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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Get 'Bent'

I really have enjoyed the treadmill lately... it's a positive experience for me. Not only do I know I'm doing good things for my body; but it's been really good for my mind as well. Cuts out the distractive noise around me & gives me an hour to focus on ONE thing at a time. (1) Because I DO push myself; I've found that I that ONE thing? Is typically positive in nature, too; because when I think about something that troubles me? It slows me down. Since the whole point is to go faster, push harder, move farther? That's counterproductive to my goal... so, typically, I don't do it.

When I do? This lovely little voice comes on at the mile marker to tell me that I've lost 10 seconds or so a mile. It's like a 'perspective check' for me - what I was doing wasn't working & with a quick paradigm shift, we're back on track. I like that - because it's really very easy to fall into the trap of not realizing that perspectively? We 'get bent' out of shape all the time.

In 2006, my former CFO Nick Turner and I were discussing something. I don't remember EXACTLY what we were talking about; but I know I was pretty passionate about my position (2) & came into the discussion guns a'blazing to make sure that things got righted. Nick, as usual, was excessively patient with me. He listened as we walked back towards his office & after said, "I'm not saying you're wrong; but I will ask... are you open to the possibility that a perspective other than your own might be right?" The question took me aback... I was not & I was honest with him about that. It's one of the few times I think I actually remember him frowning at me (3); but all he said was, "Ok, well get back with me when you're able to open your mind to other points of views & we'll have a discussion." That was it.

I was befuddled then; but I got it after a while... Why wouldn't I be open to the concept that I don't know everything?? Maybe I -was- right... and I still believed I was... but, to not even CONSIDER that maybe I could be fallible? Was patently ridiculous. And while I was cool with being goofy; I wasn't with being ridiculous. That conversation stuck with me & Mr. Turner? I thank you - I've referenced back to that exchange many a time over the years & it's served me well.

So how does this relate to the treadmill? Or 'getting bent,' for that matter?? When you close your mind off to other perspectives; you inhibit your ability to improve as a person. Your view on life, people, experiences literally becomes a little warped, twisted. Your mental & emotional posture 'gets bent' trying to compensate for whatever mental, emotional, or spiritual pains closed you off in the first place. And while there are many 'justifiable' reasons for it (4), it slows you down.... because it's negative. And it just seems like pretty much every time, it's compensation for some previous experiential pain. (5) Net result?? Your 'bent' mental posture slows you down; makes your time on the 'treadmill' of life less productive.

We've all met these people - they're in our friends, neighbors, loved ones, family... sometimes, even ourselves. We're so sure we're right that there's no point in considering that someone else might be, too - that the only correct perspective wasn't our own... or that maybe, we're just wrong. That's a lonely place to be - we just don't live a full life that way. It requires we keep things relatively shallow & since we're closed off, we don't grow as a person. I run into these people more often than most through recruiting; it's just heartbreaking really. On a personal level? Doesn't take much time before most of us are flat worn out by this behavior & suddenly, these people are off our Christmas Card list and we find ourselves getting on the treadmills on the other end of the aisle at the gym rather than next to them as their running buddy, as we used to be. The really sad thing about it is that for those in this 'victimized, narrow-view' mentality? That avoidance makes it worse as they find it to be yet another injustice they need to protect themselves from... & they close their mind off even further. Their time on the treadmill is now that much less positive, that much less effective & those around them get further worn out. It becomes a freakish cycle of pushing & pulling with no comfort to be found until they ultimately HAVE to escape. And you're ok with that because they? Wore your butt clean out. And now you're BOTH missing out/steeped in negativity. That 'Bent' mentality? Is contagious & results in a pretty vicious cycle that can be hard to get out of.

So, for me? I try hard to shoot straight, accept responsibility where I can when I can see it; and remain accountable for setting up checks & balances to maintaining positive behaviors. Some days I do this better than others, I think; but I'd like to think that when it comes to being 'open-minded' to other paradigms & perspectives?? My speed on the treadmill & 'mental posture?' Is just fine. :) (6)

(1) Because that's all I can handle without dying.
(2) What else is new, right?
(3) Although I'm pretty sure I gave him more than one headache (read: or a dozen) over the years
(4) Relational hurts, harsh words, disappointments and family strife, for example, can cause people to react and become ‘bent.’ Subsequently even good things are now viewed with distrust, and misunderstood.
(5) This also relates back to that steamer-trunk of baggage I referenced in my last post... I'm killin' two birds with one stone, folks... :p
(6) Noticed I wrote something along these lines (more about the Eeyore/drama queen personality back in 2008... feel free to check it out, I migrated it & it's just below this post. :) )

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