I awoke this morning with my first conscious thought - embracing change in our lives is what brings improvement.
Let me illustrate. In my daily work I am tasked with introducing Packsize to businesses all across the country who have expressed not only an interest in our value proposition, but are committed to change. We deploy On Demand Packaging, an end-to-end supply chain improvement for corrugated paper. Our founder and CEO, Hanko Kiessner, is fond of asking the rhetorical question, "We can put a man on the moon, but we can't make the right-sized box?" His life's work is devoted to answering that question.
Businesses we target exist and continue to thrive in this country despite all the negativity and regulatory hurdles that swirl around them from the political class, because they are constantly evolving to a higher level of efficiency. They manage budgets. They seek profits. They employ people. They reject wasteful practices. They look for ways to innovate. They are rarely content with the status quo. They embrace disruptive technology like ours.
I train my team to look for the decision makers in organizations who are committed to these principles. Rarely do we have success by engaging low-level managers. When I talk to a purchasing manager who tells me, "We already have established relationships with corrugate suppliers," I know I am speaking to the wrong person. Those people exist for one reason only - to make the status quo work. They defend what they are doing. Change for some managers threatens their existence. No, I tell my team, those aren't the people we are interested in engaging for our conversation about change. We want strategic thinkers who are risk-takers; senior-level executives who are willing to extend themselves into the future lives of their companies. We want the people who are judged by their organizations on their willingness and courage to embrace change. We want the executives that understand change is painful but necessary for their future survival as a company.
Just yesterday, we engaged the strategic thinkers at Panasonic, US Auto Parts, Knoll Furniture, Bosch Rexroth, and Berry Plastics. These are each innovative and dynamic companies with an eye on the future. Our competitors might read this and look with envy on how we managed to engage these stellar companies. Am I worried? No. They cannot begin to compete with what we do and how we do it. We are agents of change, and initially we often impose painful realities on our clients. We get a commitment that they are open to exploring change. But invariably they thank us later. Our video testimonials are testament to that fact.
Our area managers, deployed now around the world, are not traditional salespeople. Instead, they are team captains who are adept at engaging the client with our engineers to develop customized solutions with an eye to improvement. The business case must be made to the satisfaction of each side. We invest a lot of up front consulting to discover the needs of our clients. We are confident in our ability to deliver that change with an accompanying significant cost reduction. We obliterate the status quo. And we are very profitable.
This pulsating Democrat political meme that corporations are somehow to be denigrated and criticized for making profits is wrong-headed and misguided. Profits in the hands of wise entrepreneurs are routinely re-invested and often plowed right back into the operations of their companies so they can continue to grow, thrive and prosper. THAT's where jobs come from. Anyone whose address is Washington D.C. cannot assert they create jobs. I've worked in the private sector my whole life. I can tell you who the job creators are. They are the innovators and the decision makers, the risk-takers, who routinely figure out ways to employ people and meet their payrolls and pay taxes.
They are people like Mitt Romney. They are NOT people like Barack Obama. We all know what makes America tick. In 2008, anxious for change, we made a mistake, but it was only an aberration and we can adjust and correct it this year.
Governments are NOT the solution to ANYTHING. They exist to serve us as the people, and for no other reason. We have allowed our federal government to consume and waste far too many of our resources. We must now assert CHANGE on the political class on November 6th. We must take remedial action to improve as a country. It will be painful to some (those who don't embrace this year's change agent, Mitt Romney), but it must be done if we are to have any hope of changing the trajectory of America's future.
On a personal level in a gospel paradigm, think about what change means to you. It often comes under the label "repentance." I am not impressed with people who steadfastly reject repentance because they think it is just too painful. They defer, they procrastinate, and they resist change. They "manage" the status quo. I will never forget one young man I interviewed, when he said to me, "Bishop, I just don't want to repent fully because I love my sins too much." It startled me when he said it, but as I reflected later on his words, even after all these years, I realized he was speaking a marvelous truth. Change is often painful. Repentance is often hard at first. Stepping over the hurdles that would impair our desire to change, however, often brings improvement and innovation.
