Why does the fear of pain often outweigh the anticipation for joy?

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the thousands of personal stories we have embedded into our psyche from our past. Stories with happy and sad endings, truthful and untruthful maxims, accurate and inaccurate lessons learned.

With every conflict in our stories we have the ability to end the story negatively or triumphantly!

It’s funny, we even say, “…end of story.” Maybe you’ve said it yourself, like I have, usually in my mind. Consider this scenario. You’re almost reaching deadlock with your leaders (or your kids). You can see the solution to the problem at hand, or at least you know the solution will present itself once your team will simply follow the steps you’ve outlined.

They push back. The meeting goes on way too long. In frustration, you say (with standard corporate passive aggressive tone and wording), “let’s please just do it this way. End of story”

End of whose story? The story just became a tragedy. Here are the potential “endings to the story”:

  • Your solution works but their insecurity finds reasons why their way would have also worked and they still feel disrespected (tragedy)
  • Your solution doesn’t work and their respect for you erodes (tragedy)

How would the story end if you (the leader) demonstrates humility and patience by relentlessly digging to find a path your leaders can agree to test? By investing this extra time and energy to find consensus, the end of the story has a 100% chance of yielding a positive net result long term!

Because, whatever the final solution is, the team agreed to find it via testing together, as a team. You demonstrated humility; your actions said to them, “I might not see what they see.” Your behavior showed respect. You VALUE them! In turn, your leaders will inevitably repeat this modeled behavior BECAUSE…

…the end of their story is the emotional take away, the muscle memory which charts our course when we find ourselves in these waters again.

Jed Burdick
Jed Burdick

Father, Husband, Entrepreneur, Storyteller.