On September 11, 2001, I was mad as I watched buildings fall and catch fire. I felt helpless. As a new father, I wanted to make the world better for my son. I saw injustice and wanted to help fix it. I wanted to take the fight to those who wronged my country so I applied to the Central Intelligence Agency.
The application process was thorough, time consuming and effective. The interview process narrowed down over 100,000 applicants to just a handful of people. I was tested on my ability to think under pressure, my ability to speak Spanish in multiple environments, my ability to learn new languages and my knowledge of world events. One year after applying to the CIA, my background had been thoroughly challenged, I had many calls, various trips to different locations throughout the United States and a new view of the world.
I was asked if I had a problem being anonymous, jumping from an airplane, learning to shoot high powered guns, living in a foreign country, learning survival techniques and many other amazing things that excited me more than I can explain. When I finally arrived in Washington, D.C. for the final interviews and a meeting with a psychiatrist, I was being considered as an officer in clandestine operations to convince others to provide my government information.
In the year that it took to go through this process, I also saw that world peace was a distant dream and was not close to improving. I saw countries such as Israel and Palestine whose relationship progressively worsened each year and that even today are so far apart, peace seems highly unlikely. In the interview with the psychiatrist, I must admit that I blew it. After two days of tests and final interviews, I began to doubt if the CIA was the best choice for me. Two weeks after returning from Washington, D.C., I received a post card saying I was no longer in consideration. I think the psychiatrist was very aware that I was doubting my future as an officer with the CIA.
Military maneuvering is brutal and is easy to criticize as foolish and unnecessary. However, a simple look into our own relationships with others in family, business and many other types of dealings will show that peace and harmony are also frequently distant. Instead of seeking common ground and solutions, being right is more important that doing what is right.
Among other uses of the word, harmony can be described as a range of individual and different voices coming together to create a beautiful and singular texture of sound meant to reach the listener on a personal level. This understanding of harmony in voices is powerful when you think about coming together with others to do and create more in business, personal relationships and family unity. When speaking of relationships, Gandhi said, “Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.”
Today in your business and personal relationships ask if your different opinions and biases can come together with the person next to you. We should look to fill in each other’s rough spots and come together to create something greater than what we can do alone. Remember the proverb that a gentle answer turns away anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.
Though governments and bureaucrats may take hard stands and repel peace, we must understand that in our relationships words can be bombs and destroy any chance of harmony. Stay strong with the need for justice, but where there is harmony and mercy, there is abundance.
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