Tag Archives: New York Times

day 1163: Where We Are

“Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

Adam Alter wrote a very interesting article in this past weekend’s New York Times, discussing the influence of who we are being very much shaped by where we are.  Alter draws from the research from James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling who wrote the 1982 Atlantic Monthly article that explained the “Broken Window Theory”, which was broadly popularized by Rudy Giuliani as Mayor of New York City during his campaign to clean up New York. In a nutshell, we human beings are chameleons and we will adapt to the cues and signals around us.  If we are in a dirty and littered location then we will not feel inclined to keep anything neat and organized.  The opposite is also true.  We can take this research into our businesses.  The culture and environment that we create, or let appear without our creation (warning: this is what happens), is all it takes to send the messages of how we want people to work, behave and even take accountability.  A good friend has now gone back into a CEO position after a few years out.  He has returned to the company that he built.  According to those who work there, there is a feeling of change in the air.  An employee mentioned to me that the attention to detail on how the campus is kept clean is back and the messages of the environment are signaling that there is serious business about to happen, again.  And, without having to say much about it, employees are taking notice and upping their work attention and performance.  Where we are yes, can shape who we are.

I wonder if Adam and Eve, after they had eaten from the forbidden fruit, didn’t later in life sit and talk about the decision that they made and how things might have been different had they not focused on just the one tree.  See, they missed that the rest of the Garden of Eden was everything and all that any person could have ever wanted or dreamed of obtaining.  But, instead of saying to each other, “Hey, let’s not even think about going over there, let’s explore and hang out everywhere else”, they just had to go check out the one place that God told them to avoid.  And, who did they find when they decided to venture?  Yep, the same that any of us will find when we allow ourselves to be shaped by where we are.  Even today, there are offices, cubicles that you know you will be safer and better by not visiting.  Consider that today, we can all be, because we are human and vulnerable, become shaped by where we are. How will that change the course of today?

Reference: Genesis 3:9 (New Living Translation)