Friday, January 26, 2007

The best way to control something...renovate it.

When I studied in Jerusalem, there was a chapel owned by the Syrian Orthodox that was completely burnt out. The fire, apparently, started because of candles, a staple in the forms of Christianity that actually trace their roots back to the time of Christ. In any case, the Syrian Orthodox church is very poor. They are unable, financially, to rebuild the chapel. But, when asked for assistance from (I believe) the Armenian Orthodox Church, the refused. Why, you may ask. Because they knew that if the Armenians helped them they would also be able to say that they own it. It would, for all intents and purposes, become their chapel that they renovated.

In the last couple of weeks, I've found the inverse of this principle to be particularly useful. There are people who want me to take over responsibility of something so they pretend that they don't know how to do it. Of course, they really want me to take over something. But, ironically, they wouldn't let me have creative control (along with the students who work with me) on their event. They just want me to take my group to them so that they can take control of my group. It's a tricky way of doing things, if you ask me and a hard principle to implement. Don't fall into the trap of believing that you can do everything. Limit yourself to what you can actually do.

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