Once more in my lifetime we are going through an upheaval. This time it is the financial markets and economic condition. There is a great deal of pain and many of our students and communities are fearful and suffering. I would like to share with you an experience of the past and request your reply.
In the early 90s when the market was down and the world was facing another real estate crisis, many of my students had lost their jobs and people all around were economically struggling. It was a time of Charles Keating’s excesses and REOs. In one late night class, the spirits were down and many of my students uncertain about their futures felt hopelessly down.
I asked the students to respond to a hypothetical situation. I asked them to assume that they were rich and well-to-do, but had lost their respective right arms in a recent car accident. Luckily, new technology and medical science would enable the replacement of the arm through cloning. The new arm would be perfect and as good as the old and with absolutely no shortcomings. It would be identical to the lost arm.
Like many new technologies, the new arm was pricey. I asked each student what percentage of their individual wealth and savings they would spend to get the new arm. The class was at first silent. When the discussion began, all were willing to give up all or a very significant of portion of their wealth to have the new arm.
I asked how much they would give if it were their leg, heart, eyes, mind, etc.
We followed with a discussion of what if we did not have our child, spouse, friend, this great country… or our faith and hope? What would we give of our material wealth to have them back?
As heartless as this exercise was, it shed light on how rich and wealthy we really are. If we expand our vision and strategic thinking, we realize how lucky and blessed we are to have all our loved ones, our health, and this day to live, to enjoy and to serve.
Yesterday, the Dow fell more than 7 percent; it broke the 9,000 level and closed at around 8,700. As I write you this email it is down another 400-plus points.
The sun rose today and will rise again tomorrow. And, this will be behind us through hard work and sober acts.
Let’s focus on our life gifts and blessings and true wealth. Let’s reflect in this season of awe and be thankful for all that we have. We will overcome this setback as we have overcome greater challenges… challenges that proved to be opportunities in retrospect.
Freely you received, freely you give…
Kurt Motamedi, PhD, is a professor of Strategy and Leadership at the Graziadio School of Business and Management of Pepperdine University.
Related in the GBR
Gratitude at Work by Charles Kerns, PhD
Graziadio Faculty Discuss Ethics by Linnea McCord, JD, MBA, Mark Mallinger, PhD, Kurt Motamedi, PhD, Steven M. Sommer, PhD, and Ray Valadez, EdD
Seven Neurotic Styles of Management by Kurt Motamedi, PhD