The power of… helplessness

I’ve been thinking about this quite much recently: a mentor I had in teaching told me something wise years ago: “There are no bad students, there are bad and inappropriate methods of working with people.”

Quite often, when things don’t work out the way we have planned, we are quick to reject the person and say: “This guy isn’t serious”, “It’s impossible to work with him”, “He’s good for nothing”, “He doesn’t really know what he wants”, “Things don’t work well between us”, “He isn’t motivated enough”, “No way”…

Is it not a glossy cover for helplessness and unwillingness to look for the real reason in inappropriate methods of working with that person? Isn’t it time to look for a different approach? Isn’t it a form of betrayal to give up on someone that easily? Don’t we impose guilt on the other person due to our own personal irresponsibility?…

My mentor Tom has a wonderful word picture: Imagine you are in an elevator. There’s a person standing in front of you. You smile. What does the other person do? Chances are they smile back. But, while smiling, you clench your fist and hit him in the nose, just like that. What does the other person do? They will very likely strike back or pour out a whole load of ‘nice and positive’ messages at you, addressing you, your hind-parts and your female relatives…

Well, is the person in front of you bad? How come they raged at you JUST LIKE THAT, out of the blue? They were smiling kindly, right?…

People do have a free will but barely use it. They react to things around them all the time. And if we aim at a specific reaction, isn’t it a good idea for US to provoke a positive reaction by doing the right thing? Instead of giving in to what others are doing and reacting to their actions…

One of my teachers used to say: “I don’t wait for the waiter to pamper me and then give a tip. I tip the waiter BEFORE they serve me to make sure I get pampered.”

That’s what I’ve been thinking about recently. What do you think?

Leave a Reply