Volume XXI, Number 27 (Issue 1031) July 3, 2023
On My Radar
Do you tend to obsess about things? I’ll confess I can at times. I don’t know if my fixations rise to the level of a disorder – that would be up to a trained clinician to determine. Yet what I do know is that a word, turn of phrase, tune, or what have you can land on my radar and suddenly it is registering on my psyche with incredible frequency. For instance, not long ago the phrase “take advantage of…” turned into a sort of earwig for me. Until that happened, I don’t know if I had ever given that expression a second thought. But suddenly, I am hearing those three words and the assorted words that follow them in conversation after conversation or I am seeing them in print time and again.
Normally, I would not consider one of my passing fixations to be worthy of mention here, let alone deserving of a moment of your time. And frankly, it may not be. You and your fellow readers will be the arbiter of that. What I will say is my motivation for tackling this topic in this space is the personal realization that my thinking about this phrase has shifted appreciably as I have begun paying attention to when and how it is being used. Thus, a few weeks ago, the expression “take advantage of” followed by some noun was at worst case ambivalent, but more often than not I saw it is positive. For example, consider the phrase “take advantage of an opportunity.” We all should be doing more of that on a regular basis – so no problems there.
Now consider this text: take advantage of a situation. It too is probably positive in nature, but not one hundred percent of the time. What if the “situation” being referenced is another individual’s mistake or vulnerability? In other words, what if the statement was “take advantage of Tom or Sue’s…” agreeableness, absence, generosity, gullibility, etc.? Now the meaning is trending toward a darker application – possibly sinister in design.
My point to this rambling text may be as basic as character and one’s values matter. Arguably, they matter as much now as they ever have. The challenge appears to be that far too many people choose to put themselves and their interests ahead of the interests of others. Thus, rather than approaching their business, decisions, and daily life based on “I am here to serve others,” they operate as if they are here to be served, lauded, and respected regardless of how they act.
The preceding notwithstanding, I do have one last point to make. It is said “all is fair in love and war.” I am not convinced about that assertion in the case of love. Deceit in the pursuit of love has a way of being discovered and usually leads to a bad end. On the other hand, deceit in the midst of war seems to be altogether appropriate. For instance, considering we are celebrating our nation’s birth this week, were it not for all the shenanigans our founding fathers pulled to take advantage of our opponent’s mistakes and miscalculations – or in some instances, cause them, then we might still be singing “God Save the King.”
Happy Independence Day!
Soli Deo Gloria
“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:18
J. Keith Hughey
Web site: www.jkeithhughey.com
Transforming Potential into Unmatched Performance
Copyright 2023 by J. Keith Hughey. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for reproduction and redistribution of this essay as provided under the copyright laws of the United States of America. The entire early library of Monday Morning Musings issues may be found at www.jkeithhughey.com. Your comments are welcome and encouraged.