How Much of a Contradiction Are You?
”It’s easier to love humanity than it is to love your neighbour.’’
This was an audience member contributing to a recent public debate, hosted by the BBC and the Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel, about citizenship and global identity. And it really made me think.
The contributor went on to explain that loving humanity is easy as it’s so big and an unknown – a wonderful ideal, whereas it’s hard to love your neighbour as you know them. You know the good and bad and some of those bad bits might really annoy you!
This got me thinking about other ways that we fallible humans say and think the right thing, but often miss the opportunity to do the right thing – either because it’s too hard, we just miss the connection completely or think it’s someone else’s job. Our actions not matching our thoughts and or words.
In the same week, HR Magazine reported on Matthew Taylor chief executive of the RSA, speaking at the Engage for Success Conference in London about the importance of engaging workforces about how ”the idea that all employees should experience good work, is having a moment right now”.
“The most innovative organisations in the world are innovative because they have creative communities”. For leaders, he said, this means creating a community where “people feel in it together” and “a culture where employees are encouraged to take risks rather than a leadership based on bureaucracy”.
How many of us already know this, understand this, want to change but then for whatever reason get buried in the detail, the task, and normal habits and carry on as we always have? Is this taking the easiest route? Staying within our comfort zone or in the ‘protection’ of our role or position?
Allowing ourselves to become stuck and creating a contradiction in our thoughts and actions at work.
From our research we know that, 70% of people use words and phrases like ‘doubting’, ‘worrier’, ‘overthinking’, ‘lacking confidence’, when describing themselves. How often do we blame these feelings on our surroundings and what happens to us? How many of us put conditions, (those pesky things outside of us again) to the thought of situations changing or taking any action ourselves; we could do that but…, I could be nicer to my neighbour but….. , I’ll do that when……
How many of us are stuck in these ways of being, doing and thinking that don’t help us to get the best out of our situation and lives?
Thinking and doing the same, means that you will always get the same – becoming unconsciously complacent and stagnating – stuck in the hamster wheel. In the workplace it might mean staying with an old-fashioned style of command and control or master/servant leadership or living with bureaucracy, systems or processes that can stifle engagement and creativity.
We know that we can all look internally to shift our perspective on any situation we find ourselves in. Concentrating on the good things about our neighbour rather than focusing on the small annoyances, leading changes at work that could create greater engagement.
81% of Courageous Success clients say ‘I now feel I have the power to change my workplace.’
We know it is possible.
Challenge the inconsistencies in your thoughts and actions, be conscious of them and then go further; what steps can you take to put your best thoughts into actions and make a positive difference?
- Genuinely see the good in others in all situations – think kindness.
- Keep your power – others can’t make you feel cross or fed up – only you can with the response you choose, so choose to be optimistic and hopeful instead.
- Don’t make everything about you, how you feel, the impact on you, and your reality of the situation, take a step back, pause and think: what’s really happening?
- Swap negative language for positive – problem to challenge, loss to learning, and inconsistency to flexibility.