Nothing lasts forever.
Why did I have to start with such a grim introduction?
Well, it’s because most of us fail to face this reality and this forces us to get stuck in the current, unpleasant reality.
I am not qualified to give any sort of advice – financial, legal, emotional, psychological, spiritual, etc.
I also got a lot of inspiration from the book Necessary Endings by Dr Henry Cloud as well as the summary of this book on the site www.studyleadership.com
The universe was made for things to end. Nothing lasts forever. Not even the bad stuff. Plants start as seeds, grow, mature and then move to the world beyond (or just die and get thrown in the ground. I was trying to sound philosophical here).
Endings are necessary, but the problem is that we don’t do that well. We either avoid the endings or we do such a terrible job that the relationship (business, personal, etc) gets filled with absolute hatred.
Pruning is a necessary part of life. The book gives a lovely example of a rosebush. A rosebush produces more buds than it can sustain. Yep. You read that right. It produces more stuff than it can keep alive. In order for the rosebush to not only survive but thrive, the gardener needs to cut of branches and buds that:
- Are healthy but are not the best ones
- Are sick and don’t show any signs of getting better
- Are dead and taking up space for the healthy ones
Pruning is a process that needs to be done because of this one word. Sustainability. If you are doing anything that cannot continue because the source (you) is being depleted or damaged (financially, physically or emotionally), then it needs to be ended. If not, you are the one who will face the ending. Ending of good health.
Pruning applies to various aspects of our lives. Here are a few examples:
You will produce more ideas in your life than you can go after. Prune them.
You will have more friends/acquaintances than you can manage. Prune them.
You will have more product lines/business ventures than you can afford to keep alive. Prune them.
In order to make pruning less difficult here is one key thing you need to accept. Life has cycles and seasons. There is Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring. There is a time to start and a time to stop. It’s okay to let go. Winners never quit but people who never quit never win.
Is pruning difficult?
You bet it is! Think of the first time you got your teeth pulled out. That was pain. But because you faced that pain, your mouth feels amazing right now. That’s pruning for you. Pruning will give you positive pain and this will help free up your future.
Key message: Not all pain is bad.
But wait! How do we end up in situations that force us to make necessary endings?
That’s a good question. Here’s what Dr Henry Cloud has to say:
- Having an abnormally high pain threshold
Some of us are so used to getting pain and this forces us to see pain as being normal. This then forces us to stay in situations that we must have ended a long time ago. Sound familiar?
- Covering for others
This is for the firstborns. Some people grew up being the responsible one and they feel that it all depends on them. They take too much responsibility for others. They don’t end things when they should.
- Ending means I failed
This is the biggest lie fed to us by motivational speakers. There is great wisdom in identifying what’s working and identifying what’s not. Winners know when to quit. If it’s not working my dear, quit. It’s ok.
- Misunderstood Loyalty
Loyalty is not infinite. It must not include taking responsibility for someone else’s life (like not making a decision that would be good for them but requires the other person to take some responsibility for the outcome).
- Codependent Mapping
It is harmful to take responsibility for helping other people to avoid pain (unless if the person is suicidal and wants to end their life). It is not loving or supporting.
But maputi! Tell me! How can I tell whether there is hope or not?
Hope is a beautiful thing. It is also a terrible thing.
Hope buys time. That is good because hope buys us time to let the other person improve, but it’s bad because it buys us time to lie to ourselves that the other person is improving.
Let’s see what Dr Henry Cloud has to say about this.
The past is the best predictor of the future. When you go to CABS and ask for a loan they do not look at how hopeful or enthusiastic you are to pay them back. They look at your past performance in paying people back (credit what what) and then they know what to expect you to do in the future.
You may say “That’s UNFAIR! That’s in the past, and I CHANGED!”
This may be true, but there needs to be a mighty good reason to believe that someone is going to do better.
Without any good reason to believe differently, the past is the best predictor of the future.
I have a burning question. Just imagine if you had a horror movie where everyone is actually smart. How would it be like?
Ok. time to go back to the story.
Take past performance and project it into the future
- Do I want this same reality, frustration, or problem 6 months from now?
- Do I want this same level of performance a year from now?
If the answer is no, then it is time to ask other questions:
- What reason is there to have hope that tomorrow is going to be different?
- What in the picture is changing that I can believe in?
Look at the people you are dealing with. Look at the real person not the person you wish them to be.
Ask yourself the following difficult questions:
- Is there a reason to expect them to act a certain way?
- Do they have a history of being dependable, creative, and of following through?
- If I’m expecting them to act differently, why?
- Is there any objective reason for that other than my intense desire for them to change?
Wise, Foolish and Evil people
People in life fall into one of those 3 categories.
These are people who can receive feedback, and if you equip them with the right resources, they can learn from the experience and make adjustments.
These people see the light when it is shone upon them and they make adjustments. With these people, there is hope
Foolish people completely reject feedback, resist it, explain it away and do nothing about it. The fool adjusts the truth so that he or she does not have to adjust to it.
Here’s a fascinating fact: It’s very hard to identify fools without using the above described method.
Fools are usually the smart 15 “A” students, the charming girl/guy, the barman that everyone loves, the manager that outsiders find to be quite pleasant, etc.
How do you deal with a fool?
Talking does not work. Instead set limits that stop the damage of their refusal to change.
Fools also understand the language of consequences. Give consequences that will cause them to feel the pain of their choice not to listen.
Some people are hurricanes. They exist just to mess up your life. With these people, you use Lawyers, Guns (Law Enforcement) and Money.
No More Mr Bad Guy
Endings are hard because nobody wants to be the bad guy. The great thing about endings is that you can allow the other person to make a decision.
If the person has a toxic behavior, this is the part where maturity comes in. Put your feelings aside, and communicate objectively. Be specific – identify exactly what about their behavior is unpleasant, why you say it is unpleasant, how it affects them, and how it affects you.
Then give them a deadline. A realistic deadline. A deadline that also isn’t too generous.
Let them decide for themselves.
Here’s a marvelous example.
Bhorongi Bharangizha is a computer programmer working for Zama Zama Investments. The manager, Mr Tichakuyanebadza is worried about Bhorongi’s complete lack of dedication to work.
After meditating on the situation quite deeply, Mr Tichakuyanebadza invites Bhorongi to his office.
Bhorongi : “Morning Mudhara Tidza. Bla Tinoz said you wanted us to chit chat. Are you promoting me?”
Mr Tichakuyanebadza : “Have a seat Bhorongi”
[Walks and closes his door]
“You see Bhorongi, I want to talk to you about your position. The kind of person I want has basic manners and etiquette, puts time and energy into his work, achieving at least 5 bugs per 500 lines of code, collaborates with his teammates, sharing his work with them in a timely fashion. Right now, you are not that person Bla Bhoro. I would love you to be, and I hope you choose to become that person. But that is up to you. I want you to think about it and let me know if you want to and what your plan is to become that kind of person. I’ve given you a 1-week unpaid leave to go and process this conversation”
Bhorongi has the option to shape in or ship out. It’s his choice to change and stay or to join the unemployed guys.
Endings are like injections. They totally suck, but you need them. I hope you found this useful. If you did, then please do download the article using this link and share it with your friends and family.
That’s all folks ! see you next week Wednesday!!!
Psst! Yes, I’m talking to YOU!
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