When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
When we were students, patient teachers would review something a 6th time for we who missed the point on the 5th go-round.
We are students. Sometimes we are teachers, but especially then we need to take away this lesson as well as to teach this one. Some of our best work and best value comes from unexpected connections as much as the ones we seek, the ones we stretch to build.
Relationships – like bridges, take time and effort to build – they start with a spark, a shared idea, an introduction, a team process, or a partnering. Face-to-face, electronically, or by phone, it begins.
Reciprocity is key.
We don’t see that right away.
This takes time (years, months, or mere minutes). Most people are worthy of being welcomed into our lives. Some, but very few, need to be evicted (see idiot references below) so, sometimes, you need dynamite or the linguistic equivalent. Some bridges need blowing up.
I’ve struggled with few people in my working life that have caused me as much difficulty as ‘the idiot.’
Not one idiot, not hundreds, but occasionally, a person who believes being one-sided, draining, sucking and stealing every benefit from a connection with someone who can help them, while arrogantly giving little or nothing in return. It’s not so much the miss-match of time or economic value as it is the lack of balance in humanity, in recognizing how screwed up it is. Those, in my view, are the idiots who need stopping – but we can’t control them, we can only control whether we continue, distance from them, or blow up the bridge completely.
A couple of recent example has reminded me, that most idiots are oblivious to their self-destructive idiocy; we can ignore them, we can take one last-stab at calling this to their attention – or we can blow up that bridge and move on, when it’s getting to you, best move on and let them get their education from someone else.
I’ve had idiots du-jour on my path who’ve sucked my patience dry for a long time; experience has taught me to ‘identify and distance myself’ quicker. I’m convinced, no matter what my attitude and gratitude ritual might entail, we are all powerless to rid any village of its idiot. However, we can steer clear.
You know the type. Someone who takes without giving, someone who wants, who demands, who sees their relationship with you as only one-way. Connections that work, that last, that have value are reciprocal. Which is not to say they are equal, but there needs to be balanced fairness along with the exchange of goods and services, accompanying the building of the bridge between parties.
The flip-side is the relationship gone sour. Sometimes those folks can be fixed, if we want them fixed. Sometimes those bridges need to be burned, or blow up altogether in dramatic fashion. Seldom is it more comfortable (but I doubt it is ever better) to let them wither through mutual neglect.
There is, however, a subset of relationships gone sour – the polite way to explain it as differences of opinion, or deceit or subversion in some form, and then there is the leech. You know the term, the creature who latches on and sucks what it needs from its host. In nature, these are lice, parasites, and real leeches. In human relationships, this type of person is like the leech on your leg when you come out of a leech-infested pond or lake. Leeches need to be burned off, or as you would with a failed bridge, they need to be blown up. I’ve not encountered this very often. At first, resistance – an effort to find another way to tweak or fix the connection so it can change for the better, or at least end quietly. However, some people won’t go away; some leeches just won’t let go.
So, the future is here. Had you planned for it? Probably, but you likely didn’t expect things to look the way they do, didn’t expect things to turn out the way they have. That is true of events, of people and most of all – of our expectations, never what we expected. Often better.
Sometimes life sends lemons. Make lemonade.
Sometimes life sends idiots. Try to work with them, don’t be passive and let them run amok unchecked – challenge them, set boundaries with them, teach them if you can, but when you feel that’s not possible follow instructions above.
Mostly, life sends you blank pages of opportunity and extraordinary people. Use them, don’t abuse them – like them, love them, and try to plant something good in them. It often fails, but succeeds more often. Sometimes life sends us people. They aren’t blank slates or empty sponges – so take care not to assume everyone is kind, sweet and cooperative until you have evidence worthy of trust, and then still tread carefully, because you might be on a bridge.