Most of us are completely wrong about the world, and how we should live. The popular ‘best way to live your life’ is wrong.
About a hundred years ago, Mr McDonald, an Irish immigrant, worked as a shift manager in a shoe factory. In 1937 his two sons Richard “Dick” and Maurice “Mac” moved to southern California and opened a hot dog stand in Pasadena.
In 1940 they moved to San Bernadino, nearby, and switched to Hamburgers. That tiny business grew to become McDonald’s with the golden arches. From the start, the brothers searched for their own innovative ways of operating, instead of following the wisdom of the crowd.
Here’s where they are today:
Equivalent to one percent of the world’s population eats at McDonalds every day, more than the population of Britain. The company sells 75 hamburgers a second worldwide, and the Queen owns a franchise near Buckingham palace. The company has more revenue than Mongolia, its economy is larger than Ecuador’s, and it is the largest distributor of toys in the world.
You may have seen “Super Size Me,” a documentary movie from 2004 that severely criticized McDonald’s. The movie was a critical and financial success, but it basically accomplished nothing. McDonald’s continued to grow at astounding rates. The documentary earned more than 11 million dollars, and an Oscar nomination. You know you are big when your critics get rich criticizing you.
Many have criticized and condemned McDonald’s. I remember street protests in my city when a franchise was proposed in an arts district near the university. The protesters were determined, but the franchise is there today, and it is always busy. I wouldn’t be surprised if the protesters eat there now.
I am not advocating fast food, but McDonald’s shows that most of us don’t understand how the world works. External pressure is mostly meaningless, if the internal fundamentals are right.
The old hot dog or hamburger stand was like all the others, but Dick and Mac were not like the others. They developed their own standards of right and wrong, or operating procedures. They truly did it their way, working by their own rules, and their golden arches logo is now more recognized than the Christian cross.
This pattern is the same for empires and corporations in history. Ikea, Apple Computers, and Lego all operate by their own rules and best practices. McDonald’s managers are trained in a company schooled called “Hamburger U.” The internal message is not entrusted to outside instructors.
Jesus started with twelve followers in a remote province, and gave them his internal rules and practices. Today more people identify as his follower than any other brand in the world. Guinness World Records lists the Christian Bible as the top-selling book of nonfiction.
The Roman Empire owned the common wisdom around the early Christians, and it said drop that religion or die. Today, it might be argued that the Empire is 110 acres in the Vatican City; governed by the Pope.
Jesus got it right.
Spectacular success is supposed to be normal. History moves with huge waves; we were not born into unchanging stability. Jesus knew this, and so do the millions of migrants trying to find a new country these days. Jesus promised “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
The Bible is clear that the safe operating procedures of the world are distorted and they can only direct us to failure or mediocrity. Dick and Mac McDonald knew this, although I don’t know if they were religious.
“None is righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10)
“Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” (Romans 12:2).
I have often learned, these are not rules to make us miserable while everyone else has fun; they are the fundamentals of success.