Scout leaders are constantly called on to resolve conflicts, make decisions and provide direction. We do these things better when we are able to be calm, non-judgmental and unbiased. I can be easily upset and that leads to getting upset about being upset and that leads to being reactive, judgmental and unpleasant. I admire unflappable people, I aspire to be unflappable.
Unflappable people are not easily perturbed or excited or upset; marked by extreme calm and composure; remain levelheaded; are unswayed by adversity or excitement; don’t get frustrated or irritated easily; are poised, calm, and self-controlled.
Here’s three thoughts I find helpful to developing an unflappable approach to Scouting:
1. Moderate your reactions
” You can’t keep birds from flying over your head but you can keep them from making a nest in your hair.”
Proverb attributed to Martin Luther
Hard-wired emotions spur reactions but we are not helpless to control them. Humans have naturally strong emotions and we’re all human. We also possess the ability to choose how we’ll react to these emotions. Perhaps the strongest emotional reactions we’ll ever have are those triggered by our children’s actions or the perception of how our children are being treated. Stop and think. Count to ten.
2. Avoid