It All Starts with You
A scorpion approached the riverbank and saw a frog and asked, “Can I have a ride to the other side?” The frog said, “No, you are a scorpion and you will sting and kill me.” With that, the scorpion pleaded with the frog, “That makes no sense; if I sting you, then I too will drown.” The frog, convinced of the scorpion’s good intention, said, “Get on my back and I will take you to the other side.” About halfway across the river, the scorpion stung the frog. In total despair, the frantic frog screamed out, “Why did you sting me? Now we both will die.” To that, the scorpion replied, “Because I am a scorpion.”
We live in a society of nearly 50 percent dependents and 50 percent independents. Even our children today are losing the passion to be independent because “helicopter parents” create dependency. The right of passage and independence when I was young was getting your driver’s license; it was freedom! Today, you often see teenagers waiting until age 17, 18 or later to get their license. I don’t know about you, but all I wanted on my 16th birthday was an appointment at the driver’s license office!
If you really want to understand the difference between dependency and independency, study the society and culture of two cities that are 150 miles apart: Grand Rapids and Detroit, Mich. One is driven by entrepreneurialism, and the other by big corporations, big government and big labor. In the suburbs of Grand Rapids, in Ada, Mich., is the corporate office of Amway, the $11 billion international entrepreneurial development company. One city is vibrant and prosperous while the other struggles for achievement, with unemployment, crime and one of the largest per capita recipients of welfare.
Character is Key
You can only control your character; character is who you are when nobody is looking, and the man in the mirror never lies. The problem with some people is that what you see on the outside is never who they are on the inside. They are consumed with giving you the impression you desire in order to win your favor. The single greatest investment we can make on a daily basis is in our own character.
The development of character will cause you to find harmony and trust your instincts. This is important because it is not the decision you say “no” to that will bury you, it is the one you say “yes” to that you should have said “no” to that can devastate you. In the story, the frog loses his life because of this concept.
After World War II, a Japanese military commander was asked, “Why didn’t you attack the United States mainland after destroying Pearl Harbor, since the United States was not prepared?” Though there were certainly many reasons, his answer was a prophetic statement that focuses on our independence: “We knew that probably every other home in your country contained firearms. We knew that your country actually had state championships for private citizens shooting military rifles. We were not fools to set foot in such quicksand.”
There are those who would dismiss this statement, as they would dismiss the Second Amendment. Like they would dismiss that Switzerland’s armed citizenry wasn’t a deterrent to Hitler or that if Jews were armed, perhaps they wouldn’t have been carted away to concentration camps (a mistake the modern state of Israel isn’t making).
Plato said it best: “We can forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the tragedy of life is men who are afraid of the light.” The light of freedom is something to be thankful for and protected. This Thanksgiving, make sure to add freedom to your list.
Jeff Piersall is co-founder and CEO of SCB Marketing, which publishes i4 Business and SpaceCoast Business magazines. Contact him at (321) 537-4941 or firstname.lastname@example.org