If you are ever wondering how you will decide what is acceptable to you and what isn’t, this is the cliché for you.
The line is always a relevant and timely symbol. A line signifies what is in bounds and out of bounds in football. It signifies the start and finish of a race. Lines are used to divide assets and liabilities on a balance sheet and they tell us where our property starts, and our neighbor’s property ends.
There is the proverbial line in the sand and the timeless warning of “don’t cross that line!” Lines are literally everywhere, and they are constantly being re-drawn especially as they relate to what is deemed to be acceptable and what isn’t.
When I was growing up, accepting rides from strangers was discouraged. Now it is a multi-billion-dollar industry. Smoking cigarettes was generally acceptable, smoking pot was not. Now, those practices have completely switched to the other side of the line. With the abundance of lines to consider and the evolving societal views influencing where they are drawn, it is no wonder that the question continues to remain relevant.
I think the key point here is simply to make sure that you know where you draw your lines and that you do so in alignment with who you are and what you value. If you clearly define your lines of acceptability, you will put yourself in position to make good decisions that are consistent with your beliefs. That does not mean that you cannot re-draw your own lines or eventually change your mind, but it does mean that you need to have a clear idea of what you believe at the time you make an important decision to make the best decision possible.
Clearly defined ideas of what you think, believe, and value will also help you to articulate your opinions and construct valid points for presentation or debate. These abilities are valuable resources to have and cultivate if you ever intend to lead others and achieve positions of influence.
Lastly, I thought about taking this in a few different directions, how personal I wanted to get with it and whether I wanted to use any current national topics as an example, but I ultimately decided to keep it broad based and highlight some of the value to be derived from this cliché. After all, I had to draw the line somewhere.
By Scott Arney, Chief Executive Officer, Chicago Patrolmen’s Federal Credit Union.
This article is part of Arney's new series, entitled A New Use for an Old Cliché.
This installment is part of Arney's educational series, entitled The Serial Decision Maker.