M. Scott Peck had a significant impact on me many years ago. I often look back to the writers who have influenced me in the past to help navigate the present. There is a lot of natural fear circulating around these days. The Coronavirus/COVID-19 is a scary threat, as all threats are that are randomly […]
People are complex especially when under duress. I am always reticent to give simple answers to difficult questions. Not because there are never simple answers that suffice, but because it often shows a lack of respect for the person in need of help. Before you dive in and offer guidance to someone, it’s important you […]
“A lighthouse can symbolize various things, such as overcoming challenges and adversity or guidance. It is most commonly used to symbolize a way forward and help in navigating through the world. … The first is of the lighthouse itself, which can symbolize salvation and safety, especially in the face of adversity. – source: reference.com” The simile I like to use with my clients is […]
As I sit here writing with the names of the dead lost on September 11 being read in the background on TV it’s easy to get very emotional. It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since this terrible tragedy. You can still hear the pain in the voices of the family members as they take turns reading from the list. It must have been very hard coping with their grief all these years. I only hope they are able to find peace at some point.
Life can be a roller coaster at times. There will be highs and there will be lows. The important thing is not to overreact or think that everything has to be perfect all the time. Perspective is important. There is no silver bullet. There is nothing you can buy or pill you can take that will make you happy for any extended period.
At the risk of sounding like an old codger (which I am not), I can’t believe how worked up people get up over common issues these days. It’s almost as if any level of adversity is intolerable. You would have thought the end the world was near the way everyone especially the media reacted to the recent winter storm. We were bombarded with worst case scenarios and impending doom. People raced to stores to stock up just in case they lost power for a few days. My goodness, can’t we handle a few days of discomfort if required? As a friend said yesterday, “Why the huge interest in toilet paper, can families really not survive a few days without TP?” Are they that close to the edge of hygienic catastrophe? I’ve seen it happen in families, businesses, schools, and communities: if you are not careful, weakness and worry is infectious. Like all significant change, it all starts with small symbolic gestures and begins to gain momentum elsewhere.
I don’t remember growing up in a fearful society, but I feel like I live in one now. All you have to do is turn on the TV, listen to the radio, read the newspaper and eventually someone will be trying to scare you about something. We all seem so emotionally fragile and quick to identify an enemy or cause for our concern. The news media has perfected this art so well that they have helped to perpetuate a more neurotic generation in a time when just about every violent crime statistic is down significantly or at minimum on par with what existed when we were children (and our population has grown significantly during this time). As the saying goes, if it bleeds than it leads.”
Anyone can scare someone else, but it often takes alot more effort to give them courage. Leaders everywhere need to take the lead on changing this mindset. The greatest leaders throughout time have given people hope for a better future. They pushed individuals, communities, organizations and countries to elevate their perception of what’s possible. Instead of scaring people into action and using fear for manipulative purposes, they encouraged others to find the strength and resourcefulness within themselves to meet any challenge and seize opportunity. To quote Winston Churchill, “courage is the first of human qualities, because it is the quality that guarantees all others.”
It’s sad how often fear rules individual lives. You can’t blame people for being afraid. Just about every commercial and news program preys on these fears on a daily basis. When you scare people by tapping into their fears it is easy to manipulate them. I just heard a radio commercial where the financial advisor was basically warning of a financial Armageddon in the next 12 months. What irresponsible nonsense! I simply changed the channel in disgust.
No one likes to work in a company run by a leader with a dictator’s mindset. Just like in countries run by despots, there is always simmering discontent bubbling under the surface. Fear can be an effective motivator especially in the short-term, but you will never get someone’s best effort. And, in the long run, revolutionaries will start to emerge and people will find small ways to sabotage your efforts. Organizational energy ends up being channeled in increasingly dysfunctional ways. Moreover, the people that dictators put in leadership positions tend to be more sinister and less capable than themselves creating even more problems. It is all a recipe for disaster.
Fear can be a destabilizing emotion in organizations. It limits risk taking, inhibits action and worst of all creates a cover your a** (CYA) mentality which results in countless hours of wasted energy. One the biggest fears we all grapple with is the fear of being wrong and/or making mistakes. Far too many employees would rather do nothing or rigorously defend the status quo instead of going out a limb and trying something new or different. As a result of these fears, most organizations are stuck in a survival mode because success almost always involves having courage and taking risks.
Don’t be so quick to rush to judgment. It is sad how much self-righteousness, anger, fear, jealousy and resentment lurks beneath the surface of society today. It takes very little for the media to create a feeding frenzy where everyone jumps on the bandwagon and denigrates another human being. Even though in this country we have a standard of innocent before proven guilty, the court of public opinion often makes up its mind before it has all the facts or evidence. And, guess what sometimes it is wrong – just ask Dr. Steven Hatfill or Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
Life does not reward those that hesitate. One of the hardest things to teach young athletes is to get them to think before they act. They often are used to just plowing ahead regardless of the consequences or the rules. It is a difficult balancing act because if you are not careful they will begin to think too much and lose their natural athletic instincts. In addition, you will play into their natural fears of making a mistake or being wrong. And, in any sport, once you hesitate or pause, you give the other person the advantage by moving into reactive not proactive mode.
There will be instances in any person’s life where they will run smack into their fears. It could be in either significant or insignificant matters, but in all cases the fear will be real to the person experiencing it. Overcoming fear takes courage and being courageous always build character.