Many people tell me they feel "trapped" by their circumstances. Those people embrace a "victim mentality," suggesting that everything that is going on their lives is beyond their control. I remember so many disgruntled employees I worked with years ago at Zions First National Bank (back in the day), who hated everything they did on a daily basis, but refused to quit and find something better. I resolved I would never be one of them. They are in agony, most of them. They lament that things are the way they are, and they seem helpless to change and improve. They cite factors beyond their control as evidence of their inability to effect real and lasting change in their lives. Happiness seems to elude them. They find little joy in their daily existence.
These are fanciful falsehoods. Their author is the enemy to all righteousness.
In the gospel of Jesus Christ we encounter many seeming paradoxes that are worth considering. They may even be called "divine paradoxes." Let me give some examples and see if this is not true in your life.
"Come unto me, all ye that are labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28).
"Take my yoke upon you. . . and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-29).
"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." (Matthew 16:25).
To be brief, let me just say it - the quest for happiness in this life does NOT consist of lifting up our heads and glorying in our own strengths, skills and successes. Rather, happiness in this life consists in finding Him. That usually involves repentance. We will only repent if we believe He can heal us, and that requires faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Redeemer. He becomes the true change agent in our lives. We cannot bring about that needed change on our own. It takes someone who can help us manage through the needed changes for improvement. It takes perfection to make one perfect.
We often cite the 32nd chapter of Alma as the definitive explanation for what constitutes "faith." But upon more careful examination you will discover something much deeper. Alma was not making a general statement about faith in his teachings to the people, rather he was suggesting something very specific and singular about faith as the only unseen power that can change one's soul. That's more than saying, "I have faith the sun will rise in the morning skies to the east."
Alma teaches about having enough faith to begin "an experiment" on THE WORD. That experiment is about finding the truth about the divinity of Christ. Only a Divine Redeemer can effect an infinite and eternal change in us. And only Jesus Christ could offer an infinite and eternal sacrifice because He was Himself "infinite and eternal" by His very nature as the sinless Only Begotten Son of the Father.
In the next chapter, Alma, sensing they did not understand his meaning, offers this commentary on his words by citing his listeners back to the words of an ancient prophet, Zenos:
Do ye remember to have read what Zenos, the prophet of old, has said concerning prayer or worship?
For he said: Thou art merciful, O God, for thou hast heard my prayer, even when I was in the wilderness; yea, thou wast merciful when I prayed concerning those who were mine enemies, and thou didst turn them to me.
Yea, O God, and thou wast merciful unto me when I did cry unto thee in my field; when I did cry unto thee in my prayer, and thou didst hear me.
And again, O God, when I did turn to my house thou didst hear me in my prayer.
And when I did turn unto my closet, O Lord, and prayed unto thee, thou didst hear me.
Yea, thou art merciful unto thy children when they cry unto thee, to be heard of thee and not of men, and thou wilt hear them.
Yea, O God, thou hast been merciful unto me, and heard my cries in the midst of thy congregations.
Yea, and thou hast also heard me when I have been cast out and have been despised by mine enemies; yea, thou didst hear my cries, and wast angry with mine enemies, and thou didst visit them in thine anger with speedy destruction.
And thou didst hear me because of mine afflictions and my sincerity; and it is because of thy Son that thou hast been thus merciful unto me, therefore I will cry unto thee in all mine afflictions, for in thee is my joy; for thou hast turned thy judgments away from me, because of thy Son. (Alma 33:3-11).
And thus we find once again the power of The Book of Mormon. It is a book replete with references to people and their deliverance from sins and afflictions of all sorts based upon the merciful intervention of God in their lives. We always may find solace and comfort in THE WORD. When we exercise even a particle of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repent of our sins, and embrace His perfection, we are healed and we are on the way to perfection ourselves as we change from our fallen state. We see His mercy at work in our lives. In our anguish He succors us. He assures us change is possible and desirable so we may have the long-term improvements we seek. And it is more than disruptive new technology. . .
. . . It is the stuff of which eternal life is made.