Interesting analogies

SWOT analysis and the Confession

What is SWOT analysis? For those who don’t know, the explanations below will clarify things, and for those who know, the explanations will be a reminder of the achieved knowledge. SWOT analysis represents one of the most important management tools used in “X-raying” a commercial society or an organization and it consists in realizing an internal analysis, in order to see the strengths and the weaknesses, followed by an external analysis, that focuses on the most relevant opportunities and risks of the studied society or organization.

SWOT represents the acronym for the words “Strengths”, “Weaknesses”, “Opportunities” and “Threats”. The first two regard the company and they reflect its situation, and the next two refer to the external environment and reflect its impact on the activity of the company.

(S) The strengths of the company are distinctive characteristics it possesses at a superior level, compared to other companies, meaning activities that the firm realizes better than its competitors or resources that it has and that are better than those of other companies. The strengths of a society can be: superior products (qualitatively speaking) that it possesses, prices that would ensure a decent income, powerful systems of promoting its own image and others.

(W) The weaknesses of the company are those characteristics that determine lower performances than those of its competitors. They represent activities that the company doesn’t achieve at the level of other companies or resources that it needs but doesn’t possess them. These kinds of weak points can be given by the insufficiently trained staff or the poor technical equipment of the company.

(O) Opportunities represent external positive factors for the company, or chances given to the company, in order to establish a new strategy or to reconsider the existent strategy with the purpose of profitably exploiting the opportunities that appear. For example, an opportunity can be a new market that the society hasn’t entered yet and the request for the commercialized products appears to be quite big after prospecting the market.

(T) Threats are external negative factors for the company, or situations or events that can disadvantage the capacity of the firm to fully accomplish the established objectives, determining the decrease of its economic and financial performances. A threat can be, for example, the instable legislative conditions, an aggressive fiscal politic of the state or other external factors.

Now, knowing what SWOT analysis means, we can ask the question that we have from the beginning of the subject: what is the connection between SWOT analysis and the Confession, which would give us a real benefit?

It really exists, but, because most of the times we don’t try to enter the deepness of the Confession, we lose the bigger perspective of things. The Confession, the renewal and the sanctification of the human being, comprises all the benefits of SWOT analysis, but in a spiritual plan, of course. Most of the times, when we perform a self-evaluation before going to confess, we only accentuate the weaknesses and the threats, neglecting almost completely the self-evaluation of the strengths and the value of the opportunities. All the sins that we make and all the sufferance represent our weaknesses (W) and the temptations that we confront daily are actually the threats (T) to the possibility of saving our souls. With these two coordinates in our mind we go to the priest, we confess, we repent for our inabilities and we leave relieved that we got the forgiveness for our sins.

However, not after a long time from the confession, we begin to give in, step by step, to the same sins, until we get to the same frequency of committing them, thus without bringing an improvement to our sinful being. That is why, in time, we begin to repeat the confession in a routine and without the hope of making spiritual progresses and being the same humans caught in our inabilities. Why do all these happen? Why we seem to be in the same spot? Because we only do a half-job. We accentuate only the weaknesses and temptations and never on our strengths and the surrounding opportunities. It happens to be on the same spot because we don’t have perspectives and future plans regarding our spiritual live. We don’t establish a goal (a target) to reach together with God. We don’t establish a plan to escape a sufferance or to develop a virtue.

And we don’t do these things because we don’t do a complete self-evaluation and we don’t value our good points, our virtues. It is important to find out what real virtues we have and we can do this only without being tempted to over-evaluate ourselves in a demonic pride. And if we know what virtues we have, then with humility and a just judgment we will be able to multiply them in order to develop even more our love to God and the others near us.

Whoever knows that is merciful with the poor should increase the mercifulness, who is patient with the defects of the other should increase the patience, who is gentle in speaking should comfort and give hope to those hopeless in order to increase his/her gentleness. Any virtue (strength) that we have, we shouldn’t let it to dry and be lost, but to enlarge it even more so that after that our heart would enlarge too and comprise more virtues that will complete our love.

Then, it should be known that we don’t have perspectives in our spiritual life because we don’t analyze the opportunity to spiritually enrich ourselves. We look at almost everything in terms of “weaknesses” and “threats”, without looking also in terms of “strengths” and “opportunities”. But if we analyze better the social, psychological and economical environment that we live in, we will realize that we have a multitude of opportunities to clean our souls and to be spiritually fruitful. A parent, a spouse or a brother with whom I don’t get along christianly represents an opportunity to learn to be forgiving and loving. A stressful job, with a tense working atmosphere, is an opportunity to learn gentleness and patience. A hard material situation is an opportunity to increase my faith and hope in God’s help. All these opportunities are our daily chance to be merciful as the widow in the Gospel and strong in faith as the Canaan woman. All these opportunities and strengths help us to improve spiritually, to not stagnate, to get closer to God and to our brothers’ hearts, but for this we first need to be aware of them and then to put them into practice, supported by God and our priest’s guidance.

The spiritual “management” that we receive from our priest during the confession is essential for not having a “bankrupted” soul. There are many that thought they can travel through this life without advice and spiritual guidance, but later they entered with their souls in debts (the sufferance after the sin) making then the biggest mistake: to take the balance of the soul from minus to plus, from sufferance to accomplishment, sealing the deal with soul collectors, meaning the devils, losing then even what they thought they still have. This is why we have to always have a plan and a future perspective for saving our souls, as God left it in this world.

Therefore, the confession in front of our priest is not only accentuating the factors of sufferance and temptation, but also accentuating the increasing of the existent virtues and valuing the opportunities to grow spiritually, having as a permanent milestone overcoming the old person in us. The Confession, just like SWOT analysis in economics, is a complete X-ray of the existent situation, meant to show in the light of the conscience the real state of the soul, in order to know what we have to correct and develop until the accomplishment.

We should be more often aware that the Mysteries of the Church comprise all the mysteries of this world, whether we encounter them in economics, psychology, mathematics, arts or in other sciences, and not only this, but much more. Because the Mysteries of the Church are not only for this world, but they are a bridge between the earth that we temporarily live on and the heaven in which we want to live forever.

(Razvan)

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