The eplilog

How Humans Fight the Laws of Nature – and Lose


We humans – the result of Nature’s simplistic, binary, bottom-up plan – have a messy world in front of and around us. However, our wars and conflicts do not stop Nature’s smoother purpose. But, my oh my, have we, so-called homo sapiens, made it difficult for ourselves! And we don’t have to; we can choose other options.

Option one is to realize that emotions trump logic and those negative emotions get us into a lot of trouble. Therefore, we need to introduce a referee system at every human discussion to contain those negative emotions so that we can stick to the issue before us.

Idea two is to understand that we have the option before us to defuse the escalation of emotions in others and ourselves by putting our ego or our pride behind us for the greater good of the immediate situation – and to realize that each time we do it, we will benefit.

The third concept we can deal with on a daily basis is to take steps to minimize the layers of differences between ourselves and others by rank, wealth and bearing. While we cannot control those above us we can certainly take steps to neutralize the environment for those below us by equalizing for them as much as possible – treatment, greetings, order (not rating people by rank, but alphabetically, for example), taking as long to say hello to the janitor as the head honcho, and so on. For everyone – those both above and below – we must apply the rules of respect based on the right of all individuals to express their ideas fully without our trying to influence – and maybe distort – those ideas before they have been fully expressed.

The fourth option is inclusion; involving everyone around you in events that will affect them – usually by including them in meetings, and ensuring you are listening.

The fifth message that these pages hope to deliver is to stress is that serious listening remains the key to our continued success in any endeavour otherwise our well intended actions will collapse in the absence of continuous feedback. We need to install listening mechanisms.

At number six is the need to recognize and accept that there are four personality types and the huge implication of this. We must not just tolerate all four; in most situations we need all four to achieve success. We have to appreciate that each of the four speaks a different language and each responds differently to the same situation or same words. We must structure our own career or personal goals based on understanding who we are and who we are not.

The next idea comes out of the above, namely that inclusion will produce far more useful ideas than exclusion. Imbedded in that same idea is the rule that we must include the nay-sayers in the discussion if we wish to arrive at a truly workable solution.

Bottom up is Nature’s way, not top down, so build from the bottom up with people and with ideas. Then, watch the development of amazing results.

Humans need to be in control, so give each person you are involved with as much control over their personal decision making as possible – starting with your infant children. Stand back and let them fail; it is good for them. It is called learning and having a sense of control. Within that lies the idea that people like to be led, not pushed – which includes always offering an escape for the individual from the leading person’s ideas so that the individual has options and thus control. A person without control wanders aimlessly.

The above loosening of chains is a form of delegation. Remember your load cannot grow unless you delegate, which involves: taking the risk to trust other persons; investing time in training those persons; and having the patience to let them learn what is already so easy or so simple for you.

You will get far higher level of performance from individuals if you allow them to set their own bar. People want to be accountable, so introduce clarity of tasks so that they can assume the full responsibility that they actually seek.

Fear dominates, so you must take the trouble to reduce people’s fears first if you want to obtain their interest in what you are saying.

People get rewarded mentally when they cooperate, so allow the cooperation to take place without injecting onerous and detrimental conditions.

No nation has a monopoly on intelligence, innovation, honesty or stupidity.

Authority must match responsibility – and authority means the higher level person cannot reverse the decision of the lower one (the one with the authority over the matter).

Believe in the high incidence of coincidence of Chaos Theory – that is, press forward even though you cannot see the whole path before you. Take things as they come and then adjust the path to the new situation. Just try it once to prove that good things will result to yourself. Building one step following another is, after all, Nature’s evolutionary way.

Guideline bon mot’s I would offer include: don’t sweat the small stuff; numbers on a sheet of paper don’t cost anything; the person with the chalk controls the meeting; only one person can be in charge; don’t blame but set boundaries.

Good luck to you in your pursuit of living with others.

Bill Caswell

Ottawa Canada

Fall, 2010