Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pride and Principle

In this life and work “doing development” and hosting “high-capacity” people in Rwanda, I have observed something in certain people who I consider much greater, much more effective, and much more accomplished than I. (Dale Dawson is chief among them.)

These people share a special aptitude for remaining focused on that which they intend to accomplish. When they encounter obstacles or resistance, they do not consider it a personal affront or threat. They do not become frustrated or angry. They do not vent or attack. They accept that there is now another matter to be addressed and resolved, and they are very strategic in how they do so. They measure their words. They are not compelled to speak every word of truth that enters their head simply because it is true. At each turn, they determine “How can I best achieve the goal? Should I speak or remain silent as others indulge themselves,… should I act now or after others become emptied or exhausted,… perhaps after others self-discover their own error without me creating enemies by revealing it? How can I get everyone focused on the the work and not distracted by unnecessary diversions and conflicts? When and how shall I move closer to the desired goal?”

In contrast, I often make the fool’s mistake of saying or doing things “as a matter of principle.” Are these other people of whom I speak “unprincipled”? No, they are simply less prideful (and much wiser) than I. And they thereby achieve much more. (But there is much hope in observing and learning from them.)

Dale Dawson, principled, but not prideful,... "Mr. Let's Just Gitt'er Done"