On Whose Terms?
As I reflect on last week, one of the strongest lessons that seems to stand out is my the question, “how have I been responding to some challenges lately?” I dealt with an institution that needed a lot of documents. This is a normal part of organizational life, for the sake of record keeping, accountability etc. Like the saying goes, “if’ it’s not on paper it doesn’t exist”… Anyway, I had to do what seemed like a hundred and one trips, phone calls and emails as I attempted to give them all they required from me. At some point I got very frustrated. If I needed their help I had no choice but to meet all the requirements.
This is the nature of life; we are often forced to work with situations we are not happy with. But because they contribute to the outcome we desire, we have to work with them. It is human tendency to want to change everything to fit us or what we consider unique to us. We go about life acting and thinking, “no one could possibly be in a dire circumstance as I am”. We’re generally “me-centered”… We sometimes even expect life, our work etc to fit in to how we want it… Sometimes we spend a lot of time trying to change situations instead of cooperating with them. I am no longer going to waste time trying to change things I do not have control of.
Last week I was reminded that there are always going to be situations I am going to be able to change and at the same time, ones I will not be able to change. Instead of trying to change circumstances or systems I have no control over, I am going to simply look more into how I can work with them. Perhaps even work with some of these ‘systems’ to change them! In think there are times we have to work with the challenges and not against them to get the best out situations.
On The Squash Court
A friend of mine made the same mistake I made a few months ago. Just before his match, he added a new grip to his racquet. He did not replace the one that was already there, but wrapped the new one over the old one. If you ask most people that play racquet sports they’ll tell you that it does significantly affect your grip and subsequently your shots and game. Immediately after adding the grip he got on the court and went straight into his match. Because the feel of his racquet had changed drastically it affected his shots. Toward the end of the match he ditched the newer grip… The difference immediately showed; he was able to better gauge the strength in his shots and better “place” the ball… Unfortunately too late in the game, and he lost!
The lesson: don’t introduce drastic changes before a major “game” if you can avoid it! One of the reasons why change sometimes causes colossal failures is because it is introduced too fast. When you introduce change in your life, organization, team, family etc, it may be worthwhile to do it at a manageable pace. If you haven’t been running don’t wake up and plunge yourself into a twenty kilometer run… Run the shorter distances first and build your stamina. Increase the distance as your stamina builds. Play practice games with the new grip before playing the match with it!
What one thing did you learn last week? Please do share…