The only way to change the world, according to Tony Robbins at the very end of his TED Talk Why We Do What We Do, is to “appreciate what’s driving other people.” People in my training sessions have all experienced what other people’s values actually look like. For example, Orange people are driven to compete, but non-Orange people can judge all that competition as just plain annoying. So instead, shouldn’t non-Oranges step back for a moment? Should they not consider that their NASCAR-loving brother-in-law Mike gets high on life when he gets a chance to be top dog? Orange Mike is driven to compete. Mike gets off on winning, or at least trying to win. What business do we have raging at Mike’s great joy in life? Perhaps we should ask ourselves what core values in our own lives will make us just as passionate as Mike.
It can be hard to see what’s driving other people
My own mother unknowingly tortured me, my sister and Dad with tales of heroic frugality at every dinner table. I am not kidding. She listed the prices of all the food items. She walked us down the aisles of the stores she visited. Mom recalled the coupons used. She smiled at her own cleverness of heating up leftovers when possible. She bragged our desserts were homemade and surely finer and healthier than the expensive goodies advertised on TV. Sadly, it was only decades later that I realized she was glowing with pride for high Gold achievement. For Mom, frugality enshrined the Gold core values of responsibility and conservation of resources. She was certain she was always striving to do the right thing. She used the dinner table to role model and teach the right thing.
So I ask you. Imagine how smoother my relationship with Mom could have been. Her core values were definitely not my core values. I too often chose to get angry about hers. I chose to demean her for being almost ridiculously true to her own belief system. Needless to say, I could have figured it out. She did grow up in the Great Depression. Believe me, her family had been dirt poor, but came out on top because of unrelenting hard work and, yes, frugality.
And what else might I have done to have better conversations with Mom? For one, I could have learned to speak Gold. For example, when I wanted to urge her to buy store-bought desserts, I could have countered with nutrition info. I could have comparison shopped. I could have made a case for time savings. I could have bought a few items with paper route money for her to sample.
I like to think I could have changed my little world a little by appreciating better what was driving Mom.