No less a person than Aung San Suu Kyi, the 1991 winner of the Nobel Peace Price, recognized this trait in herself when she said, “I do have a stubborn streak in me.” In her case, she lived a good share of her life under house arrest pursuing the goal of reducing the power of the military in political affairs in Burma. She finally was able to travel to Europe to present her acceptance speech 11 years after receiving the award.
While all leaders must have a bit of stubborn in them, transformational leaders have to possess an especially strong dose; since it’s hard, damn hard to change other people. It’s also hard, doubly darn hard to change yourself. Despite the important of this trait, it remains a mystery to many. All the greats know this, but it seems each generation must learn it anew.
Case Study in Perseverance: Colonel Sanders and Starting KFC
There are a number of time wasters in our lives. Sometimes our boss wastes our time, sometimes screen addiction. But all too often, we waste time thinking about the wrong things. Not only that, but we add to stress loading by worrying about it.
Worry has a positive function (to a degree). After all, if you never thought about dying, one wouldn’t buy life insurance. If you can’t imagine yourself in a car accident, you’re not going to wear your seat belt. On the other hand, getting control is another issue entirely.
Conceptually, this is a simple four-step process:
- Decide what should change
- Determine if you have control
- If control, take action.
- If not control, practice patience.
For example, if you are worried about rabbits eating the carrots in your garden, you have two options: stop worrying about it or build a fence. Seems simple. But this is not the easiest thing to do since one must get control your self-talk.
This article starts the process: a list of ten worry items that people spend too much time thinking about. So go through the list, find one (just one) stressor that you are devoting too much thought to.
Ask, “Is this a legitimate problem?
Follow up with, “Do I have control?”
Finally, ask, “What can I do today to decrease my worry?”
Sounds simple. It is, but it is not. Logically it is, but who said the mind is always logical?
An Ant nimbly running about in the sunshine in search of food came across a Chrysalis that was very near its time of change. The Chrysalis moved its tail, and thus attracted the attention of the Ant, who then saw for the first time that it was alive. “Poor, pitiable animal!” cried the Ant disdainfully. “What a sad fate is yours! While I can run hither and thither, at my pleasure, and, if I wish, ascend the tallest tree, you lie imprisoned here in your shell, with power only to move a joint or two of your scaly tail.”
The Chrysalis heard all this, but did not try to make any reply. A few days after, when the Ant passed that way again, nothing but the shell remained. Wondering what had become of its contents, he felt himself suddenly shaded and fanned by the gorgeous wings of a beautiful Butterfly. “Behold in me,” said the Butterfly, “your much-pitied friend! Boast now of your powers to run and climb as long as you can get me to listen.” So saying, the Butterfly rose in the air, and, borne along and aloft on the summer breeze, was soon lost to the sight of the Ant forever.
Morale of the Story: If you keep changing, you are able to soar to new heights.
Image by: jkadavoor
If you don’t learn how to use time better, someday day you will realize the truth of Shakespeare’s quote, “I wasted time, and now time doth waste me.” Do you wisely use time or does it slip away from you, like trying to hold water in your hands?
The other day, I spent on hour with a organization president who was leaving the organization to go on to new and better things. What was so sad about the conversation, was that 80% of it was about the past, there was almost nothing about the future. This is the case with many, while living in the present they keep reliving the past; and so, in effect, have no future.
To discover whether you have a present, past or future orientation, take this free assessment at:
Take the survey
Below is a one-hour lecture by Philip Zimbardo, a true giant in the field of psychology. By listening, you will discover the details on seven major time orientations: 2 about the past, 3 from the present, and two about the future.
View the video