Whether at work or home, do you ever argue with the reality of a situation? Are you creating drama that isn’t really necessary? For the large majority of us, if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is a resounding YES, at least some of the time.
I know I’ve had many situations in the past where I felt like I was working harder than ever, but still not getting the results I wanted. Frustration was high while energy levels were low.
What I have come to realize and is that the suffering is optional. In her book, Reality-Based Leadership, Cy Wakeman does a great job of spelling this out.
We all tend to hold some beliefs that aren’t accurate. I know I had a situation earlier in my career where a coworker was given a promotion over me. I immediately made up a story in my mind about how she got it and I didn’t. The reality is that she probably did some things along the way to actually EARN the opportunity while I was too busy doing other things. Just because I wasn’t aware of all the facts, I made up my own.
This is what happens in organizations (and even home) way too often. We argue with reality.
In order to bring peace to our lives, we need to understand that the source of our suffering is not what happens to us, but the stories we create about what happens to us. Sometimes unconsciously, we tell ourselves these stories that aren’t even accurate and then live with the drama that follows.
As Cy puts it, “It’s the single largest barrier to peace and success for most people. The only way to change it is by becoming aware of when and how you tend to do it.” It’s learned helplessness.
Here are some examples of it:
- “This isn’t part of my job description.”
- “Why aren’t others more dedicated? I do everything around here.”
- “There’s never enough time.”
- “Management just doesn’t understand. They only care about the bottom line.”
We are arguing with reality when we judge a situation in terms of right or wrong instead of fearlessly confronting what actually is the reality. Judging is a waste of time and energy and brings no value.
As a leader, if I allow people to complain and make excuses for their results, I am encouraging this learned helplessness and the victim mentality that goes with it. Doing so allows the idea that unless everything is 100 percent perfect, we can’t really be held responsible for the results.
Whether just watching out for yourself or also trying to lead others, you must remember this. Happiness is correlated to the amount of accountability you accept in your life. The more responsibility you take for your results, the happier you will be. It’s my choice. It’s your choice. Make the right choice!
Question: Do you work in an environment where this victim mentality is way too common? What can you do to change it?
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