A critical doer controls what is theirs to control
One of my favorite scenes from the movie Facing the Giants (besides the “death crawl” scene) is a point in the story where the central character, Coach Grant Taylor, is conflicted over how to deal with his underperforming high school football team.
A fellow teacher approaches him and shares a story of two farmers. Both farmers needed rain for their crops. Both farmers prayed very earnestly for rain, but only one of the farmers contoured his field so that if rain came, the field could retain the water for the crops. The rain finally came for both farmers, but only one got the benefit of the blessing because he was prepared to receive it. The scene ends with the teacher looking Coach Taylor in the eye and very directly telling him “Coach Taylor, you need to prepare the field for rain.”
This story offers a powerful insight into the mind of the critical doer. The critical doer is not driven by a sense of entitlement, and knows that the only future he has is the one he is willing to make for himself. Neither farmer in this story could control the timing of the rain, but preparation for receiving the rain was a choice both were able to fully control. We can see clearly that knowing the answer was not enough; action is required in order to reap any tangible benefit from knowledge.
Many people are cynical these days because they believe our sense of entitlement is stronger than our passion for achievement. Whether it is or whether it isn’t, one critical doer can be a game changer. There’s a simple path a critical doer can follow to prepare the field for rain where others are only willing to be spectators.
- think through the problem deeply and logically enough to understand it
- define the desired end state (the result if the problem is solved successfully)
- separate the problem into what you can control, what you can influence, and what you can’t control
- devise a strategy that involves taking action on what you can control and influence
- maintain a sense of time to ensure your actions are relevant
- continue critical thinking to see if yesterday’s uncontrollable factors can be turned into controllable factors or factors you can influence (this is the heart of risk assessment, risk management, and risk reduction)
I’ll bet there’s a situation, either at home or work, where a critical doer could put this formula to work and drive meaningful action. Even with sufficient critical thought and a pathway for action, someone has to step forward and prepare the field for rain…that’s what a critical doer would…do!