The 1 magic square that makes you TICK.
My world is shattered. I look at the pieces scattered on the ground. My reflections on this broken mirror are different wherever I look. I cannot breathe. I try to blink. My eyes are hurting.
I feel the tips of my fingers itching. I can feel the cold taking over my whole body. My lips are quivering. I try to hold on to the hot rock close to me. I can feel my feet burning because of the heat from below.
My heart is pumping liters of blood into my brain. My brain is trying to balance my body temperature. Heat is coming from the volcano burning the ground. Cold is blowing from the high altitude at the top of the mountain.
I hold on to the hope, I hold on to that rope and I continue walking on that wooden bridge. I keep walking. I almost arrive at the other side of the bridge.
Here I am, sitting with Me and Myself.
Myself: What made you tick? He asked Me.
Me: It was an urge, a force pushed me out to go to the top of the volcano.
I: I know that feeling, Bro. Hopefully, we made it this time again.
Me: Please don’t let me do it again. I have learned my lesson.
We all have been there. A clue will trigger a chain of reactions. And before we know it, we are in the middle of a complex situation. We don’t know what to do. We are pulled apart by two opposing forces. We can feel the tension tearing us from within.
TICK stands for:
- Thermometer vs Thermostat
- Income vs Impact
- Competition vs Collaboration
- Knowledge vs Kindness
Thermometer vs Thermostat — I lost track of my friend Thermometer until my son Noah came into the equation. Thermometer and fever, if you see what I mean.
Thermometer has also been trending with the pandemic of Covid-19. He is the kind of friend that constantly fluctuates depending on the temperature surrounding him. If it is hot, he is hot. If it is cold, he is cold. Basically, he has no thermal personality. He will spend his whole life fluctuating, his mind will never settle. Or if it does, it will be just until the next external change of its environment.
Contrast him with my mentor Thermostat. She is the one setting the temperature in every room where she enters. It can be freezing cold, if she says that it is hot, then you better feel the heat. You can be sweating like a towel soaked with water. If she says it is freezing cold, you better believe that she is the Khaleesi of the White Walkers.
Each time I react too quickly to external events, I am a thermometer. Like a wind vane, I have no power over the direction I am heading to. I have outsourced my power to the world.
Each time, I take a helicopter view, I sleep over a harsh reaction, I am a thermostat. I take a step back, I extract myself from the current situation. I can set the tone in the conversation, define the frame of the interaction.
Income vs Impact — Study, get a diploma, make your 9–5 shift, earn some money to pay your loan on your house and on your car. Consume, Amazon Prime your life. Seek more income, passive income, active income, income in your material world, vacuum out your inner world.
We have put money in the center of everything in our world. We adore people that have a lot of it. We can sacrifice our health, our friends, and our family for a little bit extra of it. Yet no amount of income will satisfy our need for always more income. We never ask ourselves how much income is enough for our sanity.
Impact is more about how we want to contribute to this world. It is less about how rich we are from an income point of view. It is more like how much we are adding value to our lives and other people’s lives even if we are “poor”. It is a smile when we cross our eyes in the elevator. It is a simple thank you when someone does us good. It is to give without having ROI (Return On Investment) in mind every time. It is giving our time, our energy to make our communities better, not only for us, for all of us.
I definitely look to increase my income in life. Yet my first intent in all my interactions is to have meaningful interactions and to bring more impact to those I will cross in y life. I feel happier each time I give my time to mentor a colleague at work than just giving money to a charity.
Competition vs Collaboration — From the kindergarten to the Board rooms of Forbes 500 companies, we have been trained to act as competitors. We are bread with the Zero-Sum game. It is this game where, in order for us to win, the other party has to lose. Of course, competition has its place in sports. Yet competition as a way of life is a limiting mindset. It is a fixed mindset where we are competing for something we believe is limited. We see our world as this pie, where each time we see someone else having a bite, we see it as a loss for us.
When we focus on collaboration, we are not trying to have the biggest share of the pie. Instead, we all work together to make the pie bigger so that we can all have a bigger part. When we focus on collaboration, we are working on bringing our shine to the table. We see the other person as an ally, someone who can contribute to our mutual good.
For most of my life, I found pride in winning, being the first at school, or having better grades than y siblings. I was seeing my manager as a great person just because I was given a high-performance rating. Yet I could still feel that something was not quite right in my life. The feeling of victory will always fade away like a light storm. By observing other people being kind to me, paying forward, I saw that life is not always about competition. Life is all about cooperation, for the greater good. Life is definitely an infinite game, we are finite players. We cannot expect to win. Just to play our part and then leave the game. Yet this does not mean that we cannot leave our mark before leaving this world.
And collaboration is the tool to carve our legend in the walls of eternity.
Knowledge vs Kindness — Knowledge is the ultimate WMD. I am not talking about the alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction that the US used as an excuse to invade Iraq. Knowledge is the Weapon, of Mass Delusion. We think that our knowledge is all that matters. We frame our interactions based on that sole WMD. Yet our knowledge of the world is limited and finite, no matter how much amount of it we have. Our knowledge is always partial, may not be relevant in the next hours. And based on that knowledge, we want to show the world how right we are, how sure we are that our truth is the only, the ultimate truth.
Kindness is not about how we think we know. Ultimately it is about building bridges, not breaking buildings. Kindness is about knowing that we are on different journeys. Kindness is about choosing to be kind in lieu of being right. Kindness is about not seeing the world as a sum of what we know as individuals. Kindness is about seeing the world as the potential of what we can accomplish as Eternals.
Imagine that we interact, and all I want is to throw my knowledge into your face. Even if I manage to waterboard my limited knowledge into your throat, this will not make you my ally, on the contrary. However, if I choose kindness, even if I might be right, I will make you feel better.
We have to move from being a thermometer to being a thermostat. We are in charge.
We have to move from being income-focused to impact-oriented. We are here to last.
We have to move from competing to collaborating. We can do more with less.
We have to move from knowledge to kindness. We plant the seed of empathy.
“The last impression is the lasting impression.”
What makes you TICK?
How do you initiate the change?
How is the journey so far?
Leave a comment below.
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You can read my previous article on 3 Tension duos: Attention or Intention, Price or Worth, Happiness or Joy?