By Mike Posey
A favorite, unknown source quote of mine is:
“The hard stuff is easy. The soft stuff is hard. It’s the Soft Stuff that makes all the difference!”
This rings so true when trying to muster our own motivational mojo. In our society, most people call engineering, chemistry, biology, etc, the hard sciences. We call things like philosophy, sociology, psychology, etc, the soft sciences. When we truly look at it though, we see that we can easily learn the hard stuff.
For instance, we can learn to build a bridge. It may be difficult and time consuming, but we can be taught how to do it. We can learn the techniques and knowledge needed to construct a bridge and accomplish that task—done! But can we learn what is going on inside of someone’s head? Can we know what is inside of someone’s heart? Inside of their soul? That is the real hard stuff! It’s almost impossible to know what people are thinking and what their intentions are and why they do what they do.
We can learn to perform heart surgery or replace a broken heart valve, but why in the world, can’t we figure out what our significant other was thinking when they did or said “that” (whatever “that” may be).
When we finally accept the fact that in many ways, life is the opposite of what we’ve been told—meaning that the hard stuff is actually easy and the soft stuff is really hard—then ultimately we realize what truly matters to be a fully aware human being. We find that our whole world opens up and we see things in a very different light.
When we stop focusing so much on the things we’ve been taught are “hard” and instead focus on those “soft” skills that truly speak to what makes human beings tick, we start to understand people more fully. We start to see people and their actions in different and unique ways and begin to realize a bit more of the whys of life. We will find that the way we interact with people will begin to improve and we may actually discover that others may not be belligerent or mean, rather they may be trying to understand us and get to know what makes us who we are as we are trying to get to know what makes them who they are.
Once we realize this fact, we can begin to accept that we may never know why that person just did whatever it was that they did and allow ourselves to accept this fact and just be.
This takes a huge burden off our shoulders; we give ourselves permission to stop trying to figure out this person and just be with this person for what and who they are.
Disagreements may stop, positive feelings will emerge and we’ll begin to just be instead of fighting against everything or getting frustrated. Coming to the realization that some things just can’t be figured out is difficult in today’s society of easy fixes. Once we accept this basic fact and embrace the soft stuff in life as being less than 100% understandable however, our lives improve exponentially.
In essence take the time to be with the soft stuff in your life and in the lives of others. Realize that it is what it is and that’s all that it is. When you do this, you may very well like what you find!
Mike Posey, Ph.D. is a program chair and professor of popular culture and interpersonal communication in Columbus, OH. Years ago, before becoming a full-time academic, Mike generally wandered around doing a wide variety of things including being the founder and CEO of a tech company, a corporate VP, a concert promoter, a sales associate, a DJ, a cheesy cable TV show host, and basically trying most anything that he was interested in. While others may have seen aimless meandering, he calls it eclectic experience. He is currently in demand as a speaker and facilitator on topics such as relationships, communication, and motivation. Mike is a father of 5 amazing children ranging in ages from 24 to 4. This keeps him happy, busy, and broke. He can be reached at www.mikeposey.com or @drmikeposey
Editor: Dana Gornall
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