Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Compass and the Clock


Which of these two items, a compass or a clock, is more useful to you every day? Many of us immediately think of the clock as more useful. You see, we chase time, try to manage our time, try to meet deadlines and commitments in a timely manner. We get up on time because we have to get to work on time because if we don’t this time, there may not be a next time because there’s no time like the present and time is short, time is running out, time and tide wait for no man and we can’t wait ‘til it’s “Miller time!”

I submit to you that in the grand scheme of things, the compass, or more importantly, what the compass represents, is more useful. The clock is about urgency; the compass is about importance. My mentor, Stephen Covey, has put it in a framework that speaks to me and I would love to share that with you this evening. That framework is one that elegantly sums up those things that are fundamental to human fulfillment. That framework is this: Each of us has at our core the need to live, to love, to learn, and to leave a legacy. Let’s explore!

First, the need to live is to meet our physical needs as human beings: food, clothing, shelter, economic well-being, health. I, and later, my wife and five children, have lived many places in the pursuit of those basic needs. 20 moves to 18 places, 9 on my own, 11 with my wife and our children. 27 years....together as a family

The next need, the need to love is to meet our social need to relate to other people, to belong, to love and to be loved. In every place we have been, we have tried to find the best things to be thankful for. In every place we have been, often times thousands of miles away from our extended family, we have been thankful for our faith, our friends, and our family, near and far.

The third need, the need to learn, speaks to our mental need to develop and grow. My learning as a young soldier, my graduation from college, and my subsequent learning over many years in manufacturing and leadership are nothing compared to what God has taught me through raising our children. We have taught them much but learned so much more in the process. Thank God for kids!

The last need, the need to leave a legacy, is our spiritual need to have a sense of meaning, purpose, personal peace, and contribution. It’s why we belong to the church and pray for guidance. It’s why we try to give back and help our communities through groups like Rotary and the Boy Scouts of America. It’s why we work so hard to ensure the safety and well being of our families. It’s why we want so much for our children.

In conclusion, I hope I have provoked some thought. I challenge each of you to think on these needs and the fact that they are all vitally important: to live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy. It doesn’t take much to realize that if any one of these four needs goes unmet, our quality of life will be reduced. As the clock drives us to address the urgent, let the compass be your guide what is truly important.

1 comment:

Peter said...

Excellent topic, fantastic philosophy. The sad thing is many people have a compass but have no idea where true North is. Well said my freind!