The two extremes of accountability

NOTE: The following post contains several “fucks”. I’m not using them to be clever or cool – they’re contextual…except for the next one…

…FUCK!

That one I DID use to make me appear clever or cool.

Anyway, while we’re on the topic of accountability…

When it comes to getting other people to do things, there are two extreme approaches: the nice, kind, respectful, “would you mind moving your car off my foot? It appears to be broken and is bleeding quite profusely?” approach, or the drill sergeant, “YOU WORTHLESS PIECE OF SHIT! YOU’VE BROKEN MY FOOT! MOVE YOUR CAR BEFORE I SHOVE MY FOOT (the other one, not the one presently trapped under the wheel) INTO YO’ ASS!!!” type.

There’s a lot that’s been said about whether the world we live in now is too soft – where everyone is “special” or a “snowflake” and gets a medal for “taking part” and where, before we admonish someone for doing us wrong, we have to check that we ourselves aren’t going to fall foul of some human practice law or cause offence.

Let’s get something straight before we start – I don’t think that there is a “right way” with this. However…

…I feel that there is a “right way” for each person in each situation.

I’ve been thinking about this after reading (actually, listening) to the David Goggins’ book, “Can’t Hurt Me!”. The guy is a former Navy Seal and, to put it bluntly, has gone through a lot of shit in his life.

The book has been raved about A LOT (so much so, that it was literally appearing EVERYWHERE in my life. I was honestly beginning to think that the universe was giving me a sign, so I had to buy the damn thing! I was half expecting to bump into him in Asda!).

In the book, he gives advice and exercises for you to do to make your life better. Being military, most of these are quite brutal. Not physically or mentally brutal – just BRUTAL.

For example, he has an “accountability mirror” practice where you look at yourself and evaluate your life.

Are you slightly overweight? Need to start eating more healthily and exercising?

NO! YOU’RE FUCKING FAT! GET YOUR ASS BACK IN THE GYM AND STOP EATING FUCKING CAKES!

Are you lagging behind in your education?

NO! YOU’RE DUMB! WANNA BE SMARTER? THEN HIT THE FUCKING BOOKS OR ENROL IN A CLASS. DO THE HARD WORK, GET BETTER AND LEARN MORE!

I’m paraphrasing here obviously (and I may have added a few of my own “FUCKING”s), but you get the idea. There is no pussyfooting around.

You either are doing the right things, or you’re not. If you’re not, the drill sergeant comes along to make you feel like shit so that you start doing the things you should be doing.

Simple as.

I remember joking on a call that I could do with someone like this in my life – someone who, rather than delicately dancing around the issues – gently prodding, poking and nurturing me into action – would just tell me that I’m a worthless piece of shit and that I already knew what I needed to do – I just need to get my arse in gear and do it!

I think I could benefit from this. I need to be tougher.

IMPORTANT NOTE: “I”, not “we”, “you”or “us”.

Is it for everyone? No.

Is this saying that every problem should be treated with a “have you tried getting over it?” approach.

No.

Just as you wouldn’t “get over” the death of a loved one, a broken back or the loss of your favourite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figure (it’s OK now, I painted my Action Man green, so he serves as a makeshift Donatello), there are certain “mindset” issues that you don’t just hop over.

However, for certain things – and for certain people – there are.

There are times when being told the truth or facing up to reality is the absolute best thing that could happen, but you can only decide this for yourself. You may think that someone else’s problem is “nothing” and that they just need to “get on with their life”, but you have no idea what’s REALLY going on.

Unless they’re paying you to be an overly aggressive life-coach (wouldn’t that be a hell of a job?), it’s not for you to judge.

For some (and I think I fall into this category), this aggressive approach is the absolute best way to face certain problems. It’s the empowering wakeup call they need.

I was just wondering whether you guys prefer the softly-softly approach, or whether you think you’d be better off with a drill sergeant barking orders at you?

P.S. This isn’t going to affect the tone of the group or the accountability thing, though feel free to send me drill-sergeant-esque messages of encouragement.

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