groups vs. teams

Do you prefer to belong to a Group or a Team? What’s the main differentiator between the two?

  • Group members share at least a common characteristic.
  • Team members all need to share a common objective.

acceptance

Our lives are full of demands and requests. They can come from anywhere: home or work, from others and from within our own minds.

But no matter where they originate, the critical point is how we choose to respond to them. Because how we choose to respond has a profound impact on how we are treated by others, and most importantly on our own self-respect.

So when faced with a demand or request, you can choose ACCEPT it or to ACQUIESCE to it.

To ACQUIESCE means to give in to a demand or request, and subsequently to something or someone.

By allowing yourself to acquiesce you effectively merge – without challenge or evaluation – into someone else’s context. As such, you run the risk of ceding your will, initiative or control. A further risk is that you might eventually experience your will – or sense of self – becoming inexorably eroded from repeatedly compromising your value system or principles.

To ACCEPT is to make a proactive choice to adapt based on your own considered evaluation and judgement.

The key to doing this effectively is making the effort of will to pause while the request is sent to your mental think-tank for evaluation and consideration. This gives you the freedom to either deliberately accept the option as consistent or consonant with your value system, or consciously reject it because it isn’t. Whichever you choose, exercising your will in this responsible manner – guided by your thinking, not your feelings – will give you positive control over whatever choices you are presented with in life.

The Bottom Line:

Free will notwithstanding, circumstances are not always ideal, so at times the choice between acceptance or acquiescing may seem to be determined by the nature of a particular circumstance. Such is life. But as long as the choices you ACCEPT are in the main deliberate ones for which you confidently have a reasonable rationale, you’ll stay aligned with your values while exercising your potential and freedom of will, which is always a good thing.

mistakes

Obviously we all make mistakes. And as you are no doubt aware, it is not the mistakes we make that really matter, but how we deal with having made them. So here is a piece of easy-to-remember advice on how to deal with your mistakes in a useful manner. It is a simple 90-10 Rule.

Whenever you make a mistake, the best & only truly worthwhile response is to immediately offer an effective remedy to it. 90% of your immediate effort & attention should be focused solely on the prompt execution of this. The remaining 10% of your attention can then be spent on an apology for your mistake, if you wish.

Look closely, and you will see that people often do just the opposite – they spend 90% of their immediate effort & attention on apologizing, and seldom spend not even the remaining 10% on a remedy. While this strategy may help assuage the conscience of the responsible party, in fact it helps no-one and nothing.

So give the 90-10 Rule a try when next you make a mistake. You’ll be a better person for it.

freedom

We all want “freedom”. Or claim we do, anyway. But achieving it is entirely dependent upon whether we choose to push away from what we don’t want (FREEDOM FROM) or pull ourselves towards what we do want (FREEDOM TO).

FREEDOM FROM – this desire is rooted in the types of emotions associated with failure, e.g. ”Don’t miss!”

As you can see, the DNA of FREEDOM FROM is really avoidance; we want to feel free of some negative force or set of conditions. The emotional factors in play here are primarily doubt and fear, because these are the things we are pushing away from in our quest to obtain freedom.

FREEDOM TO – this desire is rooted in the types of emotions associated with success, e.g. ”Hit it out of the park!”

The DNA of FREEDOM TO is the expansive spirit of reaching ahead; we are driven by confidence and determined self-reliance to achieve. The emotional factor in play here is primarily a powerful belief in oneself as the vehicle through which to obtain freedom.

The Bottom Line: 

Defaulting to FREEDOM FROM leads only to feelings of futility, because the harder you try to push away from the doubts to which you are clinging, the tighter your grip on them – and theirs on you!

On the contrary, choosing FREEDOM TO pulls you ever forward, and so it alone can lead to an independent spirit, the only true source of freedom we can experience.

As always, the choice is yours, so pick one you’ll be happy living with.

to err is human

Naturally we all make mistakes, in all shapes & sizes, for a huge variety of reasons. To err is human indeed.

But so too is the unfortunate inclination to ignore our mistakes, particularly when they feel rather severe or were made in our distant past.

The fact is, we are naturally reluctant to “admit” having made certain mistakes. The consequence, however, is that they can often plague our lives, frequently in the form of one or more bad emotional habits.

So why do we work so hard to avoid facing certain mistakes? Simply because we are afraid of looking (or feeling) foolish, especially in the eyes of others. Honestly, what a monumentally stupid reason to repeat or fail to correct a mistake.

Consider this: Contrary to popular belief, I don’t believe that your personal growth & improvement is contingent upon “admitting your mistake” to someone else! Rather, it is about you accepting that you made it yourself; whoever hears you do so is not important.

My reasoning is thus: You privately and genuinely accepting your own mistake gives you two very valuable things: (1) freedom FROM the guilt or shame or embarrassment of the mistake, and (2) freedom TO either rectify the mistake, ameliorate its continuing effects, or at the very least not repeat it again. And perhaps you even walk away with a little bit of wisdom and a renewed pride of personal responsibility.

So you can see how being able to accept a mistake to yourself – without necessarily having to “admit it” to someone else – is a very powerful Big Win.

PS. If it helps, think on this: “Maturity is to not hide one’s strength out of fear, and consequently live below one’s best.” Dag Hammarskjold

the big lie

We all have the tendency to tell ourselves things that are not strictly speaking true – it is one of our base survival mechanisms.

The thing with survival mechanisms though, is that they can severely constrain our personal growth & development. So from time to time it is important to challenge certain of these auto-defense mechanisms that may be limiting us. One such mechanism which often frustrates us, for example, is the common lament: “I don’t know what to do!”

I call this The Big Lie, because this has nothing to do with knowing, but rather everything to do with feeling. Specifically, when we complain to ourselves (or others) that we “don’t know what to do!”, what we are really thinking is “I don’t know what is guaranteed to work!”, and this is what makes us feel so frustrated, weak, or vulnerable.

By itself, this is not a big deal, but unfortunately the thought or feeling that “I don’t know what is guaranteed to work!” is all too often automatically followed by “So I’m better off doing nothing at all until I do know!”.

This is self-destructive for two key reasons: (1) Obviously because taking reasonable action, no matter the outcome, is always better than doing nothing. (2) Because the more we run this pattern, the more defiant &/or petulant we risk becoming, which in turn increases our initial feelings of powerlessness. Not good.

So if you ever find yourself lamenting “I don’t know what to do!”, remember that it is just not true; you may not know the absolute best thing to do, but then how often does anyone?

Don’t give in to fear. Remind yourself that you always have the power to take reasonable action, and do so; you may be pleasantly surprised at the outcome. And if the outcome turns out to be less than optimal, just manage it to the best of your ability and an opportunity for a better outcome will find its way to your door.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. – Aristotle

PS. Two tips:

  1. Every task has to be done one at a time.
  2. No task ever has to be done “perfectly”, just thoroughly & completely.