Point Lookout: a free weekly publication of Chaco Canyon Consulting
Volume 17, Issue 8;   February 22, 2017: Heart with Mind

Heart with Mind

by

We say people have "heart" when they continue to pursue a goal despite obstacles that would discourage almost everyone. We say that people are stubborn when they continue to pursue a goal that we regard as unachievable. What are our choices when achieving the goal is difficult?
Heart with mind

To have heart is to pursue a goal with enthusiasm, resolve, and spirit even when everyone around you believes that you cannot do it, or worse, that the goal is inherently unachievable. When the pursuer succeeds, we regard the pursuit as admirable, and we say that the pursuer has heart. When the pursuer fails repeatedly, we regard the pursuit as foolhardy, and we say that the pursuer is stubborn, obsessed, or even stupid. It's easy to pass these judgments after we know the outcome.

We've all had the experience of pursuing a goal that people we respect have advised against. Sometimes we give up. Sometimes we hesitate. Sometimes we try anyway. Here are some suggestions for deciding what to do when others raise doubts.

Some dreams are unachievable
You may have heard, "If you can dream it, you can live it." While it's true of some dreams, there are many dreams that neither you nor anyone else alive today can ever live. Distinguishing livable dreams from fantasies can be difficult.
Two errors are most common. The first is believing that a perfectly achievable dream is unachievable. The second is believing that an unachievable dream is achievable. Be willing to make mistakes, for you surely will. Be willing to make mistakes,
for you surely will. And forgive
yourself when you do.
Forgive yourself when you make those mistakes, and learn from them.
Some people are reliving their lives through you
Some advice you receive from others is actually advice they wish they would have received earlier in their lives.
You need not follow all the advice you receive. You need not even thank the advisor, though it's often polite to do so. When you receive advice, consider the possibility that the advice might not actually be meant for you. It could be advice the advisor would have wanted to hear at some point in the past.
It's your decision
Whether you press ahead, or change direction just a bit, or strike out in an entirely different direction, it's your decision — a decision you must live with.
You own your decision and all its consequences. Accepting or rejecting the advice of others doesn't change who owns the decision.

Now a word about failure. Sometimes we fail when we try to achieve something. Failures can be costly. When the cost of failure is mainly emotional, we do have what we need to pay the bill. It's called "heart." People with heart find a way forward, somehow, even if they perhaps adjust their direction. There is another currency that many people use to pay that bill. It's called "discouragement." It is a counterfeit currency. Discouragement doesn't pay the bill. The pain remains. Heart alone can find a way forward. Go to top Top  

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See also Emotions at Work and Personal, Team, and Organizational Effectiveness for more related articles.

Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout

Rosemary Woods, President Richard Nixon's personal secretaryComing March 1: Yet More Obstacles to Finding the Reasons Why
Part III of our catalog of obstacles encountered in retrospectives, when we try to uncover why we succeeded — or failed. Available here and by RSS on March 1.
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The question of why some people are so influential has a partner question: why are others largely ignored, or opposed, even when their contributions are valuable? Available here and by RSS on March 8.

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