Thursday, June 30, 2016

Doing it right the first time means reading the instructions (& that email!) carefully

I’m convinced that our economy would strengthen significantly if only everyone just paid closer attention to instructions. Or at least did what we have agreed to do or are supposed to do in the normal course of our jobs and lives. Especially as it relates to customer service.

So much time, money, and effort could be saved if people just read their emails carefully!

Have you ever emailed someone and asked them a few questions, then they replied vaguely answering one and ignoring the rest?

Or have you ever made arrangements for a trip and worked patiently with someone to get the details just right, and when you arrive at your destination no one there had a clue you were coming?

Or you try to help someone with a computer issue and they keep doing what you tell them not to do?

And then there are people who go in for minor surgery on their left leg and the surgeon cuts off their right one! Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I’m sure you get my point.

Today I spent a good bit of time working out the details on the cover of my forthcoming book with the publisher. They had done one design I wasn’t happy with, so I had my own designer develop a better cover.

I worked with him carefully, going back and forth over a few weeks to get everything just right, from the art to the text. We submitted everything to the publisher and then today I got their proofs.

The art was fine, but the text was their old, error-plagued text! They didn’t bother to proof their own re-work against what we had submitted. It took about four rounds of corrections before they got it right, each time they failed to compare what they were doing against what we had sent them.

On Christmas morning a lot of kids wake up to amazing playsets that were assembled by their parents the night before. Yet after just a short time of play the toys begin to fall apart. Why? Either the parents didn’t follow the instructions, skipped a step or two, or just got too tired to do it right.

Not paying close attention to emails, instructions, guidelines, and the like may not seem like a big deal. Until it is. Usually we get our wakeup call when it effects us directly. When it all hits the fan and the pain cuts deep, we wonder, “Why me?!”

The reality is that we are too often the why behind the what of our problems.

For those of us who claim the title of Christian, we’ve got the Bible to provide us with wisdom and more to keep us on the right path. Yet, so often, we treat it like that Christmas toy for our tots, only dipping into it at the last minute, and then just skimming. When our lives hit big bumps we panic, having nothing solid to cling to.

Paul put it simply and clearly, saying, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, ESV).

Of course, if we don’t read it, we’ll profit nothing and be incomplete.

In construction, we would admonish each other to “Measure twice, cut once.” In business, the adage was, “Once and done.” It means paying attention and taking the time to get all your proverbial ducks in a row before executing on an project.

This is invaluable advice when dealing with others, and priceless when it comes to our spiritual journey. If we want to live more fulfilled Christian lives, then the first step is to read and follow the instructions our Creator has provided us.

When things require assembly, the instructions are there for a reason. Like a map that leads to a treasure, to gain the reward, we need to carefully navigate the directions.

Do you know where your Bible is?

Have you had experiences involving having to repeat yourself to someone? Or have you been the one who didn’t read the email carefully? What happened? How did you resolve the situation? Are you able to maintain your cool in these kinds of situations? Has anything truly serious gone wrong as a result of you or someone else not following instructions carefully? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments

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