Pride and resentment: the unseen cancer

A grateful heart is a beginning of greatness. It is an expression of humility. It is a foundation for the development of such virtues as prayer, faith, courage, contentment, happiness, love, and well-being. James E. Faust

Although I may not outwardly appear so as much as I should, I am deeply grateful for my loving wife, who has stood beside me for thirty years, through the good, the bad and the really ugly.

I am grateful for our three children, who grew up to make us very proud. Their success was not in becoming financially stable, all three of them struggle, but in their character, the moral compass each developed on their own and their empathy for others. They each developed character traits that would even make a curmudgeon like Mark Twain proud.

I am grateful for the many wonderful people I had the pleasure of meeting. While there are many I would turn my back on, there are many, including a few here, that I would be happy to call friend.

But I am not grateful to certain things that in reflection, I ought to be. I should be grateful to the two individuals who brought me into this world. For too long I’ve held resentment for how my siblings and I were treated by them, for bringing ten children into a loveless and abusive environment.

I supposed the resentment has been like a cancer spreading. It’s there, but unseen, yet doing damage nonetheless. By the time the damage is seen it’s usually too late. They are both gone now, the last one just a few weeks ago. I need to let go of the resentment, and be grateful for the fact they did bring me, and the others, into this world and did make an effort, no matter how small.

But I’m not as humble as I should be. I used to think I was much smarter than many others. When I made the decision at Citigroup to blow the whistle, I leaned on my pride. Let them retaliate, I’m much smarter than they are and will do just well, I reasoned.

I little bit of humility would have gone a long way. It turned out they really are much smarter than I am and proved it. I still stand behind my decision, but I would have taken better measures to make sure I didn’t lose everything if not for my swollen sense of self.

It is amazing how humble one gets when seeing a zero balance in your bank balance and nothing in sight to change it. That is what I saw a few hours ago, and it’s beyond humbling, it opens your eyes to reality: I am nowhere near as smart or as capable as almost everyone else I’ve met.

Some resentment is still there. I still blame others at Citigroup for making it impossible for me to find a job and for putting me into this position.

Understanding comes slow, but it is coming: They did not do this to me, I did this to myself. They are who they’ve always been and I’m the one who made the choice to speak out. I could have walked away, but that would have caused regrets later on and is not the behavior I wanted my children to follow. So I need to take responsibility for what happened.

My wife sent me this quote because she still sees signs of pride and resentment. She is the doctor who saw my cancer. This quote is her prescription for curing me, and it is working.

Some of you already know, but Omar Kiam is my pen name. I did it because I published two business books under my real name and wanted to keep this side of me separate from that side. I had thought the books (The art of process improvement and The command center handbook) would carry us through the difficult times, but that didn’t happen.

As a step in the right direction, I will reach out for help, accepting the fact that I’m really not as smart or as capable as I thought I was.

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Get over it, it’s time to move on

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.
Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.
It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes,
than what others think or say or do.

It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.
It will make or break a company… a church… a home.
The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding
the attitude we will embrace for that day.

We cannot change our past… we cannot change the
fact that people will act in a certain way.
We cannot change the inevitable.

The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…
I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.
And so it is with you…
we are in charge of our attitudes.” Attitude by Charles Swindoll

As another year comes to a close these words ring so true. No matter what happens in life, the hardships we endure or the moments of glory, nothing defines and molds us like the attitude we embrace after each hardship or moment of glory.

Some people take the attitude that everyone and everything in the world is against them. Others take the attitude they are owed something, that they have been deprived growing up and now are due a reward. They’ve suffered more than everyone else as a child and expect a reward for what they had endured. Some even take the attitude they were placed in this world to face one hardship after another and no matter what they do, they were never meant to be happy.

To move forward you need to leave the past behind. You need to leave any grudges behind. No matter how much you suffered in the past, no matter how many hardships you’ve come to face, a positive attitude going forward will make all the difference in the world.

To move forward you must let go of the past. You need to get over what may have been a horrendous experience and move on, not to forget it, but to acknowledge that what happened is in the past. Don’t look for blame, reasons why, regrets, or pity. Let your mind be a sponge that absorbs everything and lets it go at the appropriate time.

If you usher in the new year with the attitude that you alone control your destiny, miracles will happen. Instead of waiting for things to come to you , or for others to take you with them, lead yourself to where you need to be.

What separates the happy from the miserable is their attitude. Their outlook on life, their drive to make things happen, and their lack of self pity. Get over your disappointments, your letdowns, your poor upbringing, your broken heart and let a positive attitude lead you to where you want to be.

Happy New Year

It’s All About Attitude

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“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” Thomas Jefferson

Many times in life the difference between failure and success is determined by a person’s attitude. The business dictionary defines attitude in this manner:

A predisposition or a tendency to respond positively or negatively towards a certain idea, object, person, or situation. Attitude influences an individual’s choice of action, and responses to challenges, incentives, and rewards (together called stimuli).

A person’s attitude, when faced with a certain idea, object, person or situation goes through several stages.

The first stage is immediate effect: feelings and emotions at the moment.

The second is comprehension. How is the situation being interpreted?

Third is inclination to act. Does the situation inspire action?

Fourth is final evaluation of the situation. Is the situation seen as something positive or negative?

These can happen in the blink of an eye or may take days or weeks.

Having the right mental attitude simply means one is able to go through each of these steps in a calm and rational manner. Each stage is digested and thought out. Too much weight or emphasis on one stage will have an impact on the final outcome. Too much emotion in the first stage means that the second stage, comprehension of the situation, becomes compromised or negatively impacted. When that happens, the final evaluation and corresponding feelings or actions will then be based on flawed information, causing one to act in a manner that may do more harm than good.

Having the right mental attitude simply means that someone can go through these stages calmly and intelligently without letting emotions distort their judgment. When a person performs these steps rationally, actions will be based on thoughtful analysis, increasing the likelihood for achieving specific goal.

Having the wrong attitude, usually caused by emotion or a certain disposition in your head thereby clouding a rational interpretation of each stage, will make it difficult to reach goals. In other words, without a clear head to analyze any given situation, it will be almost impossible to achieve success.

Scratch your back with nothing in return? You’ve gotta be kidding

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“Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.” George Sand

It is very unfortunate that many will scratch your back only for the expectation that you will scratch theirs in return. They may have a long line of back scratchers waiting, but over time, they will have no fingers left to scratch other peoples backs. They are useful only while scratching and get abandoned when others no longer need their back scratched.

Human kindness is becoming a rare commodity. One has to look far and wide to find kindness within a person, simply for the sake of it, with no expectation of anything in return. But there are many still out there who will scratch your back simply because it itches.

For those who still have this trait within them, guard it well and use it often. It is a trait worth treasuring. It is a trait which puts one in the same league as angels.

To be kind means to give to those who are in need without pausing to ask “what do I get back in return?” It means to help someone simply because they need help which we are able to provide.

To show kindness means being a valiant winner and loser. It means you are gracious when you lose. You give the winner a sincere smile, the same type of smile you would like to see when you win.

Many say that in order to succeed one has to be tough, mean, driven and unforgiving, showing no signs of mercy.  Those are the ones who would never give you a lending hand unless there was something in it for them. More people have succeeded who practiced kindness than brute force of will. More people are remembered for their kindness to others rather than for how much they acquired.

It is possible to acquire what one needs while showing kindness to others. Those are the people who are looked up to and admired.

When you show kindness you get kindness back in return. When you don’t show any kindness, people will walk all over you, approach you with false promises and will help you only when it benefits them.

Always practice kindness and with time, you will be treated with kindness in return no matter where you turn.

(Back Scratch by ~Lelpel on deviantART)