“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.”
—Widely attributed to Goethe, but also claimed to be a distortion of a passage by Haim Ginott
I also told them that by making sure not to forget their purpose-driven ventures amidst their just-for-the-money jobs, they would be creating options for themselves.
As I said this, I looked at their faces and saw such possibility emanating from each of them, and I saw something else too. I paused for a moment and said something along the lines of: “Bitterness occurs when you don’t have options.”
This possibility — the virtually unlimited options awaiting these student, and their belief in that possibility, even if only for that moment — crowded out any hint of bitterness/cynicism from their faces (if it had been there at all).
I’ve reflected on this quite a bit recently, and I believe it now more than ever: It’s options — a feeling of possibility, of not being trapped — that allow us to escape the evilness that is bitterness.
I don’t think I know any bitter entrepreneurs. Certainly, I know some crazy-ass, maladjusted entrepreneurs, but they tend not to be bitter. It’s because they know they always have options.
Think about the most bitter person you know, and check to see if he/she is also one of the people you know who – for whatever reason – is sort trapped…without options.
Don’t let this happen to you.
[*] You want to know why you blog? It’s because when you do, if you’re lucky, you get amazing feedback from people who read what you write; such as this quote from my friend John P. Strohm. Thanks, John.