Sustainable long term solutions vs conflicting short term interests

Should I resolve my shoulder pain with a quick fix operation or should I change my personal behaviour in order to resolve the source of this pain? Should I go on pushing myself or accept a drop in income now in order to create space and time to secure a more suitable and sustainable source of income for the rest of my life?

Even in such crucial topics as our own health short term interests (such as income or defending our trusted assumptions in live) almost always prevail are even when they are counter productive on the long run. And actions focused on realising what is good for us on the longer term are being pushed forward. This is not only true at a individual level but at group level (in organisations, politics etc.). In long and fruitless debates (in our mind or with others) we strongly defend our personal short term interests leaving us with the unsatisfactory feeling of knowing that we harm ourselves in the long run.

Reason for me to bring this up is that when we manage to discuss that very same topic whilst putting our personal short term interest aside for a moment (which is a challenge in itself), it very quickly emerges that we usually hold a very similar or non-conflicting views on the ideal longer term solution….. It then becomes clear that what seamed to be a difference in opinions in fact is no more then our fear of the short term consequences of that solution for our personal interests. This realisation creates room to move our energy from building defence lines to clarifying these very understandable fears and helping each other to resolve these.

Holland village, Singapore, 1996

When sharing this I often get the comment that it is easy for me to say from a position of (perceived) abundance. This puzzled me for a while until I realised that whatever ‘abundance’ I do or do not have originated from a moment when, with my back against the wall’, I saw no other solution, all else having failed, to choose for what was sustainable on the long run. The picture above of my father and me was taken at the exact moment! ;o)

From that moment it took me much longer then I had expected to approach that situation (still in progress) but the rewards came almost immediately and in many different forms. Going forward I strive to make these choices before I end up with my back against any wall. Trusting whatever will follow from that. 

Looking back and evaluating my projects that didn’t reach their potential (as yet) it is almost always a consequence of compromising on this aspect! My focus is therefor on creating an environment that is safe enough for all involved in order to allow this process to unfold.

See also: Conflict as source for change


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