No. 1083



You no doubt have heard the popular saying, “Don’t shoot yourself in the foot.” Have you ever thought about what this saying really means? Well, believe it or not, the answer to this question affects each of us much more than we may realize. In view of this, here is the answer, “We shoot ourselves in the foot when the consequences of the decisions or actions we make or take, are not in our own best interests.”
What brought this saying to mind was a phone call I received a few days ago from a man who started out by saying, “Jim, this is a voice from the past.” I won’t give you his name because of what I am going to share with you, but the result of our conversation was a clear case of where someone, or several people, shot themselves in the foot.
This man was a former newspaper publisher in one of our Western states who had run my column for several years. He even had me come to his community for a speaking engagement several years ago and we became friends. After a few years he left the newspaper to take another publishing job in a different Western state. After being in his new position for a few months, he also began to run my column in his new community’s daily newspaper. Long story short: When I talked with him just a few days ago, I learned that his employer had phased out his new publishing position in an attempt to save money. Because of cost-cutting measures, many newspaper chains are going to a “group” publisher concept, where one publisher will head up several different papers, with only an editor in the leadership role and the publisher is not physically present.
This was just two or three years ago when this took place, and my friend told me the circulation of this paper had gone from 9,000-plus to around 3,000 at the present time. Here was a clear case where the management of this chain had shot themselves in the foot. They forgot or did not understand the concept of leadership or the value of a proven employee. Good people are the key to success for any company or organization, and in this case a bad decision ultimately cost this company thousands of dollars.
Now this is just one example, but back to the answer I gave earlier: “We shoot ourselves in the foot when the consequences of the decisions or actions we make are not in our own best interests.” As I said, this affects each of us much more than we realize. To fry out all the fat, here is the bottom line: when we make the decision to smoke, to drink alcohol, to gamble, to be unfaithful to our mate, to cheat, to lie, to steal, to give less than an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay, will the consequences of these decisions be in our own best interests?
Of course, we all know the answer to this question. When we make the decision to smoke, we have no idea that our decision could eventually lead to lung cancer -- my own sister and a favorite uncle passed away from this terrible disease. And the same is true for alcohol, when that first drink eventually leads to addiction. You could add gambling, lying, cheating, stealing and all the rest to the list.
To be sure, I have made more than my share of bad choices and I suffer the consequences each and every day of my life. But Praise God, we can learn better than to just to go on shooting ourselves in the foot.
(Editor’s Note: Bookcase for Every Child – Changing Lives & Futures – ONE AT A TIME. Please visit our website: