He who cannot change the very fabric of his thought will never be able to change reality, and will never, therefore, make any progress. -Anwar Sadat
It is not what happens to us; it is how we respond. The difference between reacting and responding is choice. Knowing we have choices is the first step to being responsible and accountable for them. Getting real allows us to understand 1) Things happen (activating event) 2) We think or believe something about what happened or is happening 3) Our thinking/beliefs causes us to feel a certain way 4) We take action and engage in behavior based on our feelings. So in the end, it is not what happened, but what we think and believe about what happened/happens that causes us to make certain decisions and to take certain actions. Dale Carnegie said it is not that things are good or bad, but our thinking makes it so.
Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling which is not – William James, Philosopher
Do not rescue people from the natural consequences of their behavior. Help them or require they take responsibility for their actions because their decisions/actions are a product of their thinking and beliefs and not a natural result of what happened. When you rescue people from the natural consequences of their behavior, you render them powerless (Henry Cloud & John Townsend). Consequences are the appropriate response to inappropriate behavior. Adaptability, flexibility, problem solving, communication: the list goes on and on for the skills that can be developed when one is held responsible for one’s actions. Great leaders were, and are, identifiable before they moved/move into their positions of authority because when they were/are held responsible for results, those results improved/improve! In the May 2015 Fortune Magazine article “Why CEOs Fail” they predict 70% of failures aren’t bad strategy, it is bad execution. Bad execution (a.k.a conflict) is not the problem . . . it is the solution. It is critical to look for disconnects, between strategies, functions, processes, and people required to execute. When you look at the costs of poor execution and hold leaders responsible, evaluate whether there is enough pain (value) and money to pay for it.
In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill wrote, what a person accepts or believes they have no control over, they are creators of their own misfortune. He went on to say that knowledge is not power- it is potential power. “Knowledge becomes power only when it is organized into definite plans of action and directed to a definite end”. Integrity is a state of being whole and undivided. When leaders pass on unpopular decisions by transferring ownership of a decision to someone else—– they rob themselves of their own influence and diminish their own team’s respect for them. As human beings, regardless of our age, consequences are important with respect to our power to produce and effect. Marianne Williamson said, we are powerful beyond measure, and it is this, not our fear of being inadequate, that is our greatest fear as human beings.
I leave you with a most beautiful quote by Dale Carnegie: Everybody in the world is seeking happiness, and there is one sure way to find it. That is by controlling your thoughts. Happiness doesn’t depend on outward conditions. It depends on inner conditions. It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.
– The Winning Way™