Thursday, April 23, 2009
Cool Heads and Warm Hearts
If you've ever struggled making the right decision, you may appreciate this story:
A young man seemed to take an unusually long time to place his order at the flower shop. When the clerk asked how she could help, he explained that his girlfriend was turning 19 and he couldn't decide whether to give her a dozen roses or 19 roses -- one for each year of her life.
The woman put aside her business judgment and advised, "She may be your 19-year-old girlfriend now, but someday she could be your 50-year-old wife."
The young man bought a dozen roses. He made his decision from both his head and his heart.
Abraham Lincoln has been considered one of the greatest leaders of all time. He maintained a cool head, even under personal attack. Though constantly criticized in public, he rarely answered back. “If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business,” he said. He showed courage in the face of unjust criticism. He refused to retaliate and chose instead to quietly do the very best he could.
At the same time, Lincoln was also widely known for his compassion. He made difficult and tough decisions during America’s Civil War, but at the same time showed great leniency. He pardoned more prisoners than any U. S. president before or since. And when a general asked Lincoln how the defeated Confederates should be treated, Lincoln replied, "Let 'em up easy." He was both cool-headed and warm-hearted.
Too many people get it the other way around. They have hot heads and cold hearts. They react in the heat of anger or passion. They are cold and unfeeling. And they invariably make poor decisions.
A cool head asks the hard questions. A cool head thinks it through. A cool head fairly weighs the options and asks, “What is the logical thing to do?”
A warm heart empathizes. A warm heart considers feelings and relationships. A warm heart asks, “What is my spirit telling me to do?”
Some decisions we make with our heads. Others with our hearts. But I think it takes both to get it right.
-- Steve Goodier