Solving the Problem of Passivity
Passivity is the compulsion to pursue the opposite of what we say we want. This compulsion left unidentified and dealt with leaves us unfulfilled at best, sabotages success and at worst depressed, hopeless and feeling victimized.
“I don’t care. Whatever you want is fine with me.”
“It is not the job I want but in this economy you really can’t be choosy.”
“He’s not perfect but I’m thirty-five years old. Nobody’s perfect. I’m sure we will grow into love.”
“I’d love to write. I’ve always dreamed someday I’d write but I have kids and a job. Not everybody gets their dreams to come true. Maybe when I retire…”
“I can’t believe what is going on in Washington these days. They are all idiots and con men. But there’s nothing an average Joe like me can do about it.”
“Go ask your father. If he says yes, then it’s okay.”
“That’s the way the cookie crumbles.”
“It’s just not in the cards.”
“It’s not God’s will.”
“I guess I’m just unlucky.”
“Some people get all the breaks.”
“It is what it is.”
Does any of the above ring a bell? If they do you may have some areas in life where passivity rules your attitudes, behaviors, personality and decisions. Perhaps you have settled for less than you felt you deserved or you “adapted” to your present situation or relationship rather than changing them. Did you “cop out,” give up, quit and become hopeless and helpless feeling like you were a victim of fate rather than a creator of your own destiny?
Unfortunately, many people have developed a greater connection to loss and feeling less than; they settle for unfulfilling relationships or careers that never quite achieve their creative potentials. Surviving, rather than thriving, has become the state that many of us are not only used to but are compelled to pursue.
As one highly successful surgeon said to me who was growing increasingly wary of settling said, “I always feel I am half the husband, half the father, half the friend and half the doctor I know I can be even though I’m considered to be very successful in my field.”
I said, “It sounds like you are living a half-lived life.”
“Exactly! But I am fifty years old. I don’t want to say this at sixty or seventy. I want the second half of my life to be a much fuller, satisfying life, but I’m not sure how.”
I’ll tell you what I told him. By coming out of denial, identifying the parts of your life where passivity prevails, working with the origins of your passivity, becoming aware of the signs and behaviors and acquiring new, but tried and tested tools, information and insights that will serve as solutions you can fully engage life, work, relationships, creativity, parenting, grand-parenting and much more.