[by Sandy McIntosh] World leaders seem paralyzed by the Islamic State. The most recent news is that IS is bulldozing ancient ruins. Apparently they are destroying the historical heritage of the entire human race, with the attitude, we don’t need a past, we just need their future. Future generations have lost part of their heritage forever.
The problem is us, not them. The world has no solution to this horrible problem. I believe the failure comes from our western bias, we believe in our own success but we are confronted by a victorious enemy.
World news is grim. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria continues to shock the world and no-one can stop them. Thousands of Russian soldiers are in another country, Ukraine and they won’t leave. Iran seems close to building a nuclear bomb, and Saudi Arabia has responded by planning to build its own.
The search for a missing Malaysian airplane is about to be terminated, in failure. The good guys are not winning everything these days.
Success is lost if we can’t cope with failure; a leadership tantrum, persecution, job loss, military or political retreat, church split. In the 1980s there was a science of “Organizational Decline” to help us cope with decline, failure, and termination.
This is important for affairs close to us, and for world politics.
I was in church one Sunday morning, when the Pastor got angry and threatened to report some members to the police, or sue them. For the record, I was not one of those members. This was in a large church with a long history. The quarrel was about moving to a new location, and it got ugly.
In my career, I was downsized twice, by the same organization. The first time they gave me a buyout, and I found a new job right away. After a few years the new organization began to falter and I moved back to the first one, in a new department. That lasted a few months, and then I was bought out again. I’m not planning for a third try, a steady paycheck beats a buyout any day.
The in-between job, that I left by choice, did not endure. They had a poor record of retaining talent, and the whole department was dismissed a few weeks after I left.
Somewhere in the downsizing process I found a book “Firing Back” by Jodie-Beth Galos and Sandy McIntosh. Sandy and I share a name, and we exchanged emails as I was going down the first time. I don’t remember the advice, but it was comforting. With a strategy and a secret adviser, I struggled with losing.
Decline and failure happen, even when we behave correctly, and success sometimes means just coping, surviving, retreating, and reorganizing. Research has shown that re-bounders live longer. People, who are not overwhelmed by failure, recover and live for many more years.
The great stories from World War 2 are allied disasters; Dunkirk, Pearl Harbor, the Battle of Britain, Stalingrad. Armies that retreat with discipline, win.
The great symbol of Christianity is the cross, where the founder was executed. For a Christian, the Bible guarantees that there will be some defeat and retreat. Jesus stated “A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you.” (John 15: 20). Paul was persecuted and he said we would be too; “You know all about how I was persecuted … Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3: 11)
In spite of our cultural bias and superior western attitude, setbacks are as real as progress; failure is as common as success. Some bad news will get worse, churches will split, families will quarrel, and jobs will disappear, great nations will break apart.
The Islamic state will be defeated by re-organized and re-focused world powers.
We have to be good at losing to succeed.
So what kind of loser are you?