My way or the Highway


Forcing ultimatums on friends family or people that you work with is one of the most fatal mistakes you can make both professionally and personally.

This particular phrase brings forth, at least in my mind, images of juvenile rebels on motorcycles who have had it with the authority of their fathers and decide that they can no longer live under the same roof.

Seen from the view of the patriarch it is the ultimate challenge to the child to either follow the rules of the house as set up by the top dog or choose to leave the pack.

But if all roads eventually lead to Rome then are we sure that as leaders we want to force those who follow and look up to us down a path of our choice?

As a leader you should always be aware of the fact that you might be wrong. In fact chances are the most of the time you are actually wrong. Finance guru George Sorros is often famously quoted for the lines in his book where he explains that “he is wrong 49% of the time and right only 51% but these 2% have made him a billionaire”

In fact I would say that if you make anything more than 40% of choices in your life correctly you are more than likely to end up on top. Just think about it…… All the times you had “just one more beer” or did not say no to that extra large drink or decided that staying on the sofa was nicer than going for a run. How many times have you shunned work that you knew you should do because it was annoying, boring or you were tired. There are times when resting instead or working/training is the best choice but can you honestly say, with the ambitious goal you had in mind, that this was really the case….?

Falling into the trap of believing in your own greatness is an easy path to failure as not all victories get repeated as history has so often shown us. Not listening to the signs and warning signals around you is another certain fatal error about as grave as ignoring a red light at a traffic stop.

And yet even though you know that you are no better than those around you and that no matter how good you are at hiding your flaws you have them just like all the rest of us you. You know this and still you cling to your version of the truth as if it was the word written by one of the sages themselves.

The way has not changed for thousands of years or it would not be the real way. When you find it you will not be amazed but almost let down since it was in fact there, right in front of your eyes, the whole time. You can not make anyone see the way much like you can lead a horse to water but you can not make it drink.

The way is not your way, or my way, or the right way, or the wrong way, it is just the way. When we speak of knowing it we are simply making an educated guess of the most likely outcome of an action based on our previous experiences.

If we want to build people who can think and act autonomously do not give them ultimatums. Set goals, give guidance but do not force anyone to follow your way.

After all, chances are that you are more than likely to be wrong.


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