October 31; Life Formula: Small Delta Equals Greater Happiness
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful


Chapter Ten: Deciding 31 October

We know that the law is spiritual;

but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.

I do not understand what I do.

For what I want to do

I do not do,

but what I hate I do.

And if I do what I do not want to do,

I agree that the law is good.

Romans 7:14-16

Life Formula: Small Delta Equals Greater Happiness

Mind The Gap

About a seven,” she said. I pause for a second and reply, “hmm, what do we need to do to bring it up to an eight or nine?”

Your Business Professor was selling a training service to a client. I was using a simple thermometer scale to learn how far we had to go to before we reached a 10 at the top. Then we could start the work. The decision was made and the purchase order issued. But the company bureaucracy was locking up on the execution. Excuses abounded: Everyone was too busy. On deadlines. Maybe next quarter… The poor manager was caught in the middle.

She was under pressure by her bosses who wanted the seminar. Following directions was her duty and a condition of employment.

However, she could not get her staff to commit to a timetable. Her group was pushing her around and pushing back. She was stuck.

The manager wasn’t happy. She had two facts:

  • She knew the right thing to do; and,
  • She wasn’t doing it.

It was my mission to bring the two into alignment. And create a satisfied customer.


There is a conflict between our flesh and the Holy Spirit. Biblical scholar Randy Yeager translates Romans chapter 7, verses 14, 15 and 16,

Because we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold into slavery to sin.

Because I never understand what I am always doing. For I do not do what I want to do, but what I hate is what I do.

But since I do not wish to do that which I am doing, I am in agreement with the law that is good.

G. K. Chesterton said, “Jesus promised the disciples three things– that they would be completely fearless, absurdly happy, and in constant trouble.” quoted by David George (2014-01-30). The Daily Thought Shaker (p. 60). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

How do we get to that ‘absurdly happy’ part?


Ethics has been defined as, “the moral principles and standards that guide the behavior of an individual or group.” (Bateman Snell 2012) Each of us knows the right thing to do. Compliance to an ethical decision of the boss should be an easy ethical decision to implement.

But what happens when there is a difference between the “knowing” and the “doing”?

Question:  What is the outcome if there is a space between the ideal of the right thing to do and the reality of our actions?

Answer:  The greater the gap, the greater the unhappiness.

Question: And what is the benefit it there is no daylight between the knowing and the doing?

Answer:  Happiness. And long life.

So how do we do this?

By making virtue a habit. Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. writes in the Meaning of Virtue in Thomas Aquinas,

St. Thomas defines virtue as “a good habit bearing on activity,” or a good faculty-habit, habitus operativus bonus. Generic to the concept of virtue, then, is the element of habit, which stands in a special relation to the soul, whether in the natural order or elevated to the divine life by grace.

A man is virtuous because his actions correspond to an objective norm, which for Aristotle was knowable by reason and for Aquinas by reason and faith.

Virtue is a practice practiced every day. A habit we do not have to think about.

Virtue is good. Vice is bad. Even the person of no faith benefits from the good works produced by virtue. Because this makes a person happy and,

According to a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2011, people who claim to be happy live 35 percent longer than less happy people.

The study of 3,800 men and women aged fifty-two to seventy-nine found that those who rated their happiness the highest were far less likely to die in the following five years than those who were the least happy, Sinek, Simon (2014-01-07). Leaders Eat Last Deluxe: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t (p. 52). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Pretending, acting out of character has a cost,

Whoever you are, bear in mind that appearance is not reality. Some people act like extroverts, but the effort costs them in energy, authenticity, and even physical health. Cain, Susan (2012-01-24). Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking . Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.


Let us return to the story. The manager and I visited and discussed the process. We developed a plan to get the scheduling of the training from the seven to a nine, then finally ‘to the doing’ — to the execution of the decision at 10 on the 10 scale. We did this by speaking to each reluctant staffer one-on-one. They each saw the good of doing the right thing. Then did it.

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. Romans 7:14-16



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