Cynic or Idealist?

By: Pattie Vargas 3 years ago

What do you believe in? What are the core values that shape, not just your day-to-day life, but your life goals? Where have you placed your trust?

Not knowing the answers to these questions guarantees you will be disappointed. You will be let down by leaders with feet of clay, by politicians who pander to votes, by spiritual leaders who are mere mortals. There is a “right” way to BE. It’s a compilation of a just way to treat people. An honest way to run a company. A righteous way to stick to your core values. It might be different for all of us but that doesn’t really matter – each of us must know what our own North Star is and let it be our guide when others prove to be less than who we thought they were.

When organizational leaders profess to believe one thing, but act in a manner that is polar opposite to those beliefs, you have two choices. One: decide, once and for all, that the higher you ascend, the weaker you become – the less willing you are to sacrifice your own goals and need for accomplishment for what is “right.” I submit that a better approach is to decide, once and for all, the leader simply doesn’t measure up to your personal litmus test for principal centered leadership.

When politicians change their platform based on the shifting winds of popular opinion, you have two choices. One: drop out of the game. Deem the political process hopefully corrupt and refuse to participate. I submit that a better approach is to become more active – speak out – change parties – do SOMETHING.

When a spiritual leader demonstrates that they are not perfect but subject to the same human foibles as all of us, you have two choices. One: let their failure alter your beliefs in your God. I submit that a better approach would be to measure their behavior against what you know to be true and possible, pray for them, and move on in your own journey.

There’s a pattern here and that is to not let other’s behaviors alter who you are or what you believe.

A.J. Muste (1885-1967) was one of the leading nonviolent social activists of his time. During the Vietnam War he conducted a nightly candlelight protest vigil in front of the White House, usually all alone. One night a reporter asked him, “Do you really think you are going to change the policies of this country by standing out here alone at night with a candle?”

Mr. Muste replied, “Oh, I don’t do it to change the country, I do it so the country won’t change me.”

Don’t let the actions of others change you. Don’t let their failures alter what you believe and know to be true. Don’t succumb to pessimism and cynicism. Don’t become that person that wraps themselves in the cloak of “I knew it all along” or you will find yourself adrift with nothing to believe in. Be a believer in principles, not human beings.

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Pattie Vargas, Principal and Founder, The Vargas Group, is a frequent conference speaker on the topics of change management, organizational development, personal resilience and issues facing women in the workplace. As a John Maxwell Certified Coach, Teacher and Speaker, she provides seminars, keynote speaking, and coaching to move you and/or your team or organization in the desired direction to reach your goals.

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