Allow me to go off for a few paragraphs. I’ve been doing some consulting, and I’ve run into a kind of thinking that sends me into orbit. With the permission of my clients, I want to rage against a mentality that is killing a lot of people I care about.
My children and I often talk about a thing called “PDS.” We made this up. It stands for “Perpetual Dissatisfaction Syndrome.” We use these initials to describe a condition we see all around us. It is when people are constantly dissatisfied, are constantly complaining, and, frankly, seem to enjoy it. They could make a change but they don’t, and they don’t because they seem to enjoy all the dynamics of being dissatisfied—the excuses, the pity from others, etc.—and so they never decide to set things right. We despise PDS. If my kids and I hear one of us complaining, we will even say to each other, “Sure sorry about that PDS that’s ruining your life!”
Now, the attitude in business and leadership that I despise is related to this. It is a belief that somehow the world is set, pre-determined, it is what it has to be. In other words, life isn’t flexible, changeable, upgradeable. Things have to be the way they are. The result of this belief is that circumstances that could be altered and thus lead to a better life aren’t altered but are allowed to stay—unhappily—just like they are.
I know of a person with a medical degree from one of the top universities in the country. You would think he would have his pick of the jobs he wants and be happy. But, no. It seems that his current boss isn’t the best. He is miserable as a result. Yet he doesn’t make a change. I have to conclude that the meager blessings of PDS are simply more attractive to him than crafting a better life. After all, with his degree, experience, gifts, and opportunities, the world is his oyster. No. He chooses PDS.
I know of a very smart tech executive with a doctorate who ought to rule the world. She’s brilliant, gifted, experienced, and respected. Yet she stays in a situation she despises? Why? Beats me! I guess she enjoys regaling her friends about her miseries over a glass of white wine at the end of the day. She has taken PDS as a lover. Now, she could bust out, find a far better job, and craft a far better life. But, no. She would rather complain.
I don’t get it. Both of these people—and a million more—could change their circumstances. Yet for some reason, they see the world as fixed as it is. They don’t believe that change is possible, that something better can be found. The cards are dealt, and that is it.
I don’t get it, but I know this: there are two factors involved here. First, people don’t believe change is possible. The concrete of their situation is set, they believe. They can no longer shape their destiny. Second, people are addicted to PDS. They enjoy the drama. They like having a tale of misery to tell.
I don’t get it. I really don’t. God rules our lives but he leaves us a lot of range for choosing. Within that range, better is always possible. We simply have to act.
Enough of me ranting. Look at your life and leadership. Where have you begun to accept the situation as it is without believing change is possible? Where is PDS a better option than striking out on a new path?
Hear me. Make the change. The world is made with “spandoflex.” (I made that word up, too!) In other words, it’s flexible, moldable, shapeable. Go make your life the best you know it can be.