- “What did I do wrong?”
- “What did I do to cause this?”
- “How is this situation my fault?”
I’m sure you can think of some other variations too but you get the idea.
And here’s some even harder follow on ones,
- “What do I need to do to fix this?”
- “How do I need to change as a person?”
Do you ask yourself these questions often? Can you step up and be responsible… or will you play the victim and go for the ‘poor me’ vote?
So why are these the hardest questions? Well first up, they’ll only be hard depending on the context. If it’s just a little upset they might be easy to ask. It get really hard in those situations where the consequences are dire, where peoples happiness and physical and mental well-being are at stake and where your safety and personal/professional reputation are on the line.
Think of it, in a situation where if you admit you are at fault something terrible will happen; everyone will hate you, judge you, or call you names. Where you’ll be held accountable by law, by your peers, where you’ll lose prestige, reputation and money. Wouldn’t it be easier to not even ask these questions, to just blame other people? Or to say the situation was out of your control? It would surely be better to ‘rationalise’ the situation and say you didn’t have a choice… wouldn’t it?
Why are these questions so hard? Because to answer them honestly is even harder! Plus the fact that for most of the time – we actually delete them from consciousness. In the book ‘Vital Lies, Simple Truths’, Daniel Goleman explains how we deceive ourselves to avoid emotional pain.
From the perspective of self-actualisation psychology and behaviour, responsibility is key. Paradoxically, being honest and stepping up to take responsibility in those tough situations is often the best thing to do – at the end of the day honesty goes a long way. And for your own sanity honesty is also a lot less taxing than dealing with guilt and trying to maintain a web of deceit.
But let’s flip it. Asking yourself these questions requires critical thought processes and reality testing. You have to be objective and not ‘over do’ the responsibility. I had a personal situation that when I was still involved in it, I found myself asking the questions, “What did I do wrong?” and “How do I need to change as a person?” For ages, despite finding only some answers, I continued to blame myself, punish myself and take all the heat. It wasn’t until I became removed from the situation and gained some objectivity that I realised that for most problems, there are multiple causes and multiple instigators.
My point is that objectivity and the ability to just witness the truth for what it is, is a hard task master. Solving problems takes a lot. Good states of mind for all involved, good communication, reality testing and critical thinking are essential. Unfortunately there are sometimes no easy answers if all involved aren’t thinking the same way. Then the best question becomes, “What can I do for the best?” and that’s often a harder question to come to terms with.
In all of the Neuro-Semantic Self-Actualisation trainings, objectivity, critical thinking, responsibility, wisdom, honesty, justice and every other aspect of leading a life ‘being-the-best-you-can-possibly-be’ are taught and practiced.
Are you up for the challenge of knowing how to answer the hardest questions in the world? Because to be a leader of any kind, you have to. So what do you reckon? Can you answer the hardest questions in the world with honesty?