Sunday, November 20, 2005

The fly on the carabao--life lesson for everyone

A fly that lands on a carabao feels itself to be higher than the carabao.
- Filipino proverb

Every member of the animal kingdom has a natural desire to succeed, to thrive no matter what the circumstances. Often that desire demonstrates itself as a display of extraordinary confidence where one shows himself as being better than others.

No one is better than anyone else and most of us know it. Yet we have that desire to appear to be better in the eyes of others.

Is this simply a desire for attention? It would be more accurate to call it a desire for acknowledgement. We don't need to be praised to feel acknowledged, to feel ourselves as part of whatever group we are in. But sometimes we feel it necessary to act superior to others just to get their attention.

This may seem a misplaced desire, an inappropriate way to be recognized by others. But someone who feels unrecognized, unacknowledged, unappreciated as an equal by others might resort to even irrational kinds of behaviour as a desperate measure.
When we see others acting out, we are best advised to give them the attention they desire without accepting the anti-social behaviour as the means of getting it.

We all need to be recognized, to be accepted, to feel part of the group. Even the most unpleasant among us needs that.

The more unpleasant among us need it more than others because they are desperate enough to act out or to criticize others or to act miserably to get our attention.
The most peaceful community (or family or workplace) is the community where each member feels recognized and acknowledged by the others.

It's also a way to make friends, if recognition is not a normal part of the social activity of a workplace, for example.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to show people how to make friends and to receive the acknowledgement they need.
Learn more at

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