Frustrations In Perspective
A few weeks ago, I had one of those days. You know what I’m talking about. You’re going to a meeting when someone suddenly cuts you off. You decide to grab a quick cup of coffee at Starbucks. Instead of moving at the normal fast pace, the line seems to take forever. Finally getting your coffee, you glance at your watch and think you have just enough time to make it to the meeting. But when you rush back out to your car, you find someone has decided to park behind you. After locating the offending car owner, you are back on your way only to get a phone call asking if you could delay the meeting until tomorrow.
Life’s frustrations. It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily grind and forget what truly matters.
During this particularly frustrating day, I heard something that immediately changed my point of view. Immaculee Ilibagiza was visiting Nashville in a few weeks. Just thinking of her story changed my perspective in an instant.
Do you know her story?
One of the Most Powerful Stories I’ve Ever Heard
Immaculee grew up in Rwanda and had a fairly normal life until 1994 when everything changed. Hutu extremists seized control of power and began a genocide that would rip her world apart. Immaculee hid for 91 days with seven other women in a small bathroom as killers searched for them.
On June 8th, the Atlanta Braves are retiring the jersey of John Smoltz, and naturally when I think John Smoltz, I think about success:
- 21 year major league career
- One of the most beloved men in Atlanta Braves history
- 1995 World Series Champion
- Numerous awards from the Cy Young to the Roberto Clemente
When you talk with John Smoltz, however, it isn’t success he talks about. It’s failure.
He sees failure as:
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The New York Times bestselling author Dan Ariely has a new book, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty. As a fan of his previous books Predictably Irrational and The Upside of Irrationality, I was excited to delve into his new area of research. That new area of research is all about dishonesty, and I guarantee you that it will open your eyes.
It’s easy in today’s society to point to others who are unethical or liars. Watch the news and you can’t miss the new corporate scandal or some form of corruption in government.
Dan’s research shows why we may think it’s okay to lie or cheat. It shows how one lie can build into another, and affect others around us. It shows that none of us can claim perfect honesty. The research then shows what we can do to improve honesty for ourselves and our culture.
About Dan Ariely
Dan Ariely is a Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University. He holds two PhDs, one in business administration and the other in cognitive psychology. His work has been featured in numerous publications from The New York Times to The Wall Street Journal. He has also been a keynote speaker for TEDTalks.
What sparked your interest in dishonesty?
I first became interested in dishonesty after Enron. And the basic question that I asked myself at that point was, what’s a better description of the Enron catastrophe—is it that there are a few bad apples who plan and execute and create some terrible, economic devastation, or is it better described by lots of wishful blindness that is created by lots of sort-of good people.
And the reason I thought this is an important question is because dealing with these two very different types of dishonesty is very, very different. If you think that dishonesty is mostly created by bad apples, then you basically want to change hiring procedures and make sure you won’t hire bad apples.
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Many years ago, I heard Zig Ziglar recommend turning your car into a “rolling university.” He explained that you could listen to motivational seminars, hear great speakers, learn a language, brush up on some sales skills. Really anything you wanted to learn could be one cassette tape away.
I listened to Zig’s advice. (I even have boxes of old cassette tapes in the basement.) Technology has changed, but his advice remains as powerful today as it was then.
My personal habit varies between seminars, news programs, and music. I like to listen to the news, but if that’s all I do, I often arrive at my destination mentally stressed. Seminars and speeches give me additional insights and ideas. If you like audiobooks, what a great opportunity to “read” more books.
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When I was much younger, I was what you would call an extreme extrovert. Myers Briggs showed my “E” was almost as high as you could go. If I went into a small restaurant, I almost felt uncomfortable unless I introduced myself to everyone else in the room. I wanted to know everyone. All of my energy came from other people—listening to their stories, learning what made them who they were.
I married someone who was the complete opposite. My wife was an introvert. We would go to a social event, and I would come home exhilarated while she would be exhausted. It’s not that she didn’t love people. It was just that she tired out around too many people. She needed alone time. She preferred one-on-one versus huge gatherings.
I’ve heard many successful relationships are built on differing qualities. “Opposites attract” is the old saying. If that’s true, the couples I’ve studied who have been together for many years generally start to inherit qualities from each other.