Sunday is a day I set aside for other things than work and business.
So you won’t find me writing about websites, marketing, branding, selling, etc. on these days. I spend far more time with my kids, at Church, and visiting others. My focus is on other things—that have a more enduring and eternal nature to them.
That doesn’t mean I don’t run across good principles and ideas that are worth sharing though.
I’ll set these writings off the side as ‘Sunday Footnotes.’ For those who are interested in my off-the-clock thoughts, and adding their own in the comments, I’ll create a separate page to feature just these footnotes.
I encounter good words and good people every day, but Sundays especially. Good people who sacrifice so much of themselves solely for the benefit of others, that I marvel. People who invest so much time in preparing Sunday school lessons, that I’m filled with gratitude.
The good words I encounter come in the form of Scriptures and transcriptions of recent talks.
I’ve read one super talk today in particular, titled, “The Reward of Enduring Well,” by Henry B. Eyring. (Eyring is First Counselor to the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—the Mormons. I belong to this church.)
On enduring adversity
In this talk, President Eyring passes along the advice he received from a leader years ago: “When you meet someone, treat them as if they were in serious trouble, and you will be right more than half the time.”
He says, “a loving God has not set such tests before us simply to see if we can endure difficulty but rather to see if we can endure them well and so become polished.” I added the italics.
I believe this statement is true.
I believe the reason tragedy exists to such a degree in the world is to ensure we treasure our agency and use it well. To be a force for good.
I type those words knowing that worldwide suffering is the reason why others choose not to believe in a God at all. Let alone one who is benevolent.
The thinking goes that the evil we see in others must be because there is no God who would tolerate such things.
I disagree. I believe there has to be an opposition in all things. I believe that we are here to see how we’ll use our freedom to choose, and whether we’ll demonstrate faith rather than fear. And that the rewards will ultimately come greater than we can imagine though perhaps, mostly, after this life, rather than during it.
That is why one of the great reasons we have setbacks as well as tragedy here.
Which brings me to Peter Thiel
You weren’t expecting that transition, were you?
Peter Thiel is well known for several things. One of several co-founders of PayPal. Early investor in Facebook. Libertarian. Backer of candidate and now-President Donald Trump.
He’s also known to some degree for being on record as asking the following question of investment candidates:
What is something you believe that nearly no one agrees with you on?
It can be a soul-gripping question, can’t it?
I don’t know why Peter Thiel asks it, other than to push the envelope with his investees, forcing them to search deeper into their minds, hearts, or souls for an answer. I thought about that question today as I read the talk by President Eyring and earlier when I heard several other verbal talks from local members of the Church.
You could answer that question from a business or marketing standpoint, and that’s probably how he means it, though it’s open-ended for a reason.
But now I want to ask you personally:
Is there a principle or set of beliefs that you live by, that most people wouldn’t agree with you on?
Consider Chick-fil-a. It’s one of the most respected quick-service restaurant chains in America. Its revenue per location far exceeds most other quick-service restaurants’ numbers.
And yet, all locations are closed on Sundays.
Is that crazy?
The founders are willing to forego over 1/7 of their potential revenue by closing for the entire day one day every week. Everywhere.
I’m pretty confident that Chick-fil-a’s founders have a belief, like I do, that Sunday is for other things. They’ve chosen to do what they can to allow their workers at all levels to enjoy that day off, whether those employees hold similar religious beliefs or not.
Is there a set of written or unwritten rules that outline how you’ll live life? Are there principles or ideas that you operate by that you would want a future spouse or children to respect or learn from?
Do you have uncompromisable values that make up the framework for how other people will deal with you?
Do you have your own core principles that if you ever were to break them, you’d have trouble looking yourself in the mirror?
Do you have a manner of treating people that shape all of your interactions with others, whether they’re at work, the neighborhood, the kids’ schools, or elsewhere in the community?
Do you think through what it means to have integrity and good character and strive towards those things?
If everything else were stripped away from you—your family, your career, your clients—would you be an entirely different person, or would you still have certain elements that you couldn’t let go of?
Making work personal
About five years ago I wrote a short post with that title, ‘Making Work Personal.’ Here’s a brief excerpt:
Don’t be ‘that guy’ or ‘that gal’ who could have been something if only they’d work with a little more zest, a little more passion, a little more energy. By making work personal — by taking things personally — you aren’t throwing your whole work/life balance out of whack, trust me. You’re extending who you really are into work. And doesn’t it make sense to be THAT person.
Today, I’d only add the encouragement to not be ‘that guy’ or ‘that gal’ who could have been something if only they’d have principles, or character, or greater integrity.
So, what are yours? What do you believe?