Compare this with what a 24 year old quipped, “I wish to sculpt my body to be beautiful, agile and strong I want to work smart and get there avoiding all the pain”. Similarly, few months ago a friend posted on FB that, “It is an irony of human nature that sometimes we take so much pleasure to go through pain!” commenting about someone having completed a triathlon or other such effort of human endurance. He ended the note with a resolve “From now on, I’m going to volunteer only for joy and pleasure!!”
My colleague’s response to the CEO, my reaction to the 24 year old youngster and some of the readers’ reactions to the FB posts carried common threads; that not every overt pain is truly painful and that many a times the pleasure underlying the transiting pain is more rewarding. Like, when one runs a marathon she’s not shopping for pain, rather looking for joy which eclipses the pain of every aching muscle into a sweet reminder of the passion, the pursuit and the resilience to transcend beyond the known comforts.
It appears that the pursuing Aristotelian quip, “The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain” has crippled many among us and made them lead sub-optimal lives; sometimes bringing our lives to standstill. Idioms such as ‘don’t upset apple cart’ or ‘don’t rock the boat’ appear to have become entrenched beliefs in the psyche of many a leaders.
In our consulting practice when we encounter situations like these, we know that for this leader or organization to truly unlock their potential, they will have to transcend pain. Often the very first step for us is to catalyze ‘confidence building’ in that leader. Upfront we admit and establish that ‘we cannot eliminate pain’; just as our family physician had said years ago, when I took my adolescent son complaining of body pains, labeling those as ‘growth pains’. Likewise, consultants cannot eliminate the pains of growth; we can convert it into a pleasurable experience by facilitating the organizational muscles to develop an attitude of ‘celebrating stretch’, by preparing organizational bones to endure aches akin to an athlete anticipating to successfully completing a marathon. Just as the bones & body of a couch potato decay at a faster pace, similarly, the organizational leaders who haven’t learnt to ‘rock the boat’ cannot hope to cross the ocean that by very nature carries the waves of possibility.
Wishing you all a happy 2017. Hope you find the confidence to get onto a boat that may sometimes rock in your pursuit to cross the ocean. Hope twenty seventeen helps you to discover the resilience and fortitude to turn up the boat even when it tumbles, as sometimes it will.