Attitude 2 and 3 – There is No Failure Only Feedback, People Are Not Their Behaviours

Continuing this series of articles about five attitudes that will change your leadership style, business, and life, here, we will consider:

2. There is no failure, only feedback

3. People are NOT their behaviours

There is no failure, only feedback

Remember that the attitude you portray outwardly is a result of your inner state. You might like to think of your inner state as a feeling. Most often, our state is described by a ‘feeling’ word: angry, happiness, joyful, accepted, guilty, peaceful for example.

If you genuinely believe that you are focusing on your target and you align yourself correctly, and yet you push the ball, or pull the ball away from the line of target. What do you do? Berate yourself for slicing or hooking? Bad move! Welcome the opportunity to learn what it was that you did, because there is going to come a shot where you want to hook it, or slice it around a tree? Excellent!

Learn from it – take joy in learning something.

If it’s a consistent problem for you… then you can choose, go get some instruction from a good pro to improve your technique, learn how to re-align yourself to compensate (not so good but Gary Player had a peculiar swing to compensate for his clubs), or – very rarely – get your clubs fixed.

If per chance you go to a pro who immediately tells you that you need a new set of clubs, then go elsewhere – it may be true (you can always go back later) but an expensive driver does not a golfer make.

Think back to our car driving analogy – you’ve seen someone driving a Ferrari badly and someone else driving a Toyota very well? Of course it’s always worth checking your clubs for dints and dents, even Toyota’s break down (yeah but less often than Ferraris!) Of course anyone from that esteemed motor company that would like to prove the reliability of their vehicles on a personal level – I’m very happy to accept the challenge.

People are not their behaviours

There are some fundamental needs that drive our attitudinal behaviours. Here I’d like to pick up on one aspect of motivation that can radically change behaviour. There are some real big changes in someone’s life that result in a major shift in mindset and I’ll briefly discuss them here, then move onto the more commonly experienced change that changes behaviours.

Two big needs for human beings are the need for survival and the need for security. When an individual’s survival is at stake – their behaviour will change dramatically if necessary to ensure survival. The most compelling stories of survival are of women finding themselves able to lift trucks off their run-over child. Threaten our survival and our fear kicks into play. fear – unlike anger – is an emotion and state that has a perfectly good chemical system working in our body to rely on. This does not mean irrational fear – fear that is unnecessary such as phobias – but fear that threatens survival. This we need to keep – just in case.

The second big need that can cause massive behaviour change is security. If our security is threatened (extrapolate to survival) most people will fight to defend it. War is the classic example of this – when your homeland is invaded, your prior acceptance of the invader is quickly dispelled and many people are prepared to kill if necessary to protect their security. For those of you who might like to take me to task on this, I can be absolutely certain that your own security has never been threatened.

Human beings share a need to belong. We all have a desire to feel accepted and of worth to our society (as in our social circle extending for many to society at large.) From early childhood, we have an in-built need for acceptance and connection with other humans – we are social animals. We want love and caring from our parents, our friends, our family. We crave ‘fitting-in’ at school or at work with our peer group.

Without such acceptance and connection in our group – we will seek it elsewhere. For a few, they seek that acceptance alone – might seem odd to some of you, but on your own, your mind creates its own group – and sometimes even they don’t accept you. For others, they will seek acceptance in other groups – well like joining a golf club for instance – here you meet and socialise and play with people who share something in common with you… they play golf. If you take a quick tour of your closest friends and associates you’ll find there’s even more in common. This is why people join gangs – especially those who find little or no acceptance in their families. Keeping in the gang becomes increasingly important – and gangs – especially gangs of youths earn themselves a bad reputation in greater society because they consistently cross the values of that greater society – they pitch themselves against it to form a stronger bonding between the members. It doesn’t excuse bad behaviour, but it partially explains it. So, a little aside, if you have kids or family members who’re members of a notorious gang – you can do something about it – and I don’t mean tell them! I mean show them you care and accept them for who they are and their values. I digress, but some of these snippets have changed peoples lives dramatically.

Our need to belong is profound. Our understanding of this is important in developing our maturity as a person. You have your own needs for acceptance and connection. This includes your work and your golf. Not to be taken lightly, your needs are part of the reason for playing golf at all. If you play badly, your own sense of self worth is hurt – play too badly and your friends may not want to continue playing with you, play too well and the same may be true. If your connection with your friends is important to you, you’ll play to keep in with the group.

Let me tell you about my squash group of friends. I play squash – not terribly well and not terribly either. I play it for the social reasons I’ve suggested above and for exercise. I enjoy the game, it’s very different to golf and I hate to go jogging – so it sort of fits for me. After playing regularly every Sunday morning before Church for several years, I decided that I was getting fed-up of being beaten in sets – I was worried that my friends would tire of easily beating me – that I wasn’t enough competition to maintain their interest. So I took some lessons from the club pro. Fantastic, pushed my stamina levels much higher, lengthened my stride and strengthened my wrist-play (did not, by the way help my golf swing rather dented it for a while!) We continued to play for a few weeks and then one by one, my friends couldn’t make our regular game. Just as I was beginning to win! I was upset for a while – and rapidly gaining weight (compensation?) You see, it turned out that far from my friends being insufficiently challenged by my play, they enjoyed it… I was that one person they could regularly beat. Oh well. I have new squash friends now – ones that enjoy being challenged and enjoy challenging and want to improve themselves. As for the old group? Well I too have a need to belong, to be accepted, to be connected but I’m buggered if I’m going to sink to the level of playing a crap game for someone else’s ego… maturity (?) with a little childishness for good measure?

There’s a need for us to belong, but there’s also a need for us to maintain our ‘self-worth’. If the two are in conflict, one will win over the other. When you allow your self-worth to be dictated by others – you have just lost control of your destiny.

When you were younger, you succeeded at something – possibly something sports related. You did well and this helped you find a sense of ‘self’. This in turn, helped you strengthen your self-image. Doubtless there were other activities that weakened your self-image. It’s quite likely that those activities that increased your self-image are things you remember fondly and continue to do. Those that harmed your sense of self-image, you recall less than fondly, and probably don’t continue. If you do, you’ve possibly just realised why you’re unhappy.

And there’s the rub. If your peer group doesn’t accept you, doesn’t connect with you – this causes distress which will manifest itself in some behaviour – usually negative behaviour. The more problematic aspect of this is that it is not whether your peer group accepts you or connects with you. It is whether you perceive that they do or do not that matters.

Your perception = your reality.

Copyright (c) 2008 GainMore Advantage