I Care .. But Not That Much!
By: Paul Shearstone
A simple thesaurus-search on the word 'Care' reveals the following:
A quick look around the workplace, or anywhere else for that mater, reveals
a world of Mindful, Concerned, Worried, Thinking and Bothered people. On
the surface, it would appear we all care a fair bit. Taking into account
the exponential increase over the last couple of decades in diseases like
Chronic Fatigue, Depression and stress related Emotional Burnout, the
question that begs to be answered is, Do we, as a generation, "Care Too Much?"
In a word, Yes! .The statistics on stress and the ramifications from it are
far too compelling as is the evidence we see in society today. I, a Chronic
Fatigue [CFS] Survivor, have lived it! To overcome it, I also had to learn
from it. For example, the new albeit subtle way, in which I Care.
In his best selling book, "You can Negotiate Anything!" Herb Cohen espoused
that to appear too concerned during any negotiation, was to put one's self
at a disadvantage. Simply put, if the other guy knows you really, really,
want it, he then know you'll pay a premium for it. To prevent this, Herb
suggests we say to our self before any negotiation, "I care. But not that
His strategy is simple. To appear aloof caring just enough but not too
much we maintain a position of strength. The good news is, it works. On
closer inspection, however, we can learn a great deal more from Cohen's
stratagem. The most important being the use of the Mantra, I care but not
that much, as a 'Behavioral Trigger'.
A behavioral trigger is a tool used by people to instantly modify their
conduct, attitude or actions. Many parents teach a form of behavioral
triggering to their kids at a very young age. Counting to three can give
the child who is acting-out in a negative way, enough time to reevaluate
his/her behavior and make the necessary changes to avoid parental
retribution. Most of us are taught the technique of counting to ten to calm
one's self in a moment of tension. The majority would agree, both
counting-strategies work well in the right circumstances.
What, though, has that to do with caring or the lack thereof?
The fact is, most people genuinely care about their jobs and want to do
their best at most everything they do. Another fact is my observation that
there are only two types of people these days: The Un-Employed and the
Over-Employed. A quick look at any corporate or medical environment clearly
demonstrates everybody absolutely EVERYBODY is pushed to the max,
regardless of their standing or vocation and, as a matter of course, are
forced to perform under stressful pressure and responsibilities unlike any
generation before. It's just a byproduct of the times. Another byproduct of
our times is, as already alluded, the devastating price we pay in
stress-related and emotionally damaging consequences.
The reason for this is not all that mysterious. Prolonged exposure to
stress will eventually break down even the best of us. The human body can
work under pressure for periods of time but not continuously. Stress will
eventually emerge the winner, making us the loser.
What then, can we do to combat this if the reality is; our jobs and
responsibilities are not likely to get any less stressful?
The answer is, we need to:
a) Become more acutely aware of the times we find ourselves under the most stress, and
b) Learn how to pull back Diminish the stress.
How can this be done? One way is by learning to use a Behavioral Trigger.
In the recent movie, "Meet the Fockers", Robert Dinero's uptight character
used the word Muskrat, any time his blood pressure was about to blow. The
mere mention of the word by him or his wife would immediately trigger a
'stand-down' or 'relax' response. The important lesson here is how the word
Muskrat was utilized as a tool or a trigger resulting in an abrupt positive
attitudinal reflex. A letting go, if you will, of the stresses that fill
the moment allowing calm to reestablish itself. This procedure is a learned
technique and must be practiced for best results.
The word Muskrat is not the only word to choose from, however, which brings
us back to how Herb Cohen's mantra, I care. But not that much!, works so
well in stressful circumstances.
Note that Herb is not for one moment, suggesting he doesn't care. In fact,
he does care. Here, however, is the subtle but powerful lesson we need to
learn from the last part of his statement 'But not that much!'
To make the point more clear, allow me to finish his sentence: I care. But
not that much."To let it Hurt Me!"
People need to understand that self-preservation is a good thing. Doing a
great job or being the best we can be, is also a good thing but not if
the price we pay is our health, happiness or long-term quality of life.
That is too high a price to shell out.
In the same way we are taught the skills necessary to do our jobs well and
maintain our dedication to responsibilities, we must also learn how to
manage ourselves under prolonged pressure such that our health and
happiness are maintained.
To get into the habit of saying, I care, but not that much, when we
experience stress or unrest, we learn how to trigger the proper,
life-balancing response that does diminish the problem.
Often, people use more than one mantra to achieve the desired results. For
example, Bobby McFerrin's song, Don't Worry. Be Happy! Those words are an
excellent follow up to Cohen's I care.. But not that much!
In a world where today, stress and pressure are systemic, people have a
life-sustaining obligation to better understand how and what circumstances
serve to denigrate their health and wellbeing. They owe it to themselves to
learn the benefits of techniques like Behavioral Triggering. The best way
might be to Care. But not that much!
© 2005 Paul Shearstone. All rights reserved.
Paul Shearstone aka The 'Pragmatic Persuasionist' is one of North America's
foremost experts on Sales and Persuasion. He is also founder and President
of The CFIDS Foundation of Cda Inc [A registered Charity]. As an
International Keynote Speaker, Author, Writer, Motivator, Corporate Ethics,
/ Time & Stress Management / Life Balance, Paul enlightens and challenges
audiences as he informs, motivates and entertains. To comment on this
article or to book the Pragmatic Persuasionist for your next successful
event we invite to contact Paul Shearstone directly @ 416-728-5556 or
1-866-855-4590; www.success150.com or firstname.lastname@example.org;