Have you ever driven home or to work with no memory of how you got there, or completed a chore or task without any recollection of what you did? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone. Much of what we do from the moment we wake up to when we go to sleep is based on habits we perform on autopilot. In fact, research tell us that “approximately 43% of our daily behaviors are performed out of habit.” So, where you park your car, whether you park facing in or out, what you reach for first when you wake up and what you do next, your entire morning routine is made up of small or big habits.
For as long as I can remember, I have always struggled with Mathematics and other numeric subjects and I have the poor grades to prove it. This fixed mindset that I did not like math and was not good at it started in my childhood and travelled with me all the way through to college. However, in my first year of undergraduate studies, I had to do an Introductory Statistics course to complete my degree. The course was widely touted as difficult and had a high failure rate amongst first year students. When it was time to do the course, I found it difficult and intimidating and went through the semester just praying to scrape through with a passing grade. Unfortunately, at the end of the semester, I got my results and found a big F amongst the As and B+s on my transcript.
If we do not learn how to deal with conflict, we are fated to spend most of our lives being miserable about unmet needs and unhappy in our personal and professional relationships. Yet, many of us were never taught how to deal with conflict in a healthy and constructive way. Most of us probably learned how to manage conflict from the unhealthy examples demonstrated by our parents or from what we saw during our childhood. And today, our attitudes and approaches to dealing with conflict is still influenced by those patterns.
With this “everyone gets a trophy” generation, I’ll be the first to admit that I sometimes struggle with feeling empathy for some people who describe their lives as “hard.” Growing up without both parents, I believed my life was hard since I had to learn very early how to be independent and to look out for myself. As a result, I do not have a lot of patience for anyone I perceive as lazy, entitled, and expect things to go their way. This is primarily because my perspective of a hard life is very different from their view of a “hard life”.
Each of us have experienced tough times or situations that have made us feel uncertain and unsafe. So, whether it was poverty, loneliness, loss of employment or income, death of a loved one, a life-threatening diagnosis or some other life changing event, we have all had to overcome something, we have all had to be resilient.
For me, the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme is great illustration of what happens when trust is violated or broken. Whether the relationship is personal or professional, things fall apart when promises are broken, commitments are not honored, lies are told, information is withheld, confidence is betrayed and people or their actions are willfully misrepresented by others. Regardless of the circumstance, the results of broken trust are division, doubt, fear, insecurity, hurt, bitterness, stress, resentment and unhealthy interactions or relationships.
Truth is, the quality of our interactions and relationships are based on the degree to which we feel we can place our confidence in others. Supervisors who do not trust their teams are more likely to micromanage. People who do not trust their partners are more likely to be insecure, question their every move or sneak around trying to get information. If you do not trust a product or service, you are unlikely to buy it. And business that operate in low trust environments, spend way more money on security to protect their assets and customers. Fact is- trust affects everything -who we chose to be in relationship with, where we look for for help, who we confide in, who we do business with, where we spend/save our money, the products we consume and even the jobs we leave or take.
If you have ever listened to a successful person speak about their achievements or journey towards their biggest moment, whether it was an athlete, actor, entrepreneur or professional, the one thing you would probably hear them mention is the importance of being and staying motivated. You probably would also hear their stories of overcoming adversity, setbacks, the pain of failure, mistakes and even their struggles with self-doubt. You would hear them speak about pushing through the obstacles to remain committed and focused on that dream or goal that they set for themselves.
Wash your hands, do not touch your face and sanitize seemed to be the never-ending tune playing in our heads. Sneezing and coughing became taboo in public spaces and could earn you the side eye amongst family and friends. Paranoia set in and many of us became germaphobes and hoarders overnight, while our home became multipurpose spaces for school, church, and work. Suddenly, normal daily routines were abandoned, the outdoors were empty, cars were parked, and the roads were traffic free. Life became quiet and eerie.
Recently, I checked on him to see how things were going. I was hoping for progress but from what I heard, not much had changed. He seemed to have a problem for every solution I tried to help him with and could hardly commit to taking much needed action to help himself. The conversation left me tired and frustrated.