In the journey to build and strengthen our character, it is important that we possess the courage to face the reality of our world. In this two part blog post, we will address a key principle that is essential to our continued personal growth and development.
There is a strong tendency in human behavior to try and avoid the difficult realities of our world by sticking our heads “in the sand” or continual delay until it is impossible to avoid the reality. At Harvest Time Partners, we have developed resources around a concept called The Acceptance Principle to support and encourage individuals taking a more effective step in addressing the realities of our world and continuing to move forward on their path to personal growth and accomplishment. We will address the first step of The Acceptance Principle in Part I of this blog and address the second step in Part II.
Our world continues to grow in complexity, intensity and uncertainty. There is no denying the massive changes we see in our global marketplace with technology advances and shifts to more efficient means of production and manufacturing. In addition, in our local markets, the rise of large retailers have established significant barriers to small “mom and pop” stores effectively competing on any sustainable basis. In our homes, the rise of our “connected” world has created the environment for massive “disconnect” among families as online chatter has replaced critical face to face discussions in the home. The rapid and steady use of violence in support of extreme ideologies has turned our once peaceful schools, shopping malls, and recreation areas into places of worry and concern.
The first step in The Acceptance Principle is to possess the courage to Accept Reality when looking at our world. Our world is no longer simple and predictable. There have been brief periods in our history when many could describe their world as being stable and predictable, like a good episode of Leave It to Beaver or The Brady Bunch. However, it is time we all Accept Reality that there is no possibility of turning back to a simple and steady lifestyle. The rate and pace of change in our personal and professional lives, and our world at large will only continue to increase.
Vice Admiral James Stockdale, one of the most-highly decorated officers in the history of the U.S. Navy and a survivor of over 7 years in a North Vietnamese prison camp, was interviewed by Jim Collins for his book, Good to Great. When asked how he survived all those years of torture and abuse, Stockdale described two key elements: (1) Never losing faith that you will prevail in the end and (2) Maintaining the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality. Collins termed this the “Stockdale Paradox” in his book. Although the vast majority of us will never face the challenges that Admiral Stockdale did, the wisdom he gained through that experience can help all of us as we prepare to face the reality our constantly changing world.
Once we make a decision to Accept Reality when looking at our world as it continues to grow in complexity, intensity, and uncertainty, then we can begin to transcend the challenges of a constantly changing world and make continual progress on our path to personal growth and accomplishment. We will discuss the second step in The Acceptance Principle on our next blog post.
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