Pablo was a very successful businessman. However, he was very reactive in his communication. Perhaps he thought it was the macho way to behave and claim authority – an unfortunate and common misunderstanding. But his immature projected personality caused problems and limited his efforts. Despite his success, he did not garner respect. His divorce, strained relationship with his children and his constant fighting with business partners led him to me.
After working with Pablo for a while, he reported that many colleagues both up and down his corporate ladder were saying he was like a new man, so much more pleasant to deal with, to trust and to work with. His children were wondering how they could become calmer as well. Pablo had become a better leader.
There still remained a boulder on the road to Pablo’s growth, one I considered an unnecessary flaw, a minor challenge; he still maintained a habit of complaining, about everything.
This brought us to what it seemed to me a natural next step. I offered Pablo a simple and attractive deal. You can have everything you have ever wanted or imagined, I said. We can create it quite easily. I went over the steps in detail. But, I said, you have to pay a price: you have to give up complaining. It is a simple transaction. The fact is that if you achieve even 10% of what you say you want, there will be nothing to grumble about. And I can prove to you how easy it will be – if you think differently, follow an easy plan and simply stop complaining. Pablo said he would think about it. And to his credit, he was as honest as he could be when he responded with: I can’t do it. My heart is not in it, he said.
I reviewed the matter with Pablo again, many times, showing him the steps he could easily take to achieve his various goals – if he would just pull back on his nagging negativity. He said he had come as far as he could, he was grateful that he had become more amiable in general, but complaining was too much to give up. Before we parted, I asked, who do you love the most, complaining about what you do not have, or creating what you want. He kept saying his heart could not allow him to stop complaining. He simply loved this habit.
A few years later, I checked in with Pablo. He was still successful, but he was indeed true to his word. He complained about everything – the government, his partners, etc. etc. He explained how he had lost millions of dollars in various deals. Luckily, he could afford the losses, and his voice was energized as he described his failures.
More than success, his marriage, children – more than what he said he really, really wanted – he loved his petulant carping more.
Betsy was madly in love. Everyone she met would soon learn of her love for a man in her community. The only person who did not know was the man she pined for. One day a mutual friend told the man of Betsy’s declarations. His eyes were opened and he considered the possibility of a potential deeper connection. He called Betsy and they had an honest and intimate conversation. The man suggested they meet, at which point, Betsy declared, I have my fears. On this she was very firm. More conversations followed, and no matter how positive, it always ended with Betsy’s, I have my fears. I knew both parties and eventually asked Betsy who she loved the most, the potential of a relationship with the man – or her fears. The truth was in the silence that followed. Fears were her true love. This was not just insecurity, escape, or a test. Despite the many months of longing, gossip with everyone she knew and met, and lots of what seemed hopeful back and forth, the truth was her fears, as Betsy called them, were her true love. It showed in every part of her life. Any effort to advance in her home, family, work, etc. would soon end with her clear anthem, I have my fears. Years later, Betsy seemed quite content, but not in any meaningful relationship. She did, however, always speak of her fears, as one would of a beloved pet.
My fears, my anger, my insecurities, my opinions, my feelings, my disease, my issues, etc. etc. etc. – all starting with “my”, an expression of attachment, ownership, and yes, love, the laziest kind.
Life is progress. Love is vast. Success is a direction. Consciousness is a decision.
No one is immune from the comfort of “my”. But everyone can easily shift consciousness away from its pull, with a simple internal command. When you encounter “my” in your own projected personality, assess its true value and adjust accordingly. Leadership requires this flexibility and maturity.