An addiction is compulsive behaviour. If free will is part of our human nature then when we exhibit compulsive behaviour we give up our free will, our power to choose, and our automatic response system kicks in. Now my interest here is not your typical addiction to substances or dysfunctional behaviour that may invite a twelve step remedial program. My topic of interest is our addiction to success.
Have you ever played a social sporting match? Remember the scene in “Meet The Fockers” where they are playing pool volleyball and Ben Stiller gets wound up by his father-in-law and smashes a spike into his mother-in-laws face. Classic!
I’ve played in my share of social sporting matches and the white line fever that elite sportsmen talk about is prevalent in social matches under the influence of a few beers as well. Is it healthy? Well just ask Gaylord Focker’s in-laws.
Sometimes you have just got to let go. If you possess this compelling instinct to win, if it is part of your conditioning then your ability to judge when to hold them and when to fold them is critical to your effectiveness a leader. Your perfectionism, competitiveness and control of situations may stifle the creative input and engagement of your people. It certainly isn’t conducive to having them step out of their comfort zone, take a risk and back their own judgement. If they do, it may put them at odds with you, and if you hold the position of power then that’s an unwinnable war. A war on terror of a different kind.
Beyond success there is a bigger game. A game that the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet and many others have discovered in later life – the game of philanthropy. It is the evolution from success to significance. Right now you may be building your business, as many of us are, and giving away all that you have created might be out of comprehension for you right now. Maybe not.
Einstein said, “You can’t solve a problem with the level of thinking that created it.” If you conceive a time in your life when you have acquired all of the material riches your heart desires, maybe there a tipping point awaiting you where the game changes. A game worth playing. You don’t have to smash a volleyball into your mother-in-laws face to win the respect of your peers (although it would be funny).
Learn to let go. Elite sportsmen will tell you when you are driving a high performance vehicle, riding a fast galloping thoroughbred or catching a cricket ball in the deep, it is your ability to retain soft hands that will allow you to grasp success without effort. Create an inspiring vision for what you may create beyond the limits of your current thinking and watch as life’s synchronistic events unfold before your eyes. This magic is truly within your grasp if you only retain soft hands.
by Dennis Roberts