I often disappoint people (and so do you). And almost as often I don’t understand why, but can’t seem to find a solution either.
I believe it happens because of a few things: my profession, the people I have worked with throughout my life and my drive to build great things and have a kick-ass time.
I graduated in Industrial Engineering and during college I had internships teaching Calculus and doing computer programming. Highly objective, ‘we only need one false argument to falsify this proposition’, ‘let’s break a problem in parts and solve them pieces’ kind of thing. Then after my 1-year abroad program, studying in California at UCSB, I came back to Brazil and started a career in the financial market, working mostly for hedge funds. First doing market risk analysis, P&L reports, and then managing financial investment portfolios for highly successful institutions and high networth individuals. These people knew how to create a culture of hard-working DOers. They didn’t focus on building a team of “complainers” or “hiders”.
How did these people approach things?
What actions were taken in markets couldn’t be corrected. They are now in the past. Too often my bosses didn’t want to hear my excuses, but surely wanted me to approach them with an explanation of the problem currently at hand and the proposed SOLUTION to get out of it. That would show that a) I acknowledged the problem and my part in creating it, b) that I spent time studying it and c) that I had alternatives to minimize the problem or solve ourselves out of it. A plan. Actionable pieces.
Does this make sense to you?
I learned that there’s NOT a lot of added value being angry about what’s in the past. And the reason we look back should be only to analyze why we did what we did, BECAUSE we don’t want to repeat it. What we did and the outcome can’t be changed. Gone. The focus of our ACTIONS has to be in the present. The present we can change.
This has led me to becoming a highly practical guy also in my personal life, often thinking “about the-shit-is-done-now-how-do-I-get-out-of-this-mess?”.
I had my dose of “I fear it so much I am paralyzed”. It got me fired. Twice.
When we get to day-to-day living, with our loved ones, this becomes tough, though. The relationships are much different. People want us to visibly (explicitly) care. Often through emotion instead of action and that is a lesson I am learning. But learning to communicate and deal with, not learning to agree. Learning to understand them.
When there’s an issue at hand I suspect people often hang on to it, spending time worrying and not trying to find a practical alternative to living. The emotion involved in living the problem together is the link to ‘caring’ they want to see. I prefer to live the ‘solving it’ and the ‘let’s celebrate its solution’.
My experience says it is hard to communicate my mindset, especially to the ones we love. At first it makes people feel unappreciated, like their problems don’t matter. They often believe we don’t care. But we should care about the solution and the joy of getting out of the problem and being out of it.
Caring that we made a mistake solves no problem, despite the comfort it brings through the signal we send to those impacted. But mistakes teach us lessons. That is a good thing and I think it’s still the only way out. I love the lessons. I get a kick out of them, and more recently began to celebrate problems that show up in my life.
Time doesn’t stop. Get moving. On to the solutions to our problems. And once this mindset clicks, it’s liberating. While it doesn’t, we will have to work hard to improve communication and give the proper support our loved ones deserve.