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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When others make you angry, they own you!

“He who angers you conquers you.” Elizabeth Kenny

When you let someone make you angry, you’re letting them take control over you. You’re giving them absolute power over you. You become like Pavlov’s dog. They know what to say to make you angry, and can do it on demand.

Have you ever seen a successful person angry? It is very rare. It is extremely difficult to become successful if you go around letting others control and manipulate you, which is what happens when you let them make you angry.

Anger causes the brain to stop functioning normally. Your brain becomes focused on the anger, nothing else matters to you, except to get back at the person who made you angry.

Want to know how to stop letting people manipulate and control you? Don’t get angry. If you can’t help yourself, if anger is part of your life, go see a therapist. Go to an anger management session. Do whatever you have to in order to manage your anger.

When you get angry, you let others have the advantage over you. Even if you beat them to a bloody pulp, their wounds will heal, but you may end up losing your job, in jail or with a very expensive lawsuit. In the end, they will come out ahead. The satisfaction of physically assaulting them goes away very quickly when they smile at you the next time you see them, knowing they were the reason you were fired or went to jail.

If you’re in an office environment and get angry, that’s even worse. It means the end of your chances for advancement. Some people looking to get ahead will do anything to eliminate their competition. If you are their competition, and they know they can make you angry, they will chose a moment when senior managers are watching to make you angry.

Rather than get angry, get smart. Use their strategy against them. Count to ten if you have to, but rather than responding with an angry remark, wait, calm down, then respond with a well thought out response.

Never, ever, write a letter, memo, email, facebook update or tweet when you’re angry. Wait until you’re calm, and then write it. When done writing, don’t send it right away. Wait a little longer, then go back and read it. In the end, you may find the need to send it will go away, or that the message needs to be toned down a little more.

When you can control your anger, you regain full control over yourself. Respond to anger with kindness and you’ll gain the upper hand over someone else.

If you want to succeed in life, manage your anger. If the part of your brain which controls anger and reasoning is missing, all is not lost. Take up fighting.

 

My life sucks!

“Self pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.”  John Gardner

Recent conversation:
“Why do you drink”
“Because sometimes my life sucks and it makes me feel good”
“Why does it suck?”
“Because Dave ruined our plans”

When you say your life sucks, you’re giving in to self pity. You’re finding temporary pleasure in the belief that your predicament is the fault of someone else.

When you take a drink or get high because it makes you feel good and lets you forget for a little while how badly your life sucks, you’re wallowing in self pity.

Self pity is a destructive and addictive euphoria. It’s so easy to let self pity engulf every last bit of hurt within you until you feel nothing but pleasure.  Sometimes drinking or getting high helps bring on these feelings even quicker.

When you wallow in self pity, you’ve resigned yourself to the fact that you’re unhappy with your life as it is, and that there’s nothing you can do to change it.

But self pity feels so good. It let’s you put all of the blame for what ails you onto others. At the beginning there may even be someone else with you, with the same feelings of defeat.  Getting high off of each others self pity is like a cocaine high.

The most destructive aspect of self pity is that your thought processes stop cold. You’re incapable of looking for solutions to the reasons why your life sucks. In your mind, the fault lies with those around you, so there is no solution.

Thinking back on why your life sucks, if the answers begin with ‘he’ or ‘she’, you’ve found the source of your problem. You’re letting others control your life. You should NEVER EVER let someone else control your destiny. If something someone else is doing is having a negative affect on your life, on your dreams or your happiness, that’s your fault. You control your own life, and if what they’re doing is having a negative impact on you, it’s up to you to find a solution.

“But my life would have been perfect if he only did this one thing.” You have to accept the fact that throughout your entire life, others will do things that ruin your plans. You can either wallow in self pity your entire life, or accept the fact that these things will happen. Once you accept that fact, you can begin looking for solutions, for ways to make your life perfect even if he didn’t do that one thing.

You control your destiny. You can make of your life whatever you set your mind to. If someone stands in your way, get that person out of the picture. Don’t dwell on it, but act and act quickly. When you blame someone else, you’re saying that they are in control of your life and that you’re helpless to do anything about it. You are accepting defeat.

As long as you have a mind which you can control, your abilities are limitless. Your mind can work miracles. When faced with problems, your thoughts should include ‘I’ or ‘Me’.  What can I do to fix this? It is up to me to fix things.

Wallowing in self pity is a copout. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, get off your butt and do something to make your life better. This may come as a surprise, but no one else is going to feel sorry for you, or do things to make your life better. In fact, quite the opposite, most people will try to make sure your fail, so they can feel better about their own failures.

Stop blaming others for your failures. That’s another copout. It’s easy to say you failed because of someone else. The truth of the matter is that you failed because of your own inaction. Don’t put yourself in a position to be controlled by what someone else does or doesn’t do. If they don’t do what they are supposed to, move on, don’t wait forever. They will do what’s best for them, not what’s best for you. If you want to be happy, take control of your life and your environment.

Get off of your butt and do something! You’ll get an even better high when you succeed!

There’s no room for anger and bitterness if you’re reaching for the stars

“Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.”  Maya Angelou

Bitter, angry people are vile hateful creatures who drain the life out of anyone who goes near them. Bitterness is a disease, like cancer, which eats away at your soul.

Anger is even worse. You can’t focus or think clearly when your angry. While bitterness slowly eats away at your soul, anger is instantaneous. Anger allows you to do things which you’ll regret for the rest of your life. Anger shuts down your thinking and reasoning process, allowing you to kill your soul in an instant. The angry father hits his son. The angry mother shakes her baby. The angry lover has a one night fling.

Leave anger and bitterness to the parasites of the world. Leave it to those who are so filled with both that they are dead inside. You can make a choice. You can let someone else manipulate you, make you bitter and kill off a little bit of your soul each day. You can let them make you angry, you can let them make you do something you’ll regret the rest of your life.

Your third choice is to let the anger and bitterness destroy the other person by remaining calm, cool and collected. Rather than bitterness, show them tenderness and mercy. Rather than anger, show them happiness and good nature.

How you face situations defines who you are. Reason things out! Stay calm and the proper course of action will come to you. You will go much further in life, in your goals, by not allowing others to make you angry or bitter. You will be a much happier person, causing those around you to be equally happy. You’ll be able to reach the stars!

 

Are blessed people happier?

“Since the things we do determine the character of life, no blessed person can become unhappy, for he will never do those things which are hateful and petty.”  Aristotle

This quote conveys several messages. The first message makes an assumption that your life and character are determined by what you do. The things you do, or don’t do, determines your character of life;  the type of person you are and your outlook on life.

The second and focal point of the quote, further explains that people who are blessed are happy, and as a result, are not full of hate and bitterness and so will not do anything which is hateful or petty in nature.

The third message is that people who do hateful and petty things are unhappy.