Rule: Respond intelligently even to the unintelligent.
How do you get to the point where you are almost impervious to petty personal attacks—either real or perceived? You have to practice responding rather than reacting with every opportunity. With each successful application you gain a victory over your ego. Each small victory will build upon the next, until this behavior pattern manifests itself and becomes apparent in your character.
Our wise old friend Lao Tzu offers helpful words on how to stay focused and learn to accept and deal with whatever type of person or situation is in front of you.
“We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we’ve already done.” — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in my life is the importance of being undeniable. My father introduced this concept to me when I was in the seventh grade. I was playing in an intramural baseball game and, in a very close play, was called out at second base by the umpire. I thought I was safe and let the umpire know it. My dad, who was watching the game, didn’t like seeing his son argue with an umpire, no matter how briefly.
During the drive home, I complained about how the umpire was “blind” and how I should have been called safe. My dad, very calmly and deliberately, interrupted, “You didn’t deserve it.”
I have to admit I was more than a bit upset that my own father seemed to be taking the side of the ump. I said, “What do you mean I didn’t deserve it? I was safe and he called me out. I was right and he was wrong.”
You might try to deny it, but all of us are guilty of denial in our lives and mostly to our detriment.
Denial is often rooted in fear – fear of facing or accepting some reality – often a reality that brings about unwelcome change. But denial does so much harm to our personal and professional growth and development, and even to our health, that I’d like to take another opportunity to discuss it.
I recently spoke with well-respected psychoanalyst and psychiatrist (and my good friend) Dr. Stefan Pasternack on the subject of denial at the recent American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) conference in New York. Stef and I were catching up on our lives, which brought us to a discussion of our health and the health of our loved ones. This prompted Stef to remark on the ability for people with heart disease or high cholesterol to manage their condition rather effectively with prescription drugs, as well as with healthy diet and exercise options. In other words, much of what we know about heart disease now, whether it is hereditary or not, can be managed pretty effectively with a competent doctor and a willing patient.
Reaching the age of 100 is a remarkable achievement for any human. No matter how many years I have left, I hope to demonstrate the same love and commitment to my craft that I had the privilege of experiencing in a truly remarkable man, Martin Bergmann. The world lost a great mind when Martin died on January 22, 2014, less than a month shy of his 101st birthday. Martin Bergmann was a psychoanalyst, an author and an educator. If you’ve seen Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors, then you’ve seen him in action (more about that later).
“Everyone in life can be our teacher, but not everyone is a master. A master is someone whose life embodies whatever it is you seek.” — Joe Caruso, The Power of Losing Control (Chapter 9)
Martin was a man I highly respected for his work in psychoanalysis. Thanks to my good friends Dr. Curtis Bristol and Dr. Todd Davison, I was blessed to know Martin Bergmann personally. By studying his writing and through our personal meetings and discussions, I made him my master. A great man. A great analyst. A unique mind.
Principles for Profit #40: If the horse is dead, get off.
Do you anticipate change, or try to bury it, deny it, or ignore it?
If you’ve ever watched a surfer—or been one yourself—you’ll know that your only chance to ride the curl rather than end up sucking the sand is to anticipate the changes in those waves and make the constant adjustments that are necessary if you’re to maintain your balance. You know you have no control over the water, but you do have the power to respond to its ever-changing patterns in ways that will allow you to continue riding high.
Joe recently took his studies of the simple, common, timeless human truths to Amsterdam and China. The mission of Caruso Leadership is to effectively help other people achieve their goals…and enjoy the process. Studying cultures brings invaluable insights as to how we function and communicate as humans. Studying the past also reveals keys to the our potential success or failure.
How Do You Spend Your Time? (Part II) Don’t Let Fear Limit That Choice
I’ve spoken before about how, as humans, we have an incredible capacity to get in our own way and as a result, can be guilty of limiting our own potential. I recently came across another story that reminded me of how easy it is to limit our own potential, and to possibly miss out on great things in life and discoveries in and about ourselves.
As you consider your current commitments, how you choose to spend your time, and what you want to do with your remaining time, here’s a story for you.