A little consideration

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Jeffrey L. Neuberger
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Chaplain
We all like to know how we score on various tests and scales. How are you at the McLandress Coefficient?

Never heard of the McLandress Coefficient? Neither had I.

Herschel McLandress was a professor of psychiatric measurement at Harvard Medical School, and he developed a way to measure a person's degree of self-absorption. He measured the use of "I," "me," and "my" in spoken and written material. The "Coefficient" was the longest span of time a person can remain diverted from talking about himself or herself.

He studied various well-known personalities and summarized them this way:

Eleanor Roosevelt was supposed to have a McLandress coefficient of two hours; John F. Kennedy's was twenty-nine minutes; Kruschev and Elizabeth Taylor each had a McLandress Coefficient of three minutes; Richard Nixon, one minute.

In November 1997, the Spokesman Review reported on Renaissance Entertainment Inc. of Orlando which made plans to market a new entertainment sensation called "Ego Trip: A Ride About You."
The ride, which Renaissance hoped to sell to a theme park or to local fairs, would feature rider's names, photos and voices to create a totally personalized experience.
As paparazzi snapped away and adoring fans called their names, the riders would attend their own movie premieres. They would visit an art museum to view paintings of themselves as done by Picasso, Warhol and van Gogh. They would attend a political rally to be urged to run for president and a sporting event where they'd be praised for their athletic prowess. Finally, they'd enjoy a ticker-tape parade in their honor.
Afterward, ego-stroked riders would proceed to the gift shop--where they could buy all sorts of stuff emblazoned with their images.
The President of Renaissance said, "What's everyone's favorite subject? Themselves ... this is taking that to the nth degree."
There is something enticing about being "the center of the universe." However, if we all take this approach, not much else gets done.
We have a phrase we often use within our chapel staff; we remind each other "it's not about you." Self-absorption is not a particularly pretty sight in anyone, and many of us would agree we certainly don't like it in others. We remind each other at the chapel that we're called to think of others, not ourselves.

In our relationships it's well to remember the simple, child-inspired thoughts from A.A. Milne, the author of the "Winnie the Pooh" character. In "Pooh's Little Instruction Book," Pooh says, "A little Consideration, a little Thought for Others, makes all the difference."

I think he's right. The true test of how we ride through life is less about me and more about us. It's all about how we journey together.