THE MANILA TIMES
Business Times p.B1
Thursday, March 31, 2005
LEARNING & INNOVATION
By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
Keeping Easter: Translating beliefs into action
HAPPY Easter! After the Holy Week, it is back to normal. Business as usual! The significance of the Lenten season and Easter is again lost in us as we get mired in the many cares and concerns of life. We’ll digress a bit from our usual “business” topic and explore this issue.
So how do we keep Easter until next Easter Sunday? How do we translate our beliefs into action?
What are beliefs? Author Dick Richards (The Art of Winning Commitment) defines beliefs as the fundamental ground of the judgments we make about ourselves, others, and the events of our lives, and thus they hold sway over our behavior. He says, by example, that we are likely to treat with respect and dignity people we believe are basically good and we are likely to treat with caution and suspicion people we believe to be basically selfish and untrustworthy.
He continues, “Beliefs are not knowledge but articles of faith; either we need no proof of their truth, or our perception are constructed in such a way that their truth is continually proven to us. They are our personal certainties, sometimes borrowed from others, changeable over time and with experience. For as long as we hold beliefs, though, they are highly resistant, perhaps even immune to persuasion of their falseness.”
However, he also cited the example of Enron as the abject failure of organizations to enact their beliefs. In its 1998 Annual Report, Enron espoused the values of “respect, integrity, communication and excellence. The report emphasized that “respect,” does not include “ruthlessness, callousness and arrogance.”
Sadly, these beliefs were held in paper, not in the actions particularly of management.
Dick Richards gave the example of three-time mayor of Cave Creek, Arizona, USA, Vincent Franzia, who used his beliefs in the Buddhist tenets and practices and Buddha’s Four Noble Truths to successfully lead his constituents. Richards wrote, “He had no intention of making a religious statement. Rather, his intention is to be a leader that provides a fractious community with a sense of peace and an atmosphere of mutual respect upon which it can build its future.”
To act on our beliefs, we need to articulate them first. These are inspiring beliefs from physical therapist Pat Croce: ”my undying tenet is that if you do your best, God will take care of the rest.” Social worker Bonnie Wright says, “If you are doing the right things, the resources are going to come to you to do it.”
Public servant Beverly O’Neill: “I know there is a higher power. I have defined it myself in my own way. The strengths sustain me.”
Second, we connect our actions to our beliefs. Sweet Alice Harris has a pat answer, “We should be helping all the time.
We have to come out of our own comfort zone and start helping people. God loves a joyful giver” Leaders are those who serve, not merely as a political commitment, but to serve and do it for its own sake and for its own rewards. Leaders are those who consider service as a spiritual commitment.
We need to always consciously test our thoughts, statements and actions against our beliefs. Rotary International has its own sets of beliefs embodied in the Four Way Test. It asks the following four questions of the things we think, say or do:
Is it the TRUTH?
Is it FAIR to all concerned?
Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
Unfortunately, these were lost in one “veteran” Rotarian who speaking about protocol said that in Rotary, men and women should be seated alternately, as in man, woman, man, woman, etc. “You know why? Because when women sit together, wala silang ginagawa kundi magtsimis ng magtsimis.” In the same speech he said, “In your meetings, never pray to the Virgin Mary because some people do not believe that Mary was a virgin.”
His beliefs about women are very pronounced. As I listened to him, I wondered about his mother, wife, children, aunt, cousins, colleagues, etc. What kind of women are they? What are his issues about them? How does he treat them? Is he gay?
(Moje believes in God, in Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit, in the Virgin Mary, in the goodness of man and in service above self. You can send her feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org)