The power of truth

I was telling my college leadership class students about an experience I had with a car dealership. The small shop I take my car to had run out of inspection stickers so I took it to a large dealership in the Charleston area. My car was in good shape. I thought it would be a quick process. I was surprised when the service manager told me I needed brakes on all four wheels and shocks to pass inspection! I wasn’t comfortable with what he told me so I didn’t get it done. My regular shop later called and said they had received their inspection stickers.

I went back to my shop, got the oil changed and the car passed inspection. I asked the owner how the brakes and shocks were. He said, “They are fine.” About a year later I replaced the front brakes. I eventually traded the car without ever replacing the shocks. When I told this story two of my students were laughing so hard they almost fell out of their seats. I said, “Ok. What’s up.” They responded, “We both worked as mechanics for a large dealership. If you couldn’t find at least $2,000 of repair work on any car, you weren’t doing your job.” When I go to a mechanic I always expect to get the truth. I have no trust in that large dealership and never returned. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one they lied to. They are now out of business. Honesty is the best way to grow any business.

My wife and I recently did our Leadership and Safety training presentation for the supervisors of an organization. The first point we always cover is “TRUST”, you can’t lead without it. People will rarely willingly follow a leader they can’t trust. Trust is more than just being honest and truthful. It is about having integrity. Like doing what we committed to do, showing up for meetings or calls on time and not talking about people behind their back. We should never share information told to us in confidence or say things about someone we wouldn’t say to their face.

John 10:32 says, “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Telling the truth always frees us because we don’t need to remember what story we told and who we told it to. The truth helps us to avoid the stress of worrying about getting discovered like when I caught the large dealership in their lie. The truth doesn’t change. I did three radio interviews for Colorado stations recently. I didn’t need to worry about what questions they were going to ask because the truth and my answers to the same questions don’t change.

In the hit Walt Disney movie Frozen, Olaf, the snowman, dreams of summer and all the fun things he will do. No one had the courage to tell him the truth about what happens to snowmen in the hot summer sun. Fortunately, since it was a cartoon Disney found a way to keep Olaf from melting. That doesn’t work in real life. Just like those that believe we don’t need fossil fuels. So far, few people have had the courage to tell elected officials and young people who are concerned with global warming the truth about where their I-pads, clothing, electric cars and 24/7 lights, heat and air conditioning come from. If we don’t tell them they could become real like life Olaf’s as they watch all of their creature comforts go away. Imagine a world without social media or cell phones. Hmmm…

I did a talk this week to a Son’s of Italy group. This was a group primarily of baby boomers. They initially were not aware of how much natural gas the USA has or that almost all of the growth in natural gas supply is here in the Shale Crescent USA. But when I started talking about petrochemicals they were completing my sentences. They know and understand petrochemicals. They also remember hanging laundry outside to allow wind and solar to dry it. They remember life without many of the modern conveniences we have today. THEY DON’T WANT TO GO BACK.

I challenge the anti-fossil fuel crowd especially those in Congress to be real leaders and show us they are serious by setting the example and living without the fossil fuels and the products they create. We will miss them on the internet.

You have heard about “Simple Truths” these last two weeks. If this makes sense to you, we all have a responsibility to help people to “know the truth” about our energy and how petrochemicals are needed to create the stuff we use every day. People need to know how petrochemicals help our military to protect our freedom. If modern medical equipment goes away so do the lives of many people. The truth is worthless unless people know it. We can all help people to understand these simple truths. Our future is ahead of us. We can make it a bright future by what we do each day.

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Greg Kozera gkozera@aol.com is a professional engineer who has over 40 years of experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert with a Masters in Environmental Engineering and the author of four books and numerous published articles.

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