Rule #21: Find Someone Who Will Make You Do What You Can

This one comes from a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Our chief want in life is someone who will make us do what we can.”

We need people in our lives – teachers, coaches, mentors, bosses, friends, etc. – who perceive our capabilities and potentials to be greater than we perceive them to be. Rule #21 encourages us to invite them into our lives and defer to their belief in us.

Back in school I had a coach who had a perception of me as a lacrosse player that was a notch or two higher than where I saw myself. Consequently, he held me to a set of standards that corresponded with his perception.  I didn’t always like it.  (After all, I preferred the expectations that corresponded with my perception of myself as a player!)  After a while, I started performing at a level that was higher than I had envisioned.  Thankfully, I was able to see the link between his strategy and the outcome, swallow my ego, and do it his way.  It eventually dawned on me that I would not have excelled had my original perception ruled the day.

At Hyde graduations it is common to hear graduates say, “The teachers at this school believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.” As Emerson observed, sometimes we just need people in our lives who will make us do what we can.  However, if we expect to benefit from such people, we also need to accept the responsibility to someday be that someone for someone else.

Onward,  Malcolm Gauld