I can’t coach caring. People either care, or they don’t. We need a reason to care about others, but we are constantly inundated with messaging that says we should only care about ourselves. What triggers caring?
- Empathy for others, seeing them as people
- Necessity or survival
- Shared mission or purpose
It isn’t practical to care about everything. Most people only care when they have lost or could lose. The problem is that most people “care” about things they can’t control (other people’s actions, the government, what’s happening in the news, etc.). Why do people obsess and care so much about what others are doing?
Humans have mastered the art of distraction in an attempt to draw attention away from their lack of progress. Life is about progression. Nature demonstrates this through growth. How tall will a tree grow? As tall as it can. How much territory will a tiger seek to defend? As much as it can. Nature is always, constantly, and relentlessly pushing against its barriers. It isn’t making excuses or attempting to shift responsibility. Nature always cares because survival depends on it.
Every remarkable achiever throughout history understood that to accomplish their mission, they must progress. They didn’t make excuses or blame others, at least not all of the time. They focused on what they could do to advance their cause, mission, or purpose. They cared and took action. They didn’t allow themselves to get distracted from the pursuit of their mission.
How do you get people to care?
Sometimes people will care about the well being of others, a cause, or a business, but most people seem wired to only care about themselves. As it relates to others, all they care about is what others think of them. I am not being cynical, but this our current reality. When tragedy strikes, we care about helping others, but most still sit on the sidelines and watch for the responses of others. Terrorism strikes, and people worry about it happening to them rather than caring for the victims. The realization is that caring beyond our own survival must not be a natural tendency for most.
The only logical way to “get” people to care is to make whatever the cause about them. Who are they serving, and how will that service benefit them? How does their work affect their teammates’ ability to do their job? What is in it for them? What do they claim to be passionate about?
Take a few minutes and consider what you care about. Why do you care (motives)? How does your caring benefit you? (emotionally, financially, physically)? Be honest in your answers.
Why do people obsess over others and appear to care so much about what others are doing (even though it doesn’t actually affect them)?
We all want to be validated, and we seek validation by pointing out the flaws of others. Lack of progress is a major culprit for people that seek validation. Low self-esteem is another reason people tear others down. We don’t want to feel left behind or inadequate, and unfortunately, many people choose to discredit others to validate their situation.
In what ways are you seeking validation from others? How is your need for validation affecting your relationships, work, and career? The antidote to the seeking of validation is demonstrating gratitude, offering compliments, encouraging others, and generally building up other people.
Our societal narrative is one of outrage, justice, and victimhood. Everyone has a bone to pick. From an early age, we are programmed to worry about what everyone else is doing. When someone gets ahead of the pack, society assumes they have screwed someone or everyone to get there. It begins in childhood very naturally. We measure ourselves versus our peers. We measure beauty, intelligence, privilege, athleticism, etc. We are trained at an early age to compare ourselves to others. The seeds of envy are planted early and direct so many people’s decisions for the rest of their lives. They have no idea they have been programmed from the earliest of ages.
The frog experiment teaches us that a frog placed in a pot of room temperature water will not hop out as the pot and water are heated. It will remain in the water and be boiled to death even though it is capable of hopping to safety. To the frog, all is normal. The majority of society is directed by envy and jealousy. We eagerly desire to hear about a successful or prominent person brought down. Secretly we feel better about ourselves.
Who is doing the programming? Parents, most unknowingly, criticize coworkers, other parents, the government, neighbors, or any person or business that falls short of exceptional. They may even criticize their kids unmercifully. Governments are the worst, and politicians are masters at feeding envy and jealousy. They know that stoking these two emotions, along with fear, will potentially get you to act on their behalf. They use our life long programming to their advantage, and we are none the wiser.
Corporations want you to “compare and despair” because doing so will compel you to buy their products. Marketing is psychological warfare that takes advantage of our life long programming. Don’t be left behind, get an advantage, be the envy of others, demonstrate your uniqueness. Again, they are using our life long programming to act on their behalf.
What do they have in common? They want you to act on their behalf. Parents want you to be better than the other kids so they can feel better about themselves. Government and politicians want compliance. It is the most insidious and disgusting force in our society because it uses envy, jealousy, and fear to manipulate vulnerable citizens. Corporations use the veil of benevolence to sell more products. FOMO (fear of missing out) is the most common strategy for getting us to grab our wallets. It isn’t all bad, but too often, they pretend like they genuinely care until they get your wallet, and then away they go. They cared until they got what they wanted and moved on. Am I overly critical or cynical of these influencers? To be certain, not all are evil or have bad intentions, but most want something from us, and it is wise to understand their motives.
None of us want to feel bad about ourselves for not living into our full potential, so we criticize and blame others for our lack of progress. Justification should be another word for excuses when it comes to our lack of progress. Blame is an excellent way to deflect. Distraction, validation, and justification are all programming issues. We use them as tools to enhance our excuses. Stop allowing your programming and societal influences to direct your decisions, and instead develop a road map that will take you there. Now take action every day. Most importantly, care about your efforts and ignore everyone else.
If you must for someone else care about your work, your company, your customers, and your coworkers. Genuine caring is a rare quality of most people. Most people only care when they are about to suffer a loss. Fear compels them to care, and as soon as the fear subsides their settle back into a life of complacency. For example, according to a study of 7,519 people that suffered a cardiac event, only 4.3% made changes in their diet, smoking habits, and exercises. They cared enough to seek medical attention at the time of the event but stopped caring (or at least 95.7% of them) after life went back to normal. If you want to live life to your full potential, you will need to care. My mentor, Jim Rohn always said: “If you care a little, you can make a living, and if you care enough, you can make a fortune.” Only you can care about your better future. It starts by recognizing your programming and prejudices. It will also require that you stop looking at others and caring so much about what they are doing. You do you. We only truly live when living our Full Potential. It is our responsibility and how we can serve a higher purpose. It is beyond our internal satisfaction that we begin to live the way we are meant to live.