August 2015 Good $ense Newsletter: The Importance of Perspective
After a major battle in WWII, a doctor on the front lines was running low on morphine. So rather than automatically administering it to badly wounded soldiers, he asked them how much pain they were in. To his great surprise, 75% of them said the pain wasn’t that great and they didn’t need morphine.
Before the war he had been a doctor in the emergency room of a large city hospital. When patients came there with injuries similar to those of the soldiers they were almost always in great pain. Why the difference?
Years of investigation of the phenomena convinced the doctor that the difference in felt pain was a result of the person’s perspective on the injury.
For the soldier who was shot, typical thoughts might be, “I’m hurt but I’m still alive! Soon I’ll be evacuated to a hospital. I’ll be safe there – there will even be nurses! I will get a medal and get to go home!” These soldiers were not focused on the pain of their injury but on the results that were forthcoming.
In contrast, a person the doctor treated in the civilian hospital who had been shot in an attempted holdup, for instance, was probably thinking, “I’m hurt but I’m still alive. How will I pay for my injuries? How much work will I miss? What will be the impact on my family?”
Where the soldier’s injury would remove him from a difficult and dangerous situation, the civilian’s injury was only going to create difficulties. Similar injuries, similar surgeries, similar healing processes – but very different perspectives.
Similarly, people in need of financial “surgery” experience a level of pain determined by their perspective. When the perspective is limited to the sacrifices that must be made, the amount of time to get “back on their feet” financially, and the obstacles encountered along the way, the level of pain will be high – maybe high enough to tempt them to give up. But when the perspective is on the goal – financial freedom – even the obstacles can become sources of excitement and can generate determination.
Our job servants in the area of stewardship is to help people maintain perspective. A stewardship friend put it this way, “Every ‘no’ must be accompanied by a compelling ‘yes’ or the ‘no’ becomes simply deprivation.” Keep your students and those you coach feeling motivated rather than deprived by focusing on the goals they are moving toward and on the freedom they will experience when those goals are met.
The Freed-Up Coaches Training and Freed-Up Financial Living curriculum’s can help! And for you, faithful leaders and teachers, remember the joy and freedom your sometimes difficult efforts are producing in the lives of those you serve.
President, Good Sense Movement
Transforming Finances! Transforming Lives!