Pull! Pull! Pull! Use your body weight! Dig in your heels! Don’t give them an inch!
One, Two, Pull. One, Two, Pull. One, Two, Pull.
One last big heave….
A tug of war can be great fun, but have you ever felt that there was a tug-of-war going on inside of you?
Maybe your head said one thing but your heart said something else.
Or maybe you thought to yourself, on one hand, this, but on the other hand that?
Or one part of you thought it’s a good idea but another part thinks it is a bad idea?
Have you ever worked hard towards something that you wanted, only to self-sabotage your own efforts? Ever wondered why?
Well, you are not alone. It is a lot more common than you know.
In the last blog post of the Rainbow of Happiness Series, I wrote about the first
This time around, I want to talk about the second
Systems Thinking Guru (and one of my heroes) Professor Russel Ackoff, liked to use the following example in his lectures. Say you were to drive and test every car that there is and pick the best parts from among them. So, you might pick, the steering of a BMW, the engine of an Audi, the suspension of a Mercedes, the seats of a Lexus …you get the idea. If you then try to make a car from those ‘best’ parts, you will not get the best car, you will not even get a working car for the simple reason that the parts don’t fit together. What you have is a collection of parts. So his point being:
What matters more than the quality of the individual parts of a system is how the parts interact with each other.
Over 15 years ago, I went for a training course and was introduced to a concept called Parts Integration. The general idea is that when we were born, we had a sense of self that was whole, but as we go through our life and we undergo traumatic events, disappointments, setbacks and negative experiences, these causes our sense of self to fracture into parts. These fractured parts sometimes forget that they are part of the larger whole and start to run their own agendas and programs. So, for example, someone who suffers a failure in one area might hear an inner voice telling him or her not to try something else so that they will not suffer failure again. Thus, they never try in the first place, or they are not committed in their efforts. The irony is that these fractured parts all think they are operating in our best interest. It is a bit like a company meeting where the Marketing Manager wants to increase spending to boost revenue while the Accounting Manager wants to cut cost. They are both looking after the company’s interests, although if you were in that meeting, it might seem like they were working for different companies.
The concept went on to say that to resolve the situation the fractured parts needed to be integrated into the larger whole. A trained expert practitioner is required to conduct such a process, but I will outline the principles behind the process. So you have two parts, each part is asked in turn why it is doing what it is doing, and then why again and again. The aim is to get to a point where there is a common purpose. So for example, one part might say, I don’t want her to do that because I don’t want her to fail because I don’t want her to get disappointed because I want her to be happy. While the other part might say, I want her to do it because it will really benefit her, because it will help her grow as a person, because she will become more resilient, because it will help her be happy. So, once the common ground has been established (the desire for her to be happy in the example), then this common ground is used to bring the two parts together and ultimately reunite the two parts. There is a saying, All Roads lead to Rome, which means that you can reach the same result by different means. What is important is to focus on the common ground or common objective of the parts.
The different parts inside you are all acting in your interest, they just don’t know that they ultimately want the same thing for you on another level.
An interesting side-note is that though the foregoing was related to parts within oneself, I have actually used the principles outlined above many times to successfully resolve conflicts in teams that I have led or worked in. It is also consistent with my study of Negotiation back in Business School.
In order to align their staff, who have disparate backgrounds, views, and motives, many companies establish a Vision and Mission. This focuses the minds and efforts of their staff on a common purpose. In fact, many self-improvement gurus and coaches encourage their students to develop their own vision and mission. They also stress the importance of having goals and writing them down.
When I was young, my grandfather always used to quote Sir Francis Bacon to me:
Reading maketh a Full man, Conference a Ready man, and Writing an Exact man
It is important to write down our Vision, Mission, and Goals as this gives it exactness and good definition. The more exact our definition the greater the likelihood that we can
We should also be clear about why we want to achieve a particular goal. Why do we want to achieve this goal and how does it relate to our Vision and Mission. This gives us context and allows us to
For the sports fans, among you, you will know that one of the biggest sporting stories of 2016 was the fairy-tale English Premier League (football/soccer) title win of 5000-1 outsiders Leicester City. It was an amazing story that a team whose transfer market value of its individual players was a small fraction of some of the big clubs it was competing against, managed to pull off such a feat. What was clear to everyone was that the Leicester City players last season were all united as a team and thus their resultant team effort was many times more than the sum of the individual efforts of the players. Unfortunately, this season is such a contrast to last season. The Leicester City team can’t seem to do much right, they are a pale shadow of last season’s title-winning team and struggle to win a game. It can be argued, that in terms of individual players, they are actually better off this season than last season. What seems to be missing is oneness of purpose, they are playing as individuals rather than as a team, and what a difference it makes and how different the results it produces. It clearly illustrates the importance of having a common purpose and having all parts working together in harmony.
I would like to share with you something that I went through recently. I did an exercise in which I was asked to write down what my perfect day would be like. I had to assume that there was no money, time or other constraints. Writing down in the present tense with as much detail as possible what I do, what I see, what I hear and what I feel. It was a very liberating exercise. The first insight that I got out of the exercise was that many of the things in my perfect day, I can actually do now, there wasn’t really anything holding me back. Think about it. What’s holding us back from spending more quality time with our family and loved ones? What’s stopping us from personal development and
The more you live of your perfect day, the more alive, motivated and happy you become.
So to wrap up this week’s post, achieving Internal Alignment is a key ingredient of Happiness as is having a clear sense of purpose. The 3 tips for improving Internal Alignment and a having Clear Sense of Purpose are:
- The different parts inside you are all acting in your interest, they just don’t know that they ultimately want the same thing for you on another level. If you find yourself split or divided about something, use multiple
whysto establish the common ground between the parts and focus on the common ground.
- Reading maketh a Full man, Conference a Ready man, and Writing an Exact man. Write down your personal Vision, Mission in Life and Your Goals including why you want to achieve them.
- The more you live your perfect day, the more alive, motivated and happy you become. Write down what your Perfect Day would be like if there were no constraints. What can you already do now? Slowly assimilate more and more of your perfect day into your life each day.
I hope this blog post has been of value to you.
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Rainbow of Happiness Series