Now is the Time to Be OtherCentered
This is not the time for a big story. We have big problems. It cannot continue and something needs to change.
- We have a level of racism and discrimination and violence that is unacceptable and inexcusable. This cannot continue.
- We are in the middle of the worst pandemic almost anyone alive has ever experienced, causing total chaos in the social, medical, and financial aspects of everyday life. This cannot continue.
- We have an accelerating streak of shattered records of climate change. (Disclaimer to keep you reading: maybe it is up for debate what is causing the changes – Earthly Cycles or Humans. But not debatable, is that Humans are contributing to the change). This cannot continue.
- In the US, we have a political divide and ‘hatred’ for the other ‘side’ that is unfathomable; unproductive at best, pre-civil war at worst. Aren’t we all on the same side? This cannot continue.
At the root of the problem? Self-centeredness or not enough focus on others. And nothing will change until there is a shift.
- Some think that if they are not openly racist, it’s OK and they do not have to do anything. Dig deep. When you see someone different than you, what is your inner thought? What is your action? It is not enough to not be racist. We need to be anti-racist. We each need to decide if we are part of the problem or part of the solution.
- Some think that if they are at low risk for COVID-19, it’s OK to skip the masks and make other simple adjustments. They should think again and wear the mask. No, they are probably not at risk. But other people are. Big deal, glasses fog up. If we are not willing to fog our glasses to potentially save the life of someone we do not know, that is pretty self-centered.
- We think that we do not personally damage the environment by ourselves, so we rely on other people to make changes. Use LEDs, turn off the water when brushing, meet at the park-n-ride. Again, I do not know specific scientific theories, but we can do something. I am amazed at how many people (that I know) are not willing to do something if it creates a minor inconvenience for them. As long as the world doesn’t fry until after they are dead, it’s not their problem. Self-centered.
- If you are still reading, do you really think I am going to dip my toe into the a ‘solution’ to our current politics? No. But I will ask you to try to see the other ‘side’ or perspective next time. Start there.
What to Do:
Be Other-Centered®. Not Other-Centered Selling or Other-Centered Leadership when you are at work. Just Other-Centered. All the time. Or at least more than we are now.
Decide to put others first. A magnetic compass always points North. Our internal compass always points to us: What do I need? What do I want?
To change that, you have stop, breathe, and make a conscious decision to put the other person (or people) first. If you don’t, you will become a “Me Monster.” Watch this. It is a scene we have witnessed multiple times – one person trying to one-up everyone else who can only think and talk about themselves. Annoying to everyone else.
Yes, it is humor in the face of a serious topic, but it might be effective in helping us think differently. We have all met or worked for a Me Monster and it is always about them. We need to think about others first. Decide you to take time at your next family dinner or company meeting and talk about racism and help guide people to take the next step to fix it.
Serve More. Let people you know you made that decision. Improve your relationship with everyone.
Three Steps: Care, Learn, Do.
This is simple.
Remember the last time you got a good gift – not expensive, but just really thoughtful and meaningful?
“Wow, how did they know I really wanted a hard-to-find blue flower for my garden? And how did they find it?”
It’s simple. They decided to care about you. Because they care, it becomes easy to just pay attention and learn about the blue flower, because they are actually listening vs. thinking about themselves (“I don’t like flowers”). Once they learn that, they Do – (in this case, finding the flower). How? C’mon, it’s called Google. But everything starts with caring.
If you CARE enough, watch Just Mercy while you are socially distancing. Great film- true story. LEARN more about injustices against disadvantaged minorities who are unfairly targeted and cannot afford a good defense. Then, DO more by donating to the Equal Justice Initiative. That is Other-Centered. That is a step to solving the problem. And it’s fulfilling.
Seek. Seek the truth. About them and about you. It is easier to avoid the truth. Because the truth can hurt.
First, Take the Trip and get someone else’s perspective – especially when it is different than your own. Listen to someone with a different opinion. This time, however, listen for the purpose of learning and understanding vs. trying to get data points to win your argument. You never ‘win’ an argument with people you care about. You might not agree with them, but can you at least understand why a person can get so frustrated they resort to lighting a car on fire. And before you scoff at protests, think about what you were taught about the Boston Tea Party. Was that necessary for change? I do not agree with violence or looting for no purpose but am open understanding what drives people to the brink. Ask someone and improve your understanding and awareness. People are more open to your perspective once you understand theirs.
Second, if you haven’t already, read Talking to Strangers. I did and it helped me. It immensely helps you Seek the truth from others. Change the way you learn about people you do not know.
Being Other-Centered: Decide. Serve. Seek.
Simple and powerful, but not necessarily instinctive. If our society does not get started, these problems get worse. ‘We’ starts with me. With each of us. If you want a simple way to start being Other-Centered, just Love.
What is love? Before you write it off as just something for your family, it is best defined in one of my favorite Books. Chapter 1. Chapter 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 to be exact.
Love is patient.
Love is kind.
Love does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
Love does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
We need to fix this. Be Other-Centered.
The best way to get to know us is to know what we value. If we teach it we live it, because what we do speaks far more eloquently than what we say. We’ll always choose people over profits, and we’re most fulfilled and effective when we serve. It drives our culture, frames our training programs and transforms the lives of the clients we partner with.