When faced with obstacles we have a remarkable facility for focusing our attention away from ourselves.
Whether we say it out loud, or mutter away silently inside our own heads, we find ourselves thinking along these lines:
This wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for him
She’ll have to sort this out
They need to change their attitude
If only they could realise…
I’ve told them but they just won’t listen
Either we have a fantastic ability to spot the cause and effect, and identify the solution; or we are kidding ourselves and absolving ourselves of responsibility.
Can you imagine running along a racing track and seeing a hurdle ahead of you? Any numbers of options present themselves:
I could attempt to jump over it and alter my stride in preparation
I could check to see if there’s room for me to run around it
I could calculate how feasible it is to crawl under it
I could estimate how possible it is to barge through it and knock it out of the way
Or I could stop in my tracks, complain about how terrible it is that someone has left this hurdle in the middle of the track, and demand that they remove it.
Unfortunately, we seem drawn too readily to the final option.
There has to come a point when we accept that playing the waiting game for other people to take it upon themselves to solve our problems, just doesn’t work. It’s a diversionary tactic which takes us nowhere. It makes us feel helpless; the issue doesn’t get resolved (at least not to our satisfaction); and we become consumed with frustration.
The longer we go on expecting other people to make the first move, the longer we consign ourselves to disappointment, inadequacy and inertia.
It seems that we are great at finding things for other people to do to resolve the problems we encounter, but not so great at identifying what we need to do ourselves. We often block our own resourcefulness by unhelpful beliefs such as: “I shouldn’t have to do this” or “They messed up so they have to fix it”, or “I’ve done everything I can. Now it’s their turn”. These beliefs are wholly inadequate if your desire is to see the situation resolved, and they prevent us from considering the role we could play in bringing about a different outcome.
A sign of madness is that we blithely continue doing the same thing long after it has been shown to work. Most of us display these pathological qualities on a daily basis.
So if expecting others to solve our problems (even if we believe they are responsible for the problems in the first place) has been shown to be an ineffective approach so far, maybe we need to find an alternative approach.
We don’t have to look far. We have to make the first move.
If something isn’t working, try something else. If you’re not getting the result you want,
We have the capacity to be inventive, agile, flexible, and focused. We can even re-invent ourselves. But we will rarely succeed in changing other people just because we want them to change or telling them they must change. The change needs to start with us.