Recently I was reading a book on sales that a colleague had given me and the author asked readers who their competitors were. My partner in FutureShapers, LLC – Tom Eddington – and I have long been convinced that those people and organizations who we might have once thought of as “competitors” in a world of separateness are now “allies” or partners in a world of interconnectedness. Anyone committed to making the world a better place and supporting people in becoming more conscious leaders is a collaborator, not a rival, in our view.
Yet we do have a competitor in terms of what is vying for the attention of our prospective customer, not so much as another provider or vendor but rather an opposing force. This force prevents our prospective customers from committing to become more conscious and truly shifting our collective reality.
As I was reading this book it dawned on me that this force is the resignation so many people feel about “the way things are.” This resignation overpowers any emergent vision or optimism, squelching any excitement or enthusiasm for meaningful change to occur. It prevents truly conscious leadership from bringing about the radical shift needed to pop the paradigm of the status quo, an entirely new worldview that would make the current way of thinking totally obsolete.
Resignation is an attitude, hardly an immoveable barrier to a shift in consciousness. Attitudes can be changed or dropped in an instant! They are default positions one takes when one sees no chance for anything different, even though something different is more desirable. It is a “forced acceptance” which one imposes on oneself.
This forced acceptance shares a definition with the act of quitting a job or leaving one’s post. The two definitions of resignation share a common communication – I quit! Quitting one’s post is giving up a job or position. It is most often a temporary situation. Giving up on a desired possibility, acquiescing to an unwanted situation and stoically complying to an unwanted situation has lasting effects, often a lifetime of diminished dreams and dashed hope which can lead to a cynical attitude to almost everything.
People can become resigned to any condition where one feels powerless to change things. Resignation is a victim stance, holding no hope for anything different than the reality one has become resigned to. One is submissive to the situation rather than having dominion over it. One abdicates power over the situation and, usually, does one’s best to accept – at least in a public way – the unwanted condition.
Resignation is a coping mechanism but it hardly brings about change.
As long as people believe in the existing worldview – that people are separate not interconnected, that fear dominates love and compassion, and people think in zero-sum, win/lose attitudes – the possibility of a different reality remains a fantasy rather than a possibility and people will likely resort to becoming resigned instead of working toward a new possibility.
Resignation then becomes an impenetrable wall that disallows new visions and new realities to be considered seriously. They remain “a nice thing to talk about” but not anything really worth pursuing or committing to.
In my book The Great Growing Up I wrote about the global epidemic of “cynicide” – where cynicism has become so widespread in the world that any vision or idea that promises new possibilities can be branded as too idealistic or completely unrealistic. Cynicism is a form of spiritual suicide.
Cynicide is a cousin to resignation; they are comfortable in each other’s company. A distinction I might make is that resignation applies to a more specific undesirable situation or an unwanted condition whereas cynicism might apply more generally to anything that offers hope or a better alternative.
Check and see to what degree you have resigned yourself to things being the way they are – to seemingly accepting of conditions you would prefer were different but have convinced yourself you now accept as inevitable or unchangeable, at least by you. In doing this highly-personal introspection, be sure to be incredibly rigorous and honest. Telling yourself a lie here could have lasting negative consequences for your quality of life.