical condition, nor how he felt. Over the course of the next several months, his strength returned and his heart was completely healed! Carter lived another healthy 49 years.
The hymn Carter had written several years before his healing miracle had now became more than words and music to him. He stopped “sitting on the premises” and the act of “standing on the promises” became an integral part of his life. So, even for the guy who wrote the song, sitting on the premises was an easy trap to fall into and certainly not enough. Interesting and inspiring.
Perhaps this then is also a lesson for all of us today in the energy industry. Perhaps we have been too comfortable and complacent just sitting on the sidelines accepting the status quo and business the way it used to be. Maybe this is a call to stand for what we believe in and act in ways that produce positive outcomes. Something to ponder.
It is funny to me how differently people think about things. When President Bush complained that he didn’t like broccoli, it set off a series of lawsuits. Now, the movie Jurassic World seems clearly to be setting records at the box office while movie critics complain that it is a terrible movie … kind of like complaining that people do not eat their spinach. After all, it is good for them.
Take a look at this rant: Jurassic World is a Huge Mega Hit
I remember Popeye the Sailor who did eat his spinach. He can have the maiden Olive Oil for all I care. Not my type. And, frankly, I like spinach, broccoli, and get this … Brussel sprouts … which my children always called with distain, Brussel bumps! Yes, I really do like them. But, I am in a rare group who do.
If we are going to measure success by what customers buy, perhaps we do have to lower our academic and philosophically elitist standards. We are not wrong … we are perhaps just a bit naïve. That my friends is why I used James Carville’s one-liner from Bill Clinton’s campaign: It’s the economy stupid!
That is why I wrote the book about how measuring temperature is going to turn the energy world upside down … in ways very similar to the reasons why Jurassic World is so popular … people want this type of information. They don’t want to work hard to understand things. It’s the Thermostat Stupid.
If you want a digital copy just let me know.
No I did not misspell that title … and yes, it is a play on words. I was scanning the Wall Street Journal this morning and found an article about scoring fine wine. Now I have to admit, I have been very suspicious of the wine scores I see in the store, but to be perfectly honest, I only look at them when I am tempted to buy a cheap bottle at Publix and just want to be sure it will not taste awful. I find most wine is pretty good these days even when I am only paying a few dollars for a bottle of red.
Now, yes, there are times when I truly enjoy some of the “better” wines but I am perfectly fine with garden-variety wines for a glass with my meal … seems like one of those lovely pleasures in life.
So, what is my point about whine vs. wine? We have now become connoisseurs about too many things and have let the quest for the perfect get out of balance with the reality that there is always a law of diminishing returns. People who know a lot about a subject can strut their stuff and many times convince us that simple solutions are simply not as elegant and therefore as desirable as the best.
In a previous blog, I pointed out that NASA spent millions of dollars designing a ball point pen that would work in outer space. The Russians simply chose to use pencils.
We are all now listening to politicians and their ideas about immigration issues. Truly, this situation deserves careful and thoughtful actions. It is terribly complex, especially after decades of kicking the politically charged can down the road. But, in our small company we just lost two valuable employees who had perfectly valid work visas because they failed to file a certain form on time and were GONE two days later … no ifs, ands, or buts. Two perfectly productive, tax-paying individuals were ejected from our country for simply not having a form filled out after years of productively working here.
To me, what we are listening to from all too many politicians is a fine whine and little leadership to resolve the problem.
This will be a short blog, but it will not be sweet.
Our politicians love to create glib legislative objectives: 20% by 2020… almost as if the numbers aligned with some form of cosmic numerology.
Then, they glibly decide base years for their metrics… with absolutely no regard for rewarding those who acted early to do the right thing according to these same metrics.
For example, let’s say the government decides to give people health plan discounts for maintaining their weight. Base year thinking would be to give credit to those who lose compared to a point in time, so someone who weighed 250 pounds and lost 20 pounds might get a credit of x. The person who was at their ideal weight all along and lost nothing would get no credit. The penalty for leadership in action.
So, when companies with vision and leadership do the right things ahead of these superficial decisions, they are not going to get to “take credit” according to these arbitrary and capricious rules created as a part of these political grand plans.
So… why do the right thing when it literally pays to drag your feet and wait to the very last minute so you can the cheaply and easily do what you should have done all along … because there is a penalty for leadership.
Think about it. This is truly sad. When are we going to confront it?
Go ahead and Google it … I know you are wondering … did Joel make this up? Nope. There is a cemetery in the town of Little Hope in Kentucky. You pass it on the way to Mammoth Cave National Park. I just had to stop and take a picture of the prominent sign at the entrance and sent it to our pastor, who happened to be from Kentucky. Just too funny … at least with my weird sense of humor.
More recently, I posted a cartoon on my Facebook page that I liked. It is of a Pastor preparing a sermon about giving, and he is asking his minister of music to NOT play “Jesus Paid it All.” Since I play that song often in the church orchestras I participate in, I start laughing each and every time we are asked to play it.
But, this got me thinking. What happens when you lose hope? One of my friends describes happiness as having just three simple things: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for. What happens when you give up on your hopes and dreams?
Speaking for myself, there have been times in my life when I have been tempted to do precisely that. But, something keeps driving me to complete the tasks I have started. Maybe that is hope. That I can take some of the things I have started and bring them to beneficial conclusion in service to our country, our industry and our children’s children.