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For the Greater Good

When looking back on my life, I think of all the times I was told no. Not the no you get from your mom as she is trying to protect you from potential danger, but the kind of no society inevitably forces on someone it perceives to be different. I wonder what my life would have been if only…

Wait, that’s not right! The truth is, with the exception of my parents and my wife, I can’t recall a time that I allowed someone else’s use of the word no to stop me.

When I wanted to purchase our first CNC punch machine, I remember my CPA telling me “No, don’t do it.” I fired the CPA and purchased the machine anyway. That purchase was the greatest paradigm shift within the business.

In the early years of the twenty-first century I began an intense undertaking to remove the unfair sales and use tax on machinery and equipment. I met with leaders within our state to discuss the impact these unfair taxes had on Louisiana businesses. Dan Juneau, president of LABI, left me with the impression he believed there was no way I could make a difference because he and others had been fighting this unfair tax for years. Yet in 2004, Governor Blanco was at our Technology Center signing two bills into law that would phase out these unnecessary taxes. As a matter of fact, in her speech Governor Blanco stated that I inspired her decision in pushing these bills into law.

I don’t write about these occurrences for bragging or boastful means. I’m sharing them because I was that awkward kid who some of my teachers wrote off and society told no. Yet, I didn’t let their conventional opinions define who I was or what my actions would be.

The point I want you to get is we should not allow society to hinder our ability to discern right from wrong. Societal wisdom, or conventional wisdom, gets it wrong more often than they get it right. Our country has a real issue, and that’s the death of common sense, or what I like to redefine as practical sense. The sense that tells us what we are responsible for and what we are not responsible for.

Today’s society is one in which blaming and finger-pointing is the perceived way to get ahead. We see it all around us – in politics, in the workforce, and even in our homes. As long as we allow these finger-pointing disturbances to distract us, we are not able to get to the self-actualization level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The level that tells us to abandon our prejudices with one another and to work together to problem solve for the greater good of our society.

In the previous edition of The Innovator, I shared my hope that together we will work with our neighbors to achieve greatness. I very much believe that statement to be true, however, we cannot get there as long as we are finger-pointing, or waiting for someone else to get us started. When I pursued the removal of the sales use tax, I recognized there is more I can be doing for a better world. I want to partner with the people who see solutions to the challenges we face as a nation. Together, I believe we will create a brighter future for generations to come.

#philosophy #commonsense

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