I watched as the little 6-month-old Jack Russell puppy approach the 12-year-old grumpy resident Persian cat. The cat is not impressed that her pet guardian had gotten a new inquisitive bouncy pup. The pup has his eye on the cushion that the cat is lying on. He cajoles, he crawls and he makes little whimpering noises, as though to say, “Please let me have the cushion. I am only a pup!” The Persian cat hisses and swipes the puppy’s nose, albeit gently, so no blood is drawn. The Jack Russell pup jumps back and starts again, bravely taking two steps forward and cautiously taking one step back. Over a few minutes of moving forward and backward (which salsa dancers will call it cha-cha-cha), the puppy miraculously managed to grovels BESIDE the Persian cat and snuggle next to her. Her face was initially shouting, “What on earth?!” before turning into a calmer state and permitted him to stay on the same cushion.
This puppy has embraced The Power of And. He was feeling fearful and courageous at the same time. He was moving forwards and backward at the same time. He held respect for the Persian cat and himself at the same time. He was conscious of what the Persian cat could do but also aware of what he wanted. And because he had embraced The Power of And, he succeeded.
In life, many people understand and accept the Tyranny of Or. Thoughts that may play in their heads maybe, “I can either achieve this or that. I can either be great in the process or in the details. I can either be great in my career or in my home life. I can either be traditional or modern.” That is fairly normal thinking.
However, a small percentage of top-performing people and companies work on a different concept. They work with the understanding of The Power of And. They preserve their core values and stimulate change. They maintain stability and yet disrupt themselves. They are firmly consistent and yet innovative. They practice discipline and yet drive creativity. Fundamentally, they want the cake and eat it.
Victims blame external factors for their results, outcomes, and their lives. It could be their boss, their vocation, their childhood, the country’s laws, their spouse, their children, and other reasons including a strange virus. They will say that they are not able to achieve what they had set out to achieve because of those reasons. It would be because ‘those obstacles happened OR I would have succeeded’ sort of mentality. They have succumbed to the Tyranny of Or.
For those who succeed, their mindset would be more like, “I may have a bad boss, poor vocation, traumatized childhood, unsupportive spouse, demanding children AND still succeed. I do not care if there is a strange virus. It can come AND I will still succeed.” They give themselves no excuses. Whenever any difficulty occurs, they see it as a challenge and know that their success would be more meaningful as it was achieved amidst those challenges. The fruits of their labour would be tastier due to the additional hardship and suffering they had to endure. They have embraced The Power of And.
If we want to express our genius to the world and truly make a difference to our lives and in doing so, also make a difference to other lives, I would suggest we make no excuses. Let’s not give the power that determines our success away to external factors. Let’s take it back and shine despite all challenges we may face in our lives. Let’s embrace The Power of And. I want to be a great father AND a great vet. In the midst of the Coronavirus outbreak, I will stay at home AND grow more than I have ever grown. For my vet practice, I want to maintain social distancing, saving human lives AND provide the best veterinary care I can, saving animals’ lives. I will be aware of the guidelines laid down by my governing body AND maintain my business so I can serve more.
This is a difficult time for all. Our governing body had to make very difficult choices to preserve both human lives AND animals’ lives. It is very easy to stay on one side of the camp saying that we should not be risking our lives to save animals OR saying we have to risk our lives saving animals. If we could only embrace The Power of And in this instance, the outcome would be nothing short of spectacular. The results will not only lie in the deeds that the profession and public can see, they would also be expressed in our hearts and minds that only we can see. We would have grown with this crisis. Take care and keep safe.
‘The only disability in life is a bad attitude.’ – Anon