Not too long ago, I was having breakfast with a friend at local Starbucks. The inside was crowded and it was a nice day so we decided to pull up a chair outside. We talked for a minute and then decided to head in to make our orders.
As we stood up to go inside, I realized that we had a lot of expensive Apple products spread out on the table. I picked up my laptop, so as not to leave it in the open for someone to pick up and run off . This was a fairly busy spot and it would be a very easy thing to grab the equipment and get away unnoticed.
My friend on the other hand. He left his phone, his laptop and iPad all on the table. He didn’t think anything of it. As I sat there in line holding on to my dear computer, I felt the tension in the difference of how the two of us had handled our possessions. I was almost embarrassed as I stood there in line with a tight grip on the laptop. I couldn’t help but look over my shoulder and keep an eye on his things too!
What does this reveal in me?
I’m protective of my property. In a sense, it was owning me. Technically it wasn’t my property it belonged to the company I worked for at the time. I’d like to say that I wanted to be a good steward of what I was taking care of for them, but really I was just concerned about the hassle of losing all my files and perhaps exposing my personal information to “the internets”.
I don’t trust others. It’s not like this was in an inherently dangerous part of town which is known for it’s crime. It was in a suburban Georgia. I was carrying this sense that if I leave my things exposed, that “the people” would come and get it.
I could get away with stealing a laptop. If I can get away with it then someone else probably will. Maybe I should have been a thief, after all I devised the plan in my head how some untrustworthy person could come along and do it!
These are all defeating thoughts that motivated my behavior. I had assumed that what I was carrying was mine and was I was protective of it. I believed that others would come and take it if I didn’t care for it myself.
I laugh now as I think about this, but it’s just a reminder that no action is insignificant. Our beliefs are driving us and they show up in the strangest of ways. They are worth paying attention to.