Dear Why Team member,
This week we consider:
Ben Franklin once said:
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
I hope you enjoyed last week’s blog encouraging you to adjust your altitude to have a better perspective of all that’s happening for you.
It’s from a higher place that we can truly take Ben Franklin’s advice and consider what we feel needs to be cured inside us. No doubt we have many opinions about what we think needs to be cured in others, but isn’t that more a comforting distraction from what needs to be cured in us?
In the haste of any given moment, we can forget to look inward and allow outward situations to disturb us.
Why do we get so upset?
How may we respond more productively and react less destructively?
How might one go about prevention to preclude the need for a cure?
Let us begin, shall we, with that which is within our control; within our own ability to apply reason.
For a full day, every calendar quarter, I make an investment of both time and money to live a more optimal life. I invest a full day into personal and professional evaluation, listening and learning from my good friend and coach Dr. Roger Hall. For years I have joked about having my own PhD through my relationship with Roger. His brilliant insights have significantly contributed to my reasoned decisions and improved the quality of my life; I will forever be grateful for him helping me prevent situations I would have needed to put too much effort into curing.
Why consider our ability to make a reasoned choice?
Just this past week I had my quarterly day with Roger; as is often our practice, we leveraged Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to make progress. CBT was developed by Dr. Albert Ellis, who Roger had the opportunity to hear speak. Roger shared with me how Ellis applied with great success the teachings of stoicism to move the science of psychology forward - not until philosophy was leveraged did the work of psychology do much good. This reminds me of a similar observation made by Carl Jung regarding the 12-Step Process: the most successful lasting approach to battle alcoholism - further evidence of the need for philosophy.
Dr. Ellis developed a powerful ABCD approach:
Adversity + Belief = Consequence
and then the leverage of Disputation to dispute what we believe about our adversities; this work can improve our consequences - our life experience.
Notice how our own individual beliefs about our adversities help determine the consequence, or the quality of our own life experience. Our response-ability, therefore, is determined by our beliefs about the adversities in our life. Since we are typically not fans of changing ourselves, we often struggle vainly to change others - and when we don’t get the consequence we desire we can come to blame others for not changing.
Gandhi’s invitation to be the change we want to see, is an invitation to change who we are: change our beliefs; and thus be empowered to change outcomes- consequences. For surely there are consequences for how we believe and perceive the world. Even though it is difficult work to change ourselves, and often much more expedient to blame others for our discomforts- even at times coming to demand others change in our desperate desire for emotional relief - it helps to consider our altitude, the place from where we analyze our beliefs, and by going higher, hopefully seeing a bigger picture, to work more effectively at prevention- to have better consequences; better for us and the ones around us.
Think about your own actions and the development of your own personal response-ability. I know this is a reoccurring theme, but does not our entire experience of life come down 100% to our ability to respond to life? No matter what is happening outside of you, own how your response to it - it is that which you own that you are most able to change.
Isn’t it interesting how some people can become so angry at people who get angry?!
There is a joke about the winner of “The Most Humble Man of the Year Award”; the moment he accepted the award, he was disqualified. :-)
I have often say in jest that I can’t stand people who are judgmental :-)
I have a buddy who when he notices his complaints about others almost always says “of course you and I are perfect”. I admire him every time he says it.
Are you perfect?
Do you feel bad that you’re not perfect? Are you particularly hard on yourself for your imperfections?
Are you familiar with the understanding of projection; that we see things not as they are but as we are? I believe our intolerance toward ourselves is a root cause for our intolerance toward others. We all develop our own personal rule books to live by and admonish ourselves when we fail to live by them. Is it any wonder that we are very susceptible to demanding, not just that we follow our own rules, but that others follow our rules as well?
Maybe because it’s easier to follow our own rules if everyone else is following them?
It’s certainly easier to believe our own rules are best or we wouldn’t follow them ourselves. But can we see the person behind how they choose to live? Where is the higher consciousness that loves the person despite not liking their behavior? Don’t we all have preferences and different opinions about things?
Why have we become so threatened by people who behave differently from us?
I recently read that in order for two people to have a constructive conversation, they must first find common ground on which to stand; no common ground, no place to stand to even begin to connect and relate to each other. Consider the common ground; let’s see, we are all human beings who depend on red and white blood cells - that’s a start :-)
For this week and beyond, let us consider looking all the more at our own behavior and on how we may focus more on preventing, rather than curing. Let’s leverage disputation to dispute our own thinking that may be keeping us from finding common ground. And let’s love ourselves and our neighbors all the more - to bring about the changes we hope to see.
Make it a great week!