Friday, July 31, 2009

Who Do You Wanna Be?

“What we truly and earnestly aspire to be, that in some sense we are.” Anna Jameson (English writer, early-mid 1800s)

Yesterday I presented “Why Do People Act Crazy at Work?” in Fayetteville. At the break one of the participants came up and asked me a question about conflict; specifically, how do you deal with someone who does something in the workplace that makes you angry.

When I explained that anger is only one letter (d) away from danger she said that she sometimes saw angry people “saying or doing something that was out of character.”

I drove home thinking about Anna Jameson’s quote. So often we aspire to be more than we have been when, unfortunately, we encounter obstacles that stunt our growth or lead us into, as the woman today mentioned, saying or doing something that is out of character.

Those situations are like any other obstacles in life. They are bumps (granted, sometimes big bumps) that are meant to be overcome.

As Anna Jameson pointed out; we already have the better self in us if we are the types of people who aspire to be better. In order to bring that better self out we must reaffirm the aspiration to be bigger, better, smarter, kinder, gentler…whatever, and then learn from the bump and move on.

Here’s another quote that fits. It’s from Thomas Huxley, another Englishman from around Jameson’s time, “The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man’s foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher.”

We only become the better selves to which we aspire by continuing to climb.

Enough with the quotes and the English. I’m gone to Myrtle Beach. Have a big weekend!

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