Make that a recommendation

FTLComm - Tisdale - Thursday, January 18, 2007

Today's epistle comes to you out of a seemingly unimportant adjustment to growing old. As you can see in my picture, the hair on the top of my head is so thin I no longer have a head of hair, but a head of hairs. About a week ago, I was a little frustrated with these individuals who stand, or lay, pretty much beyond my control and I was attempting to bring some order to the mess with my brush. Then it struck me, instead of trying to push these unruly strands into place, perhaps I should just make a recommendation as to where I would like them to go. It would be up to the hairs to decide, I would offer encouragement and direction, but the final say would be, as it was in all reality, theirs to determine.

Though life in general is often appearing to be a little more complex, than gaining control over the hairs on your head, when you come right down to it, that is not the case. We are ever so quick to decide that issues and circumstances are "complicated," that they are hard to understand, or that it is profoundly confounding to deal with a significant number of things. It is a powerful compulsion in all people, some more than others, to feel that they have some control, or can determine the outcome of some events.

People vary in the amount of control they require, but it is fair to say that everyone needs to feel that they have some power, otherwise they will develop a condition that psychologist describe as learned, or acquired dependency. But like the hairs on my head, you have to, at some point, accept the fact that no matter how determining you are, the situation is out of control and that is the point where you may feel uncomfortable, or even seriously frustrated. A feeling of discomfort, or frustration, can prey on a person to the point that they feel like there is no point in going on and they just want to give up trying to affect change. It is at this critical point that I am suggesting you look at the way things are going and instead of desparately attempting to impose your will, that you simply offer appropriate encouragement and make a recommendation.

Many of us choose some pretty difficult roles in life and no matter what we have decided to do as a career, we will absolutely inevitably crash into a wall that is beyond our power to affect change, or control. I have seen fellow workers, children and seniors, all at this point in their lives and seen the agony of the realisation that they are powerless to do anything about the situation in which they have found themselves, and so many people are injured in the process. They take the defeat personal and assume that there is some personal flaw they have, that is preventing them from having the success they think is what should happen. People lose sleep over the apparent failure, some attempt risky doomed attempts, to try and produce an impossible miracle, and many actually change their approach to problem solving because of what often is a pretty small thing.
The first thing you need to do, is objectively look over the actions you have taken and consider the options that are appropriate for you to have tried. Seek some counsel on the issue, with people whom you trust and see if they think you have done all that you can, that is within reason. Above all, avoid desparation, at some point you have to accept the limitations of reality and recognise that you have given the problem your best shot. Since you can't by ordinary means affect change, or control, apply my simple suggestion, make a recommendation. You know what seems like the best course of action is and recommend a suitable course to follow, then it is out of your hands, the situation will either jam up, or perhaps some or all of your recommendation, will make sense and be used in a resolution. One way or another, it no longer is your problem.

I think that most of us over dramaticise the repercussions of single isolated events and we tend to consider things that may arise as consequences, as something on a scale of bad, really bad or horendous. I have been fired on occassion and there have been times when I have been the boss who had to let someone go, and in both cases, the event was considered unpleasant, or unfortunate when if truly evaluated, with the perspective of what happened afterward, I can honestly say, that I have never been fired and it was a bad thing, and I know for certain, those who I have been instrumental in firing, have gone on to much better situations. What a pity I did not know at the time that most things work out well, or even for the bette,r and that if failure results in losing a job, or some dire consequence of that like. it were better to have happened. then to have been caught in the frustration of being powerless.

Quite simply, make your life better by doing the best you can, consider the widest possible range of options, act within the parameters of your role and when you can't get what you want, just make a recommendation.

Photo credits: The images used in this story are the work of Cassandra Shire and were taken over the Caribbean


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Editor : Timothy W. Shire
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