Bast, please spare me from the well intentioned. You know, those friends (we all have em) who are wonderfully caring and really, truly want to be helpful but just can’t quite manage to follow through on any of their offers, promises and/or plans.
Why do any of us crap out on our aims? Life has a funny way of getting in the way of plans. Family gets sick, I get sick. Work deadlines sneak up on me. The car goes into the shop after hitting one too many potholes. Shit trips me up. Still, there are some folks for whom follow through is no more than a distant, maybe mystical, island they rarely visit.
Why? I suppose the thing I’ve noticed, that my well meaning acquaintances have in common, is that they all have a decided shortage of pragmatic thinking. They don’t fully think out all the steps/elements of a process, nor do they consider the potential problem points that might arise.
Pragmatic leaders focus on the practical, “how do we get this done,” side of any task, initiative or goal. They can erroneously be viewed as negative in their approach when in fact they simply view the entire picture (roadblocks included) to get to the end result. It’s a linear, practical way of thinking and “doing.”Both sides of the coin are needed and most of us are a mix (whether we’re leaders or no). My well intentioned pals? They’re pure idealists who will always, it seems, believe that because they want something to be so then *PRANG* it will be. 2+2 can equal 5 because they need/want it to.
Idealist leaders focus on the visionary, big ideas. It could be argued that they focus more on the end result than the path to get there, and they can erroneously be viewed as looking through rose-colored glasses when, in fact, they simply “see” the end goal and truly believe there is a way to get there.
Jean—such a warm, big-hearted sort. She's always offering to give me rides here and there when I’m in a tough spot.
Lifts to or home from MGH?
Me and a big box of pots need to get to a crafts fair where I’m to be a seller?
Yes! She enthusiastically offered—I hadn’t asked—but then OOPSIE she got caught up in this or that and totally forgot. So sorry!
This translated into me spending, in one instance, insane buckos on cab fare and, the second time, not getting to sell my wares at the once a year show opportunity. There was also, in both cases mega frustration and worry (why hasn’t she shown up? Has she been in an accident? Is she OK?).
I lost income, spent money unnecessarily (taxis) and had astoundingly stressful days. Needless.
Jean’s still a lovely person but I learned my lesson well and good. Her offers to assist are sweet thoughts and kind wishes, no more—from a realistic standpoint that is. I appreciate the sympathetic impulses but I know to never accept one of her offers. They’re relatively benign versions of Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown at the last minute. Had I known what she was like from the outset, I would have thanked her kindly and said “thanks, I’m all set” even if not.
Do you suppose Jean and her compatriots in pragmatic thought fail are at all aware of this glitch in their respective matrices?