As a college professor, and a high Theoretical (from a values perspective), I admit that I am biased toward knowledge and learning. But, even this notwithstanding, I have been in so many conversations lately where the problem people raise is that it’s “ignorance” or “lack of education” or “lack of knowledge” about something. We often tell people that to improve their lot in life, they need to become educated or go back to school.
This is one of my kids’ favorite phrases – if I ask them to do something more than once, or if I use a stern voice or if I start to get a bit frustrated because I think they aren’t listening to me, they respond with “Calm down, MOM!” Of course, when someone tells me to calm down, it has the opposite effect on me. “What do you mean CALM DOWN??? I AM CALM!!!!”
This is the time of the year when the spring teaching session comes to a close and final grades are in. I enjoy playing Interested Observer, watching the students’ reactions when they learn of their grade. I receive many emails from students during this time – some write to tell me I am the best professor they’ve had and how much they learned from me. Others write to ask me what other classes I am teaching so they can enroll in additional classes with me.
I was reminded today, at a meeting I was facilitating with a client and their team, about the power of connection. The person in charge of the company was commenting on how lonely they sometimes feel – dealing with all of the issues, responding to everyone’s needs and problems, and trying to keep a game face on during times of trial. The colleagues sitting there were shocked at this comment – “I thought you just wanted us to keep our heads down and focus on results,” said one person.
Sometimes, when we strive to make a difference in our relationships, it means stepping outside of our well-worn comfort zones. We all get into a groove – no different than a marble stuck inside a groove in a piece of wood. We roll from side to side, looking like we are making changes and moving, but in reality we stay stuck where we are. We want to roll out and try something new, but we keep rolling back to the same center point.
Do you think about changes that you’d like to make? Do you have days where you vow you will never do (or say) something to someone again, like you did today? Do you wish you could change your outlook or your attitude?
Most of us do. We do the things we don’t want to do, and don’t often do the things we know we should (and want to!) do. How come? Why does each day go by when we set out with the best of intentions but end up frustrated that we haven’t met our desired state?