Consider taking time from your busy holiday schedule to relax a bit and read this lengthy philosophical post.
7. The gift of simply being who you are.
Most people live under a merciless tyranny: the tyranny of constantly needing to live up to someone’s expectations. Our own expectations can be bad enough, full of unrealistic dreams and unfulfilled hopes. But when you add two other sets of expectations—those of the people around us and those imposed by our society—the combined load can be crippling. Much of the unhappiness and frustration to be found in organizations is caused directly by people struggling with unrealizable expectations. With performance appraisal season coming up, now is a very good time to see all these demands for what they are: either attempts by your own ego to increase its status, or attempts by others to get what they want by using you to provide it for them.
As if this load wasn’t bad enough on its own, we often add another: a willingness to accept responsibility for outcomes or events that are nothing to do with us. Maybe we all like to exaggerate our own importance. Maybe we need to feel some measure of control over our world. Whatever the reason, most of us assume that we can influence events that are, in reality, due to blind chance. And that other people are far more concerned and interested in us that they truly are—which is, typically, scarcely at all.
The antidote is simple: accept yourself for who and what you are. Take some time to look carefully at events, distinguishing where you can truly influence the outcome, and where nothing will change, whatever you do. Don’t take on additional burdens of guilt or responsibility for what you cannot affect. If other people try to hand you responsibility for something that is outside your control, politely hand it back.
We are conditioned by our society to value achievement. That is no bad thing in itself, but it very easily loses its moorings in reality. When that happens, you are no longer able to see when enough is enough...
Kenneth P. Reeder, Ph.D.
Jacksonville, North Carolina 28546
« Last Edit: December 22, 2006, 12:44 PM by mouser »