“Because many professionals are always successful at what they do, they rarely experience failure…they never learned how to learn from failure… so when things go wrong, they become defensive, screen out feedback and criticism, and put the blame on anyone and everyone but themselves.” Chris Argyris, Professor of Management, Harvard School of Business
Do you have a plan for taking your journey of life? How do you want your life to turn out? Are you trying to get to the end by not taking risks or just surviving till it’s over? Do safety and comfort drive your life strategy? What are the implications for living a life of safety and avoiding pain? What effects does this view of the world have on our life? Have you always been successful and hate to lose? How do you make “right” choices in difficult times?
These are questions that most of us do not ponder intentionally. But trying to just survive life in and of itself leads to a loss of energy, playing things safely, and unhealthy psychological themes and conflicts.
The basis for this perspective on life has many sources–family abuse, both physical and psychological, environmental deprivation, social isolation, and fears of unknown. This survival strategy is based on seeing and experiencing the world as one big pie. If you only have a chance to get a sliver you engage the world in a competitive place based on limited resources. You must fight for everything you get. Everyone is seen as a competitor fighting for their piece of the pie. People are seen as selfish and not trust worthy. Suspicion, cynicism and scarcity guide our decisions and interpersonal relationships. Other people are seen as selfish, self-serving and greedy. This leads a person to acting in an ego-centric and uncaring manner. The “survivor mentality” finds it difficult to trust and leads to a defensive posture illustrated by such behavior as hyper-competition (always trying to win), never being able to admit being wrong, and essentially isolated by what is seen as a hostile and joyless world.
Meaningful Constructive Living Corrective Response
1. Find opportunities and situations where you can build trust and unconditional love.
2. Be clear that the world is one of abundance and take advantage of opportunities to expand your view and learn from mistakes by being more risk taking and reflective. Seek feedback so as to correct behavior and eliminate blind spots.
3. Be more thoughtful and less impulsive in reacting to life choices and decisions. Stop to challenge thinking and explore other courses of action. And remember the past is not an absolute determiner of the future.
4. Accept that we are all fallible human beings (FHB). We make mistakes, act irrationally, and make errors in judgment. Learn to accept responsibility for mistakes, be open to learning and apologize not blame others for our fallibility.