15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. (Matthew 5:15 (New International Version)
Yesterday, I saw some criticism on Twitter of Leif Babin and Jocko Willink and Extreme Ownership. At first, I was offended, but not now. Now I say, “Bring it on!” Why?
First, Extreme Ownership has shined some light on my life for which I will be forever grateful. I have read and heard plenty about leadership over the years and even served in some organizational positions of leadership. Never, though, has a single book done so much to help me understand what leadership is truly about. I wish I had learned these lessons long ago. My life would be better for it. I firmly believe that anyone who takes these lessons to heart will do a better job at their roles in life, both occupational and personal. And Americans doing better jobs at all levels is what we need lots more of. Criticism and debate will serve to draw more attention to Extreme Ownership and garner more readers. Let the light shine!
Next, criticism is a sign that one is doing something challenging. Lack of criticism would be worse:
Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,
for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets. (Luke 6:26, New International Version)
No doubt we have plenty of false prophets these days who get lots of praise. That makes it all the more fulfilling for me to see a couple of guys who are straight shooters getting some praise along with the criticism. Let the light shine!
Then there is the issue or free speech. Leif Babin, Jocko Willink and the other SEALs of Task Unit Bruiser along with throngs of warriors both present and past fought to defend our way of life that allows criticism and public debate. It is free speech that allows the tremendous power of the dialectic to go to work. Thesis confronts antithesis, and the synthesis becomes a powerful new driver of understanding. So let the light shine!
I do however feel that to be productive, criticism should rest upon first principles rather than personal opinion. Based on what I saw yesterday, I don’t understand the basis of the criticism. Is it that our warriors should never publish? Or is it just SEALs who should not publish? The dialectic process can really serve it’s purpose when first principles collide. Not, however, when subjective rhetoric dominates. May principled dialectic prevail today! Let more light shine!