Steve Harvey – Poetic Justice: What are the Lessons To Be Learned?
February 10, 2016 by Herbert Daughtry
External realities are not what defeat us. It is our attitude, or what we think about what happened to us. I once read a speech by the motivational speaker, Dr. Wayne Dyer, in which he made my point in a dramatic fashion. He said he would give a million dollars to the person who could find a thimble full of stress. He made this point in reference to people who says, “Something or someone stressed me out. The emphasis, he argued, was that stress was not out there hidden under some rock or in someone’s hands. Stress is inside of us. It is what we think about what is happening to us.
Similarly, it also goes for people who say, “He or she got on my last nerve.” What do we mean? Did someone take our nerves out of our bodies, put it on the floor and stepped or jumped on it? Certainly not! We mean that someone or something upsets us. Even when we say that, it’s not accurate. No one can get on our nerves. It is we, ourselves, who get on our own nerves. We do so by how we interpret what is happening to us.
In William Shakespeare’s play, “Julius Caesar,” Brutus relayed that the plans to gain sovereignty over Rome was quickly failing. They had assassinated Caesar, and had given Mark Anthony the lead to speak. He had turned the crowd against them. Cassius said, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
We are eager to blame others and something for our failures. When I used to play ball, I always found it amusing how people handled errors or mistakes – for instance, a ground ball goes through a player’s legs, or he fumbles the ball. Instead of steadying his technique, coordination, agility, or approach to the game, he looks at his gloves, or looks at the ground as though it had moved. He looks at everything else but himself. The players who studied themselves became better. The players who blamed the ground or the glove never developed their skills.
The Chinese character for crisis is opportunity with danger. It means that a crisis handled in a certain way can be an opportunity for good, to better ourselves, or to make the world better. However, if neglected, there may be a reinforcement of what produced the crisis. The point is, we can become worst.
The scourge of the South was the boll weevil, a bug that was destructive to cotton buds and flowers. A town called Enterprise, Alabama experienced the scourge of the boll weevil that decimated the cotton crops. It literally bankrupted the town. The citizens commenced blaming each other, the weather, the ground, or any number of things. They decided the blame game was not a winning game. They put their heads together and came up with a plan to diversify their crops.
Eventually, the town began to prosper. They raised a monument to the boll weevil. There, in Alabama, where a crisis threatened to destroy the town, the people used their experience to better their lot. They realized had it not been for the boll weevil, they would not have learned the means by which they became prosperous. To repeat, of all things to which we can build a monument, can you imagine a boll weevil – the scourge of cotton farmers? The townspeople of Enterprise proved the Chinese proverb and innumerable other examples to be right. A crisis is an opportunity.
In the story of the Ms. Universe mistake, there was no tragedy. A similar situation of supreme importance where conveying false information did happen. In the following instance, death was involved. I can’t recall all the details, but there was an accident where someone was killed. The person killed was Mary. However, word was sent to another family that their daughter – let’s call her Amy, had been killed.
You can imagine the joy experienced by Mary’s parents, and the grief by Amy’s parents. Then, the word came that it was Mary, and not Amy, who was killed in the accident. There was a dramatic change in the emotions of the parents, friends, and supporters. Now, the tables were turned. Relief and joy in the parents who were once grieving, and grief and sorrow in the parents who were once happy all because of false information.
I can’t repeat often enough that information presented to us only has the power that we give it – to help or hurt us. In Mr. Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem, “If,” there a few lines which always cause me to reflect. This is a great poem, which should be learned by all!
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
IF YOU CAN MEET WITH TRIUMPH AND DISASTER
AND TREAT THOSE TWO IMPOSTERS JUST THE SAME. (my caps)
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools…
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son
[Or, you’ll be a Woman, my daughter (my insert).]
“Triumph and Disaster,” are they imposters? Are they not real? Are they false? What Mr. Kipling was getting at was the profound truth that we have been emphasizing – external realities are powerless; therefore, in a sense, they are not what they seem.
The Holy Scriptures surely will have something to say on this super-important matter. In Romans 8:28, we find these words: “We know that in all things God works for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” If we can bring that attitude or faith to every external situation, we will always emerge victoriously. If we can believe that, in the worst of situations, somehow and in some way, “God is going to work in this for good,” we can move through life triumphantly.