Thursday, March 22, 2012

Low Impact

Another day.  Another workout.  More pondering.  Today, the theme is low impact.  Not surprisingly, I was on the exercise bike for 30 minutes and the elliptical for 30 minutes.

How does “low impact” relate to my life?  Do I try to make a low impact on the world?  In some ways, yes.  Recycling.  Careful use of the resources for which we are supposed to be God’s stewards. 

In other ways, no.  I try to have an impact on a lot of people through my work.  Heck, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s motto is “Saving lives…millions at a time”.  I don’t think I’ve saved millions.  I may not even have saved one.  While I have tried to have an impact on a lot of people in a lot of different research areas, I would say that my method of impact is “low impact” or perhaps “gentle impact”.

In what way?  I don’t say “It’s economics or bust!”  I don’t force my ideas on people.  I try not to come to any collaborative or teaching situation with preconceived notions.  Instead, I try to come at each opportunities with open eyes and an open mind and share ideas.  Share concepts.  Teach and learn.  Speak politely and listen.

Does it always work?  No.  No plan of mine has always worked.  No philosophy I’ve tried has ever turned out to be 100% foolproof.  Nothing in my life has turned out to work just the way it was intended 100% of the time.

However, there is plenty of evidence that taking a low impact or gentle impact approach does help to develop good collegiality, nice collaboration, and open doors. 

So, once again, my exercise of the day, a low impact workout not beating on my knees.  Low impact collaboration not “beating on” my colleagues.  Both work together in my life. 

And, tor bring it back to the spiritual, in the New Testament, even Jesus was “low impact” most of the time.  Of course, there was the time when he cleared the temple of those who were performing commercial transactions there.  Not so low impact, of course.  And there was the crucifixion.  Obviously, also not low impact.  However, most of his preaching, most of his teaching, and most of his doing were definitely low impact.  One of the best stories to illustrate this in my mind was the one where the woman was about to be stoned.  Jesus just sat in the sand and drew in the sand and challenged anyone sinless to throw the first stone.  Little more was said.  No one knows exactly what he was drawing or writing in the sand.  Then he forgave the woman and things went on.  Great example of a low impact way to have a high impact on the world.   

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