Resigning as Captain

There are millions upon millions of personalities in the world. Among them, most people have heard of the captain of a ship or the captain of a team, perhaps “captain” of industry. But have you ever heard of Captain of the World? Have you ever worked for someone or lived with someone who acted like the Captain of the World? Maybe you, yourself, are holding down that job right now?

If you are the Captain of the World, you are very big on rules and on maintaining your particular brand of order. Words like “should,” “have to,” “ought to,” and “must,” show up often in your speech. For instance, on your way home tonight or in the parking lot of your local shopping mall, listen to your “inside the car” conversation (hopefully only inside the car) when faced with traffic challenges. Are you directing or correcting traffic from behind the wheel?

If this is looking familiar, everywhere you look, everywhere you go, you run into inefficiency, incompetence, and people with annoying habits and inconsistencies. If they would just “get with the program,”everything would run smoothly. In the end, all you can do is thank goodness they have you around to tell them how to do it right! 

Now, you know we’re being facetious. No one ever feels thankful that there’s a Captain of the World around. In fact, most folks usually resent it and will often find ways to sabotage the Captain or do things to deliberately shake things up. Passive-aggressive reactions probably got their start because of the Captain in someone’s life.

You see, people just don’t do well when all they hear is, “You have to.” This is called restrictive motivation. It’s based on fear of what happens if you don’t do something, that “or else” that sends shivers through your body. While “have to” may work for a while, it usually backfires when people realize that they don’t – have to, that is. At that point, the Captain loses all power, along with any respect or credibility.

So if you really want to motivate others and win their respect, resign the job of Captain in charge of changing the world – effective immediately! Instead, take a look at what you might change in yourself to make the world a happier place, for you and everybody else. It just might be the ultimate gift for this holiday season.