MattAndJojang's Blog

God. Life. Spirituality.

Posts Tagged ‘Self-Acceptance

Celebrate Who You Are

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Having a low opinion of yourself is not ‘modesty,’ it’s self-destruction. Holding your uniqueness in high regard is not ‘egotism,’ it’s a necessary precondition to happiness and success.

~Bobbe Summer

Written by MattAndJojang

October 15, 2012 at 10:44 am

4 Leadership Lessons From The Chile Miners

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Photo: Hugo Infante/Government of Chile


Like millions, perhaps billions, my eyes were glued to the screen as the rescue capsule brought the first Chilean miner to the surface to see his wife and children for the first time in 69 days.

In spite of all the media attention and the emotionally charged atmosphere, what really struck me was something I did not expect to see. When the first rescue worker descended the shaft and emerged from the capsule to greet the 33 trapped men, I was floored by how disciplined, organized, strong, and in good spirits the miners appeared to be. Every single one of them.

And no, they weren’t just putting on a show for the cameras. After 69 days trapped in that hell-hole, I seriously doubt that was even possible.

Don’t forget, not only were these men trapped under a half mile of rock in 90+ degree heat for more than two months, but for the first 17 days after the mine collapsed, they subsisted on just two days of food and water without a hint that anyone even suspected they had survived the cave-in.

But they organized, supported each other, and in my mind, demonstrated the very best of what the human race is capable of doing under extremely challenging conditions. Here are 4 leadership lessons we can all learn from these 33 extraordinary men:

  1. Humans really are at their best under extreme adversity. We need look no further than the poise and control of all those miners when they greeted the first person they’d set eyes on in 69 days to know that humans have a surprising ability to pull together and do amazing things under extraordinarily challenging conditions. Even in business, challenges bring out the best in us.
  2. Leadership, management, and organization are not just business concepts. They’re human concepts, terms that attempt to capture how men and women uniquely organize in groups or teams to take on extraordinary challenges, even the chaos of the physical world. We attempt to replicate these concepts in the business world, but they occurred first in nature.
  3. Embracing emotion aids survival. All the hugging, kissing, and crying by almost everyone present throughout the ordeal, including Chile’s president and the rescue workers, wasn’t unique to this extraordinary event. I’ve spent time in South America, including Chile, and the people are very open, comfortable, and in touch with their emotions. I think that contributed to the miner’s survival. Feelings are our warning and guidance systems. I wonder if corporate America’s outwardly stoic nature, especially with respect to emotion, is success-limiting behavior.
  4. Democratic organizations or “social collectives” where everyone has a voice are inherently problematic. Not to mention they would fall completely apart in times of crisis, which all companies face. Had it been every man for himself instead of shift leader Luis Urzua (pictured with Chile President Sebastian Pinera) taking control, the miners would never have survived. As Jena McGregor explains in her Washington Post column:

“Immediately after the miners became trapped, Urzua reportedly got all of them to share in the sacrifice by rationing their two-day supply of food to last 17 days–when they were finally discovered–and to eat their food together at the same time. He crafted a disciplined structure to their subterranean lives, setting up orderly work shifts and creating a map of the miners’ topography to help rescuers. And he appealed to his compatriots’ emotional needs, encouraging miners to talk on camera to their families, serving as a “calming” presence …”

Bottom line: While not a “leadership lesson” per se, I’d be remiss if I didn’t call attention to the flawless execution of every stage of the rescue operation. It was truly impressive. And you know what? Not only did I find this entire experience inspiring, but knowing that there are unheralded leaders like Urzua scattered around the globe fills me with hope and optimism for all of us.


Written by MattAndJojang

October 15, 2010 at 8:03 am

God Always Forgives

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Photo by Forti Suarez

MANILA, Philippines – “A face that only a mother can love,” so goes an old dictum. With God, that should be rephrased thus: “God loves faces that even mothers cannot love.”

The image of a loving, forgiving God is illustrated in this 24th Sunday’s gospel about the Lost Sheep, Lost Coin, and Lost Son (Lk 15, 1 ff).

God as the solicitous shepherd takes pains to look for the lost sheep. To search for one insignificant sheep leaving the ninety-nine is illogical and unthinkable, according to the principles of pasturing.

Shepherds never go after one lost sheep. They have greater responsibility for the ninety-nine. That single lost sheep represents only one percent of the flock.

Not so with the loving God “who came not to condemn but to save.”

A speaker once made an analogy. He held up a crisp hundred peso bill. “I want to give this away,” he said, “but first let me do this.”

Then he proceeded to crumple the bill. “Who wants it?” he asked. Several hands were raised. He dropped the money on the ground and crushed it into the floor with his shoe.

When he held up the bill again, it was now more crumpled and dirty. “Who still wants it?” he asked again. The same hands went up. “My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson,” he told them. “No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it. Why? Because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth a hundred pesos.”

Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the sins we commit. We feel as though we are worthless, like the prodigal son in today’s gospel.

But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value in God’s eyes.

Another important lesson we can learn from the parable of the prodigal son is willingness to accept our mistake and change. Yes, God will always forgive us but we should be willing to admit we did wrong, that we committed a mistake, as a condition for restoring our broken relationship with God.

– Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD


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    Do not fret because of the wicked;
    do not be envious of wrongdoers,
    for they will soon fade like the grass,
    and wither like the green herb.

    Trust in the LORD, and do good;
    so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.

    Take delight in the LORD,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

    Commit your way to the LORD;
    trust in him, and he will act.

    He will make your vindication shine like the light,
    and the justice of your cause like the noonday.

    Be still before the LORD, and wait patiently for him;
    do not fret over those who prosper in their way,
    over those who carry out evil devices.

    Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.

    Do not fret — it leads only to evil.

    For the wicked shall be cut off,
    but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land.

    Yet a little while, and the wicked will be no more;
    though you look diligently for their place, they will not be there.

    But the meek shall inherit the land,
    and delight themselves in abundant prosperity.

    I have been young, and now am old,
    yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
    or their children begging bread.

    They are ever giving liberally and lending,
    and their children become a blessing.

    Psalm 37: 1-11; 25-26

    New Revised Standard Version

    Written by MattAndJojang

    September 1, 2010 at 8:33 am

    The Guest House

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    guest house

    This being human is a guest house.
    Every morning a new arrival.

    A joy, a depression, a meanness,
    some momentary awareness comes
    as an unexpected visitor.

    Welcome and entertain them all!
    Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
    who violently sweep your house
    empty of its furniture,
    still, treat each guest honorably.
    He may be clearing you out
    for some new delight.

    The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
    meet them at the door laughing,
    and invite them in.

    Be grateful for whoever comes,
    because each has been sent
    as a guide from beyond.


    Written by MattAndJojang

    October 21, 2009 at 9:14 am


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    Not all those who wander are lost.

    J.R.R. Tolkien, Author, Lord of the Rings

    Written by MattAndJojang

    June 19, 2009 at 2:40 am

    Love After Love

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    The time will come
    when, with elation,
    you will greet yourself arriving
    at your own door, in your own mirror,
    and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

    and say, sit here. Eat.
    You will love again the stranger who was your self.
    Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
    to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

    all your life, whom you ignored
    for another, who knows you by heart.
    Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

    the photographs, the desperate notes,
    peel your own image from the mirror.
    Sit. Feast on your life.

    Derek Walcott

    Written by MattAndJojang

    April 26, 2009 at 10:01 am

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