True beauty is much more than skin deep – seek the heart and mind

by Edward Henkler on July 8, 2014

I’m a voracious reader and am currently reading a wonderful book by Roy Spence, “It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For”.  It will undoubtedly be the source of one or more future posts but is not today’s subject.  I also love to relax with a good work of fiction and recently finished Michael Palmer’s “Resistant.”  It was an entertaining read, which I’d highly recommend to anyone who likes medical thrillers.  As is so often the case, it also included a number of lessons which can be readily translated to the “real world”.  I’ve loosely categorized them as “differently-abled”, “perspective”, and “one step at a time.”  Michael provides a potent reminder that true beauty is much more than skin deep.

Resistant by Michael Palmer

Differently-abled: This is a frequent topic for me and it was fun to see that a character who was differently-abled was one of the stars of the tale.  His body had been ravaged by CP but his mind was intact.  He had been marginalized by society and his employer as he was difficult to understand and even to look at.  Resting inside that ravaged body was a beautiful mind.  How many beautiful minds are sitting on the sidelines in our world as they don’t meet our superficial physical criteria?  How might our teams’ creative potential be enhanced if we looked more than skin deep?

Perspective: The “villain” in the story is a very right wing group, which drives an extremist agenda, nearly precipitating an uncontrollable global pandemic as they attempt to overturn the social welfare system.  Their belief is that everyone is capable of contributing and those that don’t succeed just haven’t tried and don’t deserve help.  They very strongly oppose any investment, time or money, in social welfare.  I’ve spent too much time working with individuals who were blind to accept that perspective.  The unemployment rate for people who are blind is 70% and many of those who are employed are working in jobs below their abilities.  It’s more than just trying harder; a partnership is required between society and those who may have been born with fewer natural advantages.

One Step at a Time:  This theme arises for several characters, including one who is a recovering alcoholic and another who is badly injured.  When difficult challenges seem insurmountable, it is important to take them one step at a time.  A Chinese proverb states, “To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping.”  Next time you feel overwhelmed just remember you only have to take the first step, then another, and another….

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