Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Beware the Pyrrhic Victory

"At least is was a victory and at least we won."
~ Bobby Moore


 

A Pyrrhic victory is a type of win that actually inflicts so much destruction on the victorious side that it is basically tantamount to defeat. While the side that wins a Pyrrhic victory is considered ultimately victorious, the tolls suffered work to negate the feeling of actual achievement.

This is also called a “hollow victory”.

Pyrrhic victories are not limited to war. They occur in many other areas of life.

For example, a plaintiff might win his civil suit against a defendant, but his legal costs in getting the win outweigh the amount he was awarded at trial.

Parents need to use long term thinking and goal planning to avoid causing children to chase pyrrhic victories.

Let me explain:

When parents put too much pressure on their children to accomplish specific goals, it might cause the child to use improper methods in order to achieve these goals.

So if the parent is pressuring the child to get high marks in school, the child can either study more, or they can turn to cheating. A child getting good grades due to cheating would be a pyrrhic victory. It looks as if the child is succeeding, but the child doesn’t know the material.

The child is just fooling themselves and others.

It doesn’t help the child become better, if anything, the child is now more likely to cheat next time.

When the child eventually gets caught cheating, the parents will scold him or her, but the onus here is really on the parents. When the bar is set too high for children, can a child really be blamed when they seek alternative ways to reach too high a goal?

Prior to trial, a plaintiff needs to sit down and calculate how much he will need to spend on fees and how much he is likely to collect. He does this on order to see if litigation is worth it for him. Likewise parents need to sit down and calculate where they set the bar for their child. Too low and the child is not motivated enough, too high and the child might turn to improper methods for reaching the bar.

"You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink." means that we can give someone the opportunity but you can’t force them to take it.

Just make sure you are actually giving an opportunity for success and not baiting your child to take the forbidden fruit.

Yisroel Picker is a Social Worker who lives in Jerusalem. He has a private practice which specializes in working with people of all ages helping them understand their own thought processes, enabling them to improve their level of functioning, awareness, social skills and more. He also lectures on the topics of communication and child safety.  
You can email Yisroel at yisroel@ympicker.com
Follow Yisroel on LinkedIn here

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Comfort and Growth

“Before anything great is really achieved, your comfort zone must be disturbed.”
– Ray Lewis




Speaking is the utterance of words, communication is the delivery of words in a way that they can be understood by the listener in the way it was intended by the speaker.

Which one are you? A speaker or a communicator?

I constantly see “influencers” on social media discussing the following basic idea:
“Do something that scares you” or “Be uncomfortable”.

These are very important lessons, but like all lessons, they have their time, their place and their rules.

And like many other lessons, taken the wrong way can do more harm than good.

Meaning and Purpose:
The best way to answer this is with a story.

Pretend that you are just over a year old and your parents are trying to get you to learn to walk for the very first time. You don’t like this idea so much. You are used to crawling on all fours, limiting yourself to just your legs sounds uncomfortable.
Dad stands you on your two legs and lets go. Mom is about three yards away. Her arms are outstretched. She is begging you to walk to her and get a hug.
You want that hug more than you want anything else right now.
You want the comfort of being in mommy’s arms.
Slowly you take that first step, then the second step. You wobble a bit but never fall. It takes so so long, but eventually you walk that far distance and are now in the comfort of your mother’s arms.

The place where you want to be.

The place where all is safe.

The place where there is no growth.

You see, it was during those uncomfortable moments, that time when you were walking, you are growing. You were building new skills.

That stopped when mommy picked you up.
That’s the meaning of “leaving your comfort zone”. It means do things that add new skills to your repertoire.

Eventually the level of “scared” will become lower each time. It might even disappear.

Should I do everything that scares me?:
Doing something that scares you should be something that is goal oriented. The idea should be that you should develop a skill that you don’t yet have.

Therefore, when choosing to do something that scares you, make sure you ask yourself the following:
1. Am I hoping to attain anything from this, or is this just something to check off of the bucket list?
2. What skill/comfort am I hoping to attain from this and is this something I want to attain?
3. Am I starting at too high a level?


Example of Question 1 in action: skydiving.
I have a fear of heights. Skydiving scares me. Going skydiving won’t stop my fear of heights. I don’t want to work in any industry as a skydiver. So what will skydiving accomplish for me? Just that I told people that I once skydove. Nothing more, nothing less.

Not a very good return on an “outside your comfort zone” investment.

Example of Question 2 in action: illegal activities (let’s use arson as the example).
Being an arsonist scares people. They’re scared of the police. They’re scared of jail. They’re scared of their name being broadcast that they’re an arsonist.
Here, it is best to stay inside of their comfort zone, as the fear here is ok. The fear is what keeps them out of trouble.
The last thing one should want is to lose the fear that is stopping them from hurting property and people.

Another example of Question 2: firefighters.
Firefighters wear masks, oxygen and other equipment in order to protect themselves from the smoke, heat and fire.
To fight a major fire without equipment would be tremendously negligent.
Working with the equipment is comfortable, working with it on is not.
It would not be wise for this fireman to do something that fears him (i.e. working without his protective gear) as this fear is what motivates him to work responsibly.


Example of Question 3: e.g. learning to drive.
This is probably the biggest mistake I see people make when leaving their comfort zone.
They go too far away from it, too quickly.
Here is the example: You are learning to drive. You know how a car works, you’ve seen plenty of people use them. But this is your first time on the road. You don’t know how the car responds to your maneuvers. You have no experience using your mirrors.
This is will be your first time ever driving, and you’ll be driving in NASCAR’s signature race, the Daytona 500.

If you take the uncomfortable to the extreme, it will backlash. It will be more traumatic than educational.

So go ahead, increase your skills by doing uncomfortable things, but wisely choose WHICH things and HOW you will be doing them.

Stay away from uncomfortable things that will lead nowhere, that will lead to recklessness or will lead to more fear.
Finally, when spreading the message of expanding horizons by doing things that scare oneself, make sure your audience both knows what you mean and the above rules.

It could easily be the difference between life and death.

Yisroel Picker is a Social Worker who lives in Jerusalem. He has a private practice which specializes in working with people of all ages helping them understand their own thought processes, enabling them to improve their level of functioning, awareness, social skills and more. He also lectures on the topics of communication and child safety.  
You can email Yisroel at yisroel@ympicker.com
Follow Yisroel on LinkedIn here


Monday, February 4, 2019

Do You See What I See?



“You see what you choose to see, because all perception is a choice. And when you cease to impose your meanings on what you see, your spiritual eyes will open, and you will see a world free of judgment and shining in its endless beauty.”

― Paul Ferrini









I try my hardest to avoid political topics in my talks and in my articles. I do so because of something that I refer to as “All-or-Nothing Syndrome”.



“All-or Nothing Syndrome” is a condition that many people have. It is the belief that if a person’s views or behaviors don’t align with yours, then that person must be wrong in other areas as well.



I hope to discuss this idea more in-depth in a future article.



In the past few month, there has been a tremendous debate in the United States about building a wall on the US-Mexican border. This debate became quite vocal this week after US Border Patrol made a record breaking drug bust. They discovered nearly 254 pounds (114 kilograms) of fentanyl (a synthetic drug) being smuggled inside secret compartment inside a load of Mexican produce heading into Arizona.



Something very interesting happened after this report. Each side of the argument felt that the report supported their position!



Those who are in favor of the wall are using this report to show that narcotics are coming in and need to be stopped. Proof that a wall needs to be built.



Those against the wall used this report to show that a wall wouldn’t have stopped this smuggling operation, as it was attempted through a port of entry. Proof that a wall is a waste.



Two sides see the same story and come to totally opposite conclusions.



Why is this?



Because when someone has an agenda, it skews they way they perceive things. People who want a wall will see events as reasons for why a wall is needed. Likewise those against the wall will see events as reasons for why a wall is useless.



The facts don’t change, just how they are perceived.



We all come from different backgrounds and different belief systems. These also affect how we perceive information. We also have our own personal agendas, whether or not we admit it.



These agendas blind us. This blindness can lead to making wrong choices for us and our families.



When we are confronted with an important situation/event that requires intervention, we need to first ask ourselves if there is a chance that we are suffering some type of bias related blindness. If we are, or even if there is a chance that we are, we should seek second and third opinions prior to implementing our desired intervention.



We are biased when it comes to ourselves.

We are biased when it comes to our family.

We are biased when it comes to our finances.



The bias is fine, but pretending that it doesn’t exist is not.



Yisroel Picker is a Social Worker who lives in Jerusalem. He has a private practice which specializes in working with people of all ages helping them understand their own thought processes, enabling them to improve their level of functioning, awareness, social skills and more. He also lectures on the topics of communication and child safety. 

You can email Yisroel at yisroel@ympicker.com

Follow Yisroel on LinkedIn here