When You’re Small, You’re Small

It would be nice if that title said it all.

Assuming it doesn’t, let me say what I was thinking in writing it.

I have numerous examples of people feeling small, acting small, or over-reacting from being small that I have been bumping into lately.  Just yesterday, a young doctor over-reacted to a question that was clearly relevant and squarely within his declared area of specialty. His over-reaction took the form of an exaggeration of what was being asked (“10 hours of questions for his boss”) and directing me to seek a second opinion (elsewhere) if I wanted to. This response was more a measure of his insecurity regarding what he doesn’t already know than one of the lack of relevance of the question.

It would be nice if there were an app for one’s phone or watch that said how old you were in your response to your environment. Even a simple app would do. Adult or child.

There are very few real adults. Many reach “adult” status by age, and not by behavior or response to others or to life’s situations. So, what differentiates an adult from a child?

An adult knows the world has no prior agreement to fulfill their wishes or preferences or wants. In fact, they have very little respect for their own wants and expectations. They concern themselves with their intentions, put their energy and talents behind them, and let the scoreboard read out as it does. They don’t argue with the scoreboard. They take it as feedback. They aren’t offended by falling short. They recalibrate and see if that intention still holds and what it will take to fulfill it.

An adult doesn’t get offended by others acting in childish and self-absorbed ways. They recognize this as the current level of development of most people, or at least of most people part of the time. It isn’t a personal affront.

If you doubt that childish wishes and wants are rampant in the world, watch any commercial and see what it plays to. Better yet, tell a person that you have no deep interest in what they want, nor are you committed to seeing that they get it. You are interested in what they intend to have fulfilled in life that they are willing to be in development to cause to be. Chances are they will be offended by the first part, as if you do not “care”, and will have few ready answers to the second.

This situation is why I have designed programs called “You Can Grow Up Now” and “Intentionality and Power”. The second program went after wants as fantasy-based regarding what it would provide, as well as being a never-ending parade. Getting something you “wanted” rarely makes the list shorter. They are not worthy of much respect.

If there was an app that told you when you are being a grown-up, and when a child, would you buy one?

About Ken Anbender

Kenneth Anbender Ph.D. has spent the last 50 years working with more than a hundred thousand people directly on the principles and methods that support the fulfillment of a human life -- in community and at work. He has developed a body of work that is licensable called The Contegrity Approach.
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