A Friday Thought to Chew On:  The Sum of Us

A Friday Thought to Chew On: The Sum of Us

Last night on my rainy road trip home from the hair salon, I recorded a little AudioBoom sneak peek to today’s blog. It focuses on a topic I’ve felt compelled to write about for a while. In this age of everything we do being captured by someone somewhere on phones and tablets, we find ourselves being scrutinized more than ever simply because people can. They are exposed to one’s every word and move.  So the noise made when saying something stupid or doing something questionable is more amplified than ever.

I’ve heard many pull into their own words the phrase “we are more than the sum of our parts (though my good Greek brother Aristotle gets credit for the original ‘The whole is greater than the sum of its parts’). That is certainly true, but we are also not those individual parts. That is, one statement made or one action taken do not necessarily represent the whole legacy of who we are. Yet how frequently do you see it play out that way both in personal dramas that unfold or celebrity scandals exposed.  An entire history of being considered one way by public perception completely obliterated by one off-color statement or a single (or series) of questionable actions.  Bill Cosby is just one recent very public example that comes to mind.

I am in no way going down the road of THAT celebrity scandal, but think about it from your own perspective whether it has impacted you personally or you know someone who has gone through something similarly unpopular: an employee caught doing something wrong on the job, an infidelity exposed, a tweet or Facebook post that suddenly becomes the subject of heated arguments and even potential ramifications like a lost job or lost friends. In that moment – a single moment – everything else said before or done before is erased in many people’s minds. Now, I ask you:  is that right? Not justifying a horrible comment or sweeping generalization made and I’m certainly not excusing completely damaging behavior that may hurt someone else.

But… is it right to judge someone based on a part rather than the sum of their entire legacy?

If a business and its leader hit a bump in the road because the leader says something completely outrageous, should they immediately be tossed to the curb or should you at least evaluate everything else cumulatively they’ve said and done to build that business to where it is now? If two family members reach an impasse because one took an action that emotionally impacted the other in some way that left them hurt or angry, should every action and word of love that preceded it get washed away or does a legacy of love at least warrant consideration as you move forward?

Merely questions I pose because so many of us operate based on only what is happening right now in this moment and we seem to forget Aristotle’s wise words to look at everything, the full picture and not only one small part of it.

Consider our lives a big clock of 60 minutes. Would you want someone you love or like or trust to only remember 1 minute you were here or the full hour?

Well, I suppose I should get my own Friday underway. Thanks for reading or for chewing on that thought. Make each of your minutes count today.  ~ck



  1. Deb Lane

    Hmmm food for thought but your you are so right Hun! xox

    • chriskuhn

      That’s what I’m here for. To make folks scratch their head and ponder…heh 😉 ~ chris

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