A little bird was flying south for the winter and got caught in an ice storm. The rain on his wings began to freeze to where he could no longer fly and crashed to the ground. Lying on the ground frozen he thought, “I will surely freeze to death.”
A dog came by and picked up the bird. The little bird thought. “Will he eat me or just play with me till I die.”
The dog dropped the bird into a pile of cow manure. The little bird thought, “Can it get any worse? Now I shall die a slow death in this pile of smelly manure.” To the little bird’s surprise, the manure was warm. He felt better even though he smelled. The warm manure melted the ice on the bird’s wings. He could flap his wings again and be able to fly south. The little bird was so happy he began to sing. A nearby cat heard the singing bird and promptly plucked him out of the manure and devoured him.
The original moral when I heard the story years ago was; Everyone who gets you into manure isn’t your enemy. Everyone who gets you out of manure isn’t your friend. If you are warm and happy but in manure keep your mouth shut.
The moral of the story for me is:
Everyone we think is our enemy isn’t. Everyone we think is our friend isn’t. We all have personal examples, like teachers, coaches and parents who had us do things we thought didn’t make sense at the time like homework, training, going to church or being disciplined. I didn’t have their experience to understand how they were helping me. They all taught me the importance of thinking before speaking or acting. If we keep an open mind, as we get to know people we may find we can work together on a common goal.
Telling the difference between friend and foe sometimes isn’t always easy. We must avoid assumptions and look for truth. Look at what people do and not what they say. Actions speak louder than words. We can to get to know people on a personal level and ask questions without making assumptions. People don’t think about us as much as we think they do. They think more about themselves and act accordingly. We must think for ourselves.
Thinking is the process of using one’s mind to consider or reason about something. The Britannica dictionary says, Thinking is the action of using your mind to produce ideas, decisions, memories, etc. The internet is full of people and sites who use emotion to tell us what to think about a topic or an event. Cable news is full of people on both sides of issues telling us how they want us to think about a topic. Americans can make good decisions when they have facts. We are seeing a movement of people to organizations, cable channels and sites who claim to report the news without commentary or political bias.
One of our greatest constitutional freedoms is the freedom of speech. A free press that questions our political leaders and holds them accountable is essential. One of the first things a dictator does is take control of the media so it carries his message and not the truth. During the Cold War Radio Free Europe was established to broadcast the truth to people behind the Iron Curtain who only heard Communist Propaganda. Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty still exists today. It reports the news in 23 countries where a free press is banned by the government.
As a manager I wanted to hear the truth from my staff and employees. It wasn’t always pleasant, especially if it was how they felt about something I did. Truth is essential to making a good decision. The late 1960s and 1970s was a period of change and questioning everything on college campuses. When I came home from college my Dad, a World War II veteran and I had
lively and sometimes heated discussions. Dad always listened even if he didn’t agree. Dad taught me a lot about the importance of freedom of speech. Free speech on college campuses is especially important. New and unique ideas can be presented, debated and given consideration. Creative thinking should be encouraged. All sides of issues must be heard. That is how we get better as a nation. In my opinion, shouting down or intimidating any speaker on a college campus to restrict their free speech should be a cause for immediate expulsion. The only reason someone would need to do this is if their own argument is weak or a lie.
We can look for people and organizations with a track record of success and honesty when it comes to deciding who to believe. Shale Crescent USA has a history of developing new ideas from existing information and research. A typical response after we speak is, “I never thought about it that way.” Or “We had no idea.” The U.S. Department of Energy didn’t realize how much natural gas we produce as a region. They only looked at the individual states. Nathan, the Shale Crescent USA President just got back from a conference in India where we were invited to speak. Nathan changed their thinking. They had no idea we were a major natural gas producing region. They, “Thought all the gas was in Texas.” The fact that the USA can now manufacture products at a lower cost than China or buying American can lower emissions were new ideas.
It is critical to think for ourselves instead of just relying on opinions of others. We need to feel comfortable asking questions and evaluating their truthfulness. No matter our political beliefs we should work to protect freedom of speech for everyone. By thinking for ourselves we can make good decisions and generate creative ideas based them on truth and facts.
Greg Kozera, email@example.com, is the director of marketing and sales for Shale Crescent USA, www.shalecrescentusa.com. He is a professional engineer with a master’s in environmental engineering and over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. He is a professional speaker and author of four books and numerous published articles.
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