These are my favorites! This is an incredible piece to read and share. One of my former students quoted this piece of Scripture on Facebook, and I have read this at weddings, my niece Kelly’s I can remember well. So thankful for the wisdom of Ken Blanchard over the many years he has influenced my life and I know so many others. Lead with love!
LEADING WITH LOVE
by Ken Blanchard
Have you ever been to a wedding at which someone read this:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
(1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
Henry Drummond, a 19th century Scottish preacher, scientist, and author, wrote a wonderful little book entitled The Greatest Thing in the World, in which he analyzes the nine elements of love in this biblical “Love Passage.” Since today is Valentine’s Day – it’s all about LOVE – I’d like to share Drummond’s analysis with you.
The first element of love is PATIENCE.
Drummond explains: “Love as patience endures evil, injury, and provocation without being filled with resentment, indignation, or revenge. It will put up with many slights and neglects from the people it loves, and it wait long to see the kindly effects of such patience.”
Sometimes you send out love to someone and get nothing in return. You send out more love and still get nothing back. But things don’t always happen when we want them to. Our timetable is not always the most important one. Realizing that, don’t be in a hurry. Be patient.
When I wrote The Power of Ethical Management with Norman Vincent Peale, he said there are two characteristics we need in life if we are going to make a difference: patience and persistence. When our patience runs out, we need to turn to persistence and keep on keeping on. When we get frustrated with our persistence not getting results, we need to return to patience.
Today, if you send out loving feelings toward someone and don’t get any positive reaction, don’t give up. Because love understands and, therefore, waits.
The second element of love is KINDNESS.
Drummond elaborates: “Love as kindness is active. Kindness seeks to be useful. It not only seizes on opportunities for doing good, but also searches for them.”
A lot of people are writing about kindness these days. Heaven knows we need a kinder world where people search for opportunities to do good, rather than getting into win/lose battles about who’s right and who’s wrong. What a difference it would make if people were constantly looking for ways to do good!
I’m reminded of a famous quotation by Stephen Grellet, a French-born Quaker missionary:
“I expect to pass through this world but once; any good, therefore, that I can do, or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
Seize the moment. Be kind … when? Now. Today!
GENEROSITY is the third element of love.
“Love as generosity does not envy the good fortune or accomplishments of others. If we love our neighbors, we will be so far from envying them and what they possess or accomplish that we will share in and rejoice at these things. The prosperity of those to whom we wish well can never grieve us.”
Here Drummond is talking about generosity of spirit — showing no envy toward others. When most people hear the word generosity, they think you’re talking about giving away money. But if you are volunteering to help others, that shows a generosity of spirit.
Generosity is so much more than material giving. It’s easy to write a check but it takes a big, loving, generous spirit to give your time, energy, attention, and help to others.
The fourth element of love is HUMILITY.
“Love as humility does not promote or call attention to itself, is not puffed up, is not bloated with self-conceit, and does not dwell upon its accomplishments. When you exhibit true love, you will find things to praise in others and will esteem others as you esteem yourself.”
When some people hear the word humility, they think of it as a weakness. Even Jim Collins, the author of From Good to Great, told his researchers to recheck the data when humility came up as the second trait of great leaders. He couldn’t believe that humility could be one of the top two traits!
But I’ve always thought of humility as a strength. In fact, one of my favorite sayings is: “People with humility don’t think less of themselves, they just think about themselves less.”
If this statement applies to you, there is a good chance that you have what it takes to be an effective servant leader. Rather than spending your days doing things that benefit yourself, your loving spirit wants to serve others.
I learned this lesson early in life from my father, who retired as a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy. When I won the presidency of the seventh grade in junior high school, I came home all proud and told my dad that I had won.
Dad said “Congratulations Ken—but now that you are president, don’t ever use your position. Great leaders are great not because they have power, but because people respect and trust them. Leadership is not about you, it’s about the people you’re serving.” Quite a lesson for 13-year-old kid.
COURTESY is the fifth element of love.
“Love as courtesy is said to be love in little things. It behaves toward all people with goodwill. It seeks to promote the happiness of all.”
It’s all about being polite — holding a door for someone, saying “thanks” when someone does something nice for you, and so on.
In the Disney parks, their first value is safety, followed by courtesy — the friendly, helpful service you get from each cast member every time you visit one of their parks or hotels. It can be as simple as a smiling face or a “My pleasure” — whatever brings happiness to their guests.
So today – and every day – remember to reach out in love with a humble heart and be a courteous and considerate person in all your interactions with people. You’ll be surprised how good it feels when you make somebody else feel good.
UNSELFISHNESS is the sixth element of love.
Here’s what Drummond writes about it:
“Love as unselfishness never seeks its own to the harm or disadvantage of others, or with the neglect of others. It often neglects its own for the sake of others; it prefers their welfare, satisfaction, and advantage to its own; and it ever prefers good of the community to its private advantage. It would not advance, aggrandize, enrich, or gratify itself at the cost and damage of the public.”
I interpret Drummond’s definition of unselfishness in many ways as being related to humility. It’s about moving from a focus on yourself to concern about helping others.
This is really a journey in life. Being unselfish is a learnedbehavior. Babies are totally self-centered and narcissistic when they come into this world. Their narcissism is healthy and appropriate – because they are totally helpless and dependent on other for their very survival, of course they are completely self-centered. But over time, as they grow and mature, they learn that others have needs too, and that living in a world with other humans requires learning to think beyond our own needs and consider the needs of others as well.
In fact, under certain circumstances, we sometimes we even sacrifice our own needs to a larger good, for the needs of our family, our community, our country. We transcend our natural selfishness to become selfless.
My father modeled unselfishness for me when I was very young. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1924. Since World War I had ended and people thought that was the war to end all wars, the Navy didn’t think they needed as many officers at that time. As a result, Dad was released after his senior cruise. In January 1925 he entered Harvard Business School with a major in finance and then headed to Wall Street to begin his career.
In 1940, he was about to be promoted to vice president of National City Bank. Instead, he came home and said to my mother, “I quit my job today.”
My mother said, “To do what?”
“I rejoined the Navy.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me!”
Dad explained: “Remember when we got married, I said that if the country ever got in trouble, I owed it something. Hitler is crazy and pretty soon the Japanese will be in this war.”
So he went from being a potential bank vice president to a second lieutenant at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. When Pearl Harbor happened in December 1941, it looked like he was going to stay there because he was 40 years old with no naval experience. But that wasn’t my father’s style—so he called one of his classmates from the Academy who was a top person at the Bureau of Naval Personnel in Washington and said, “What do you have for an old fart with no experience? I’ve got to get in the action.”
His buddy said, “Let me see what I can find and I’ll get back to you.”
A few days later he called my dad and said, “All I have for a guy with your experience is heading up a suicide group going into the Marshall Islands.”
My dad immediately said “You’ve got your man!”
Of course, he didn’t tell my mother what his friend had said. He was given the command of twelve LCI (Landing Craft, Infantry) leading the first wave into the Marshall Islands. Tragically, over half of his men were killed or wounded.
On my desk, I keep a photograph of me at five years old in a sailor suit saluting my dad as he got off the train, returning home after being away for more than two years.
My father was the most unselfish person I have ever met. How about you? Who models or has modeled unselfishness for you in your life?
The seventh element of love is GOOD TEMPER.
“Love as good temper restrains the passions and is not exasperated. It corrects a sharpness of temper and sweetens and softens attitudes. Love as good temper is never angry without a cause, and endeavors to confine the passions within proper limits. Anger cannot rest in the heart where love reigns. It is hard to be angry with those we love in good temper, but very easy to drop our resentments and be reconciled.”
Drummond spends more time on this element than any other. Why? Because if you tend to lose your temper, you will negate all the other elements of love — patience, kindness, generosity, humility, and all the rest. A bad temper can get you off a loving track easier than anything else. There’s just no place for it if you want to be a loving person.
GUILELESSNESS is the eighth element of love.
“Love as guilelessness thinks no evil, suspects no ill motive, sees the bright side, and puts the best construction on every action. It is grace for suspicious people. It cherishes no malice; it does not give way to revenge. It is not apt to be jealous and suspicious.”
I had never heard the word guilelessness before I read this passage by Drummond. It’s about always looking on the brighter side of life. My mom always told me, “Ken, don’t let anybody act like they’re better than you but don’t you act like you’re better than anybody else. There’s a pearl of goodness in everyone. Dig for it and you’ll find it.”
My wife, Margie, thinks I’m a guilelessness fanatic because I always see the good in people. One of the things that attracted her to me was that I had a lot of odd friends other people had written off. But I saw the good in them and I like to think that brought out the good in them.
SINCERITY is the final element of love.
According to Drummond: “Love as sincerity takes no pleasure in doing injury or hurt to others or broadcasting their seeming miscues. It speaks only what is known to be true, necessary, and edifying. It bears no false witness and does not gossip. It rejoices in the truth.”
This element also reminds me of my mother. She rejoiced in the truth. She would tell me, “Never lie. Always tell the truth. Mean what you say and say what you mean.” That’s the way Mom was. She gave it to you straight. She modeled sincerity.
Well, that ends my essay on love — one of my favorite topics. I always say, “Love is the answer! What is the question?” because I believe love is the answer to just about every dilemma human beings experience.
You can make all the money in the world, get tons of recognition, and have lots of power and status—and yet when you die, the only meaningful question is: Did you love well?
So on this day, Valentine’s Day, be sure to practice: patience, kindness, generosity, courtesy, humility, unselfishness, good temper, guilelessness, and sincerity. And if you practice them always, then every day can be Valentine’s Day … every day can be Love Day.