Before We Can Find Balance With Others, We Need To Keep Ourselves In Check – Part 1

Leadership Lesson: With others and within ourselves, enhancing our awareness of and openness to a deeper understanding of extreme positions advances progress, so we’re using our time effectively and avoiding outright dismissal of one side or the other.

Things are getting out of control nowadays. Everyone is freaking out. Tensions seem to be running higher and higher.

We all seem to be divided, standing on one side of a issue or the other.

And it’s like this across the higher-profile arenas of interactions we see today.

Whether it’s politics, religion, or any other ideology, we’re drifting further and further apart, anchored to our side of any given issue, not ceding or forfeiting an inch, idea, or conversation.

The stances people take are usually this/not that, say this/don’t say that, believe this/don’t believe that, do this/don’t do that, or I’m right/you’re wrong. The list goes on and on.

What a waste of time.

Through all this arguing so much precious time is wasted when, instead, ideas could be formed, refined, and executed – or at least guided in that general direction — with input from all positions, sides, and experiences in that same amount of time.

But we always tend to take things too far, indulging in the high we get of feeling right over someone else.

You can see it regularly. You watch tv, or read articles and blog posts, and people just dismiss each other’s thinking and, therefore, each other.

But it shouldn’t be that way.

I’m here to try to make the case for moderation.

Well, I guess I’d like to actually make a case for moderation.

Fine, I’d like to moderate.

Here’s my message to all of us (yes, myself included): Give a little bit. Take a little less. Not everyone can be right all the time. In the deepest of fights between two staunch opponents, the most one side can do is talk the other into seeing some merit in their own position, not making them accept it completely.

We don’t need to go 100% at the other side, ready to do combat.

We need to be more patient. We need to be more observant. We need to be more understanding. And none of these is because we necessarily want to be, but because if we don’t attempt to be any of them, the argument goes nowhere, and everyone has wasted their time, energy, and cause.

We should strive to be each of those things with others. We should provide that environment and experience for them. (Providing for others in that manner is a specialized skill which is very uncommon but which each of us should work toward.)

Related: What Do You Lose By Not Sorting Through Environmental Noise?

Hell, we should even seek to do that with ourselves — balancing between two extremes within ourselves, not dismissing one or the other.

Everything we do for and share with others externally starts with us internally. And there’s a discipline to understanding our deepest needs and how we move forward. The more we understand it for ourselves, the better we can deliver it for others.

Related Newsletter: How Disciplined Are You In Keeping To Your Plans?

Think about where you moderate internally for yourself, balancing between two forces — emotions and logic, the heart and the mind, etc.

There are so many examples where we shun one end of a behavior spectrum for the other – and that’s what gets us in trouble, bringing on confusion, disappointment, and discouragement.

For instance, how do you try to balance your approach in each of these areas?

Being Confident vs. Being Egotistical

How do you balance between knowing and conveying how good you are and simply bragging about how good you are? How do you demonstrate your value instead of taking your credit?

Some people risk not achieving their best because they believe any demonstration of confidence will lead to a perception of ego by others. But there’s a way to prove yourself and reflect who you are without being overbearing and obnoxious.

Don’t give up on what you’re worth because you don’t want to come across poorly. Learn what the difference is, tread lightly, and act accordingly.

Related: Is Your Definition Of Confidence Holding You Back Or Pushing You Forward?

Always Being Emotional vs. Knowing There’s A Time & Place

One of the worst things that seems to be crippling society is the loneliness people feel. There are so many people who feel lonely because they can’t express themselves or what they feel. They feel they can’t get emotional (whether it be happy, sad, etc.), resulting in that feeling of disconnection.

Emotion is good. It shows you’re alive — a living and breathing soul — not just some costumed façade. But you have to balance it.

For instance, if that emotion is sadness, triggering tears, like I tell my toddler, “It’s not that you cry, but when you cry.”

It’s OK to get emotional, but you have to pick and choose when you get emotional. Emotion can be raw and real — too real that others may not be sure how to handle the power of the emotion.

Make sure you’re emoting the right way by expressing how you feel with trusted partners. Learn where and around whom you can demonstrate your emotion without it coming back to bite you in the keister.

Understand and know how to harness your emotion.

Related: Emotional Intelligence: This Is What It’s Like To Break The 4th Wall

Being Offended vs. Holding Someone Accountable

This is the one that is really getting out of control. You see it every day at this point. Someone being outraged by something someone did, and it carries on for days as the headlined offense of the moment.

It’s ok to point something out and keep someone accountable, but the level to which we’re exacting outrage toward an offense is really not good for anyone. It wastes too much time. What’s even more alarming is the amount of silence between offenses, like people are waiting for the other shoe to drop so they can pounce on the negative, without spending time truly building up the positive preemptively.

Monitor when you get offended and how you react. Make sure your response mirrors the severity of the offense.

(My point here isn’t to take away from the credence that something was wrong, and that there was an offensive act. It’s the extent to which people harp on the offense.)

Comparing Yourself to Others vs. Living Your Own Life

Yeah, you might have heard it’s not good to compare yourself to others. That we shouldn’t do it and it’s unhealthy. In order to moderate that common advice, let me say it IS important to compare yourself to others…within moderation.

Comparing ourselves to tear ourselves down and degrade our own ability and worth is dangerous. But that only happens if you’re looking at someone, taking a comparison snapshot, and leaving it at that. The right way to compare is to take only those first two steps, and then consider how you can improve based on the value you find in the attributes, abilities, and skills of the other person.

Compare yourself to others to challenge yourself to grow, not damage yourself into jealousy, doubt, and defeat.

Comparison to others is natural and needed, and it’s how often you do it and how much value and growth you get out of it that matters.

Giving Too Much Trust vs. Not Trusting At All

We need to monitor how much trust we are placing in others. Too many clients, when it comes to their development, which takes place both inside and outside of the workplace and career, talk about trusting the wrong people over and over again. What’s worse is they knew it all along.

There’s no way to make it through life without trusting another person, but you have to be vigilant about where you place your trust.

Item on The Self 60: Trust But Trust Vigilantly

Too many people settle for what’s easy and in front of them, choosing instead to have people in their life who are there and won’t go anywhere, forfeiting the ability to meet new people who know and reciprocate the value of trust.

Continue to Part II


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