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Are You Causing Suffering for Your Project Team?
By Michael Greer

“From the most simple task to the most complex, if you are not in a state of either acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm, look closely and you will find that you are creating suffering for yourself and others. – Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth

Take another look at the Tolle quote above. The underlined selection tells the whole story. The graphic below illustrates how one man’s thrashing against reality – his self-chosen misery – is creating suffering for himself and others!

Unhappy Employee

Figure 1: Unhappy Employee

So what should this guy be doing? Well, according to Tolle, he only has three choices.

  • He can accept his situation and stop wasting energy fighting against it. (This will allow him to think more clearly and figure out how to make things better.)
  • He can find something to enjoy about the situation.
  • He can become enthusiastic about the situation.

Any of these choices will make things better for himself and those around him.

Now when you think about it, he actually has a fourth choice: He can remove himself from the situation by simply quitting his job. That is, he can go somewhere else and do something else that won’t make him so unhappy. But if he can’t quit or remove himself, then he must accept, enjoy, or become enthusiastic about his situation. To thrash around against reality, bemoaning the situation and spilling negative energy all over other people, is simply stupid. Worse, it saps away energy that could be used to make the changes that could improve things.

Accept - Enjoy - Enthusiasm

Figure 2: Accept – Enjoy – Enthusiasm

So the next time you find yourself ranting and raving and thrashing around against reality, refer to the chart above. See if you can’t reduce your stress and make things better for everyone around you by consciously choosing a different attitude!

Michael Greer is a Project Management author and trainer whose mission is to help new project managers become more effective. Through his books, workshops, and public speaking appearances, he seeks to demystify the field of project management (PM) and make it accessible to newcomers. His website can be found at You can follow Michael via twitter.

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