You know that classic sound from Law & Order with the gavel? That was Mike Post.
In the interview below Mike tells the story of how he ended up working with Stephen J. Cannell the man behind The A-Team, The Greatest American Hero, and other 1980’s hits. I find it interesting though that the relationship between Stephen and Mike started with an apology… Of course there was also a need to apologize involved as well.
In the moment we don’t always see how humility can impact the course of our lives. It’s still worth trying.
At the last General Conference for our church we were asked to read the Book of Mormon before the end of the year. I did the math and in order to finish with a bit of a buffer we’d have to read three chapters as a family a day. So we got started.
Our format for how we accomplish this has changed a bit to fit our family’s particular needs. The kids have shown how tired they are when they are asked to read in the morning. There’s a lot of misreadings that occur when eyes are still closed. One example of the misreading that has emerged was with our 13-year-old son who has recently found himself quite enjoying sports.
Just over a year ago he went from being pretty sedentary to playing football. Then he tried baseball. Football season showed up again. Then it was wrestling. He was actively wrestling when we started reading the Book of Mormon and the season was still going strong when we got to Alma chapter 8. His portion of reading landed on verse 10 which says:
10 Nevertheless Alma alabored much in the spirit, bwrestling with God in cmighty prayer, that he would pour out his Spirit upon the people who were in the city; that he would also grant that he might baptize them unto repentance.
The teenager missed the comma between spirit and wrestling. He literally read it as spirit-wrestling then didn’t finish the sentence. He exclaimed, “Spirit wrestling! Sounds cool!”
I’m not sure what he was thinking spirit wrestling was. Maybe it was when he was sore from practice the night before and he figured he’d be less sore if his body wasn’t required for wrestling. We’ll never know for sure. His siblings and mother pointed out the error, he got embarrassed and now it’s a subject he’s not willing to revisit.
The word wrestling in the scriptures is significant here. I hope that when adults read it they not only remember the all important comma, but that they also consider the nature of the verb. Any good wrestling match is tiring. It’s usually a match that in order to win one must have prepared to be stronger and capable of out maneuvering his opponent. Opponents are intentionally evenly matched and in many cases they are decided by one person’s will overcoming the other.
You’ll notice here that the word spirit isn’t capitalized. Alma wasn’t wrestling with the Spirit of God. That would be spirit with a capital S. He’s wrestling with his own spirit. He’s wrestling with his personal feelings and goals to bring them to a level of humility that he might approach our Father in Heaven asking for things that are His will.
We can take a great lesson from this verse, look at our own lives and see if there is anything that might require us to wrestle with our spirits in order to be the person we need to be in order to feel comfortable when we see our Heavenly Parents once again.
Humility is an asset.
So far in my exploration of this statement I haven’t found any good reason to think otherwise.
Humility is not self deprecation, depression, or thinking less of one’s abilities. It’s acknowledging your proper place in this grand and wonderful world.
Calvin Coolidge had this thought, “It is a great advantage to a president, and a major source of safety to the country, for him to know that he is not a great man.”
Months into the project the tracts I was working on managing were lagging behind. My inexperience, cultural barriers, technical challenges, and resources all contributed to a series of delays. No one on the team had any issue with the way I’d been handling things because I kept them in the loop and help set proper expectations.
There was a great deal of anxiety about the delayed deliverables since so much was depending on them. A meeting was called for lunch in a company that treats lunch time as a sacred break to give their employees time to refresh and we started breaking out the details on my deliverables. A lot was done, but without the complete set of work the dependent tasks could not be performed and tested.
A passionate meeting ensued. The whiteboard basically looked like it had graffiti on it. Tables were drawn. Dates were discussed and debated. People were using their outside voice inside to make sure they were heard. At the end of it the Product Owner pulled the leadership team aside and recommended that the primary PM own my effort and serve as the single point of contact.
By the time I got to the cafeteria my boss, who had scheduled the meeting, asked me how I was feeling about it.
I told him that I wasn’t offended at all. We’d reached the point where the delay on my workstreams were impacting the overall project and that the primary PM needed to be intimately aware of what was going on so he could find opportunities to move his dependent steps forward as it becomes possible to do so. I’m still managing, but now I’m feeding that PM my information at every update instead of just our normal cadence during the week.
I’m not sure how things would have changed if pride were a part of the equation, but I don’t imagine it would have made things any easier. I think it was better to spend the time to focus on the work at hand and not on placating someone’s hurt pride.