Value of compromise

Sometimes we get good ideas and later find out they weren’t so good.

Sometimes we follow through on ideas and find out they were better than we ever could have imagined.

Sometimes an idea comes about purely by accident or twist of fate.

Here’s a few examples:

  1. A Post-it note is a small piece of paper with a strip of low-tack adhesive on the back that allows it to be temporarily attached to documents, walls, computer monitors, and just about anything else. The idea for the Post-it note was conceived in 1974 by Arthur Fry as a way of holding bookmarks in his hymnal while singing in the church choir. He was aware of an adhesive accidentally developed in 1968 by fellow 3M employee Spencer Silver. No application for the lightly sticky stuff was apparent until Fry’s idea. The 3M company was initially skeptical about the product’s profitability, but in 1980, the product was introduced around the world. Today, Post-it notes are sold in more than 100 countries.
  2. If you can’t eat just one potato chip, blame it on chef George Crum. He reportedly created the salty snack in 1853 at Moon’s Lake House near Saratoga Springs, New York. Fed up with a customer who continuously sent his fried potatoes back, complaining that they were soggy and not crunchy enough, Crum sliced the potatoes as thin as possible, fried them in hot grease, then doused them with salt. The customer loved them and “Saratoga Chips” quickly became a popular item at the lodge and throughout New England. Eventually, the chips were mass-produced for home consumption, but since they were stored in barrels or tins, they quickly went stale. Then, in the 1920s, Laura Scudder invented the airtight bag by ironing together two pieces of waxed paper, thus keeping the chips fresh longer. Today, chips are packaged in plastic or foil bags or cardboard containers and come in a variety of flavors, including sour cream and onion, barbecue, and salt and vinegar.

I have found the idea of compromising to be beneficial. Of late, we had to deal with the Constitution Pipeline, a large natural gas company that offered unfair prices to landowners for an easement. It took patience and perseverance, however the “higher ups” at the profit making Constitution Pipeline Company finally came to the table and a dialogue with landowners began. A better easement agreement was established. It could be better, but compromise was an excellent start.

While the exercise of compromise could be taken too far, it definitely should not be disregarded. It can expand our minds to new ideas that bless humanity.

But more important, I’ve realized that we compromise whether we know it or not. The stance of not budging or not compromising, can actually cause us to compromise our integrity or open-mindedness.

I remember thinking the Bible carried the most authority when it came to understanding eternal life. I didn’t bend (compromise) when it came to thinking the Bible must be read. Then I read in Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health, where she described the Bible as “a sufficient guide.” Only sufficient, not absolute. This idea relaxed and opened my mind to new thoughts, new books, new ways of expressing the infinite goodness we have available to us.

 

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