January 3

After You Put the Wrong Label On the Bottle

January 3, 2013

Personal Growth

Many years ago I took a college chemistry course, where we learned how to create specific molecules by combining other molecules or atoms. In the laboratory, most of our work was done with molecules suspended in water or other solvents---liquids that dissolve stuff. Every bottle was carefully labeled with the name of the substance inside, and as we performed experiments we were told again and again that at every stage of any process, the flask or other container must be properly labeled.

One day there was an explosion in the lab. Although several people were knocked to the floor, a few minor lacerations were sustained, and everyone was startled, no one was seriously injured.

What happened? One of the students added two chemicals together but then did not properly label the container, so he forgot what was in it. When he added a third chemical, an unexpected reaction—the explosion—occurred.

Once we improperly label or define something we're working with, the results will almost never be what we desired. This is additionally demonstrated every day in hospitals all over the country, where medication is mislabeled, or patient charts are improperly identified. It's estimated that every year more patients die from hospital mistakes—mislabeling being just one—than from motor vehicle accidents.

The mislabeling of words can have a similar effect. The words love and happiness have been incorrectly defined in so many ways and for so long that the vast majority of people spend their entire lives looking for what they don't really want or need. Trust has been consistently described as a condition that is earned rather than given, so most people wait for it to happen, rather than simply taking this essential step.

As we learn the true definitions of trust, love, and happiness—as we correctly label the bottles—we are far more likely to achieve the results we desire.

Real Love book

Understand love and live with peace and happiness.


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