Saturday, February 27, 2010

Diversification

"If you have five lines of business, any two of them will carry you through a bad period; but if you have only one or two kinds and they both go bad, then you are in the soup."
-Thomas A. Edison-
In business, one seeks diversification in order to built profit margin by diving into new product development and reaching out to different markets. In investments, one seeks diversification in order to spread investments to a wider range in order to prevent the damage of flucuation in the market. Either way, diversification is a simple safety net. It is protection against the potentials that risk always bring. As Edison developed products and added to the Edison name - multiple companies sprang up which covered the idea of diversification. In this manner, Edison protected himself and the companies against the damage that came when a product or market did not respond in the way they thought it might.
In light of this, I wonder how I do with diversification in my own life. How many different options have I properly explored and developed in order to provide myself with a safety net against the risks of job loss, income depletion, or the simple need to move in a different & new direction? Sometimes I think we become so fixated on becoming the best "..." that we begin to lose sight of how poorly developed we are as people. This is not a knock on specialists - as they certainly hold their purpose [i.e. I want a surgeon operating on me - not a family practice doctor]. However, how much more value do we add to ourselves when we allow ourselves to branch out and develop different parts, attributes, and skills. In other words: what is my value IF I were to ask for evaluations outside of my current occupation and set of duties. If the answer is low - then I am left, as Mr. Edison said, "in the soup."

2 comments:

Sol said...

Risk = Return. This is the bedrock fundamental truth of business & finance... & I think it hold parallels to our spiritual life too. By diversifying risk, you by definition diversify away return.

While there is obviously a minimum level of diversification required in everyone's life - I can't help but think the affluent US lifestyle has really gotten to us Christians. We think since we live in a country of historic unrestrained resources - that we are unlimited in our own personal development. It's the Humanist ideal that says not only can we become whatever we want, but we can become any many things as we want.

Did Christ diversify His life? Did he branch out in His ministry? In His influence? Or was he called to a specific function, a specific ministry, a specific cup?

As people of faith, it seems to me we are called to fight the good fight... the one fight laid out for us. If this lack of life-style-diversification results in us missing our own fulfillment of self-actualization, then so be it.

Landon said...

I appreciate your insight, but I do not completely agree with you. Yes Christ was called to a specific "cup" - but I don't know if that exactly parallels our lives. If that were the case, each of us would have to do the exact mission God set up for us OR His will would face being thwarted. Think of it more like this: A paint canvas or a single dot. The former means that as long as we are on the canvas we are still in God's will. The latter means that we have one specific function, cup, or place. The latter seems to limit not only us as people - but also God.

I do believe Christians are called to "fight the good fight" but what does that mean? Is your definition or my defintion correct? What if we are both wrong? Then have we missed out on the "one fight" and therefore eliminated ourselves from God's perfect will?

You have some excellent thoughts here - but I do feel you are limiting yourself & God. The fulfillment of self-actualization & pursuit of things that bring personal fulfillment are not always wrong. Christ did call his followers to a life of sacrifice - but that does not mean He did not also give us joys, talents, and dreams upon which we might strive to fulfill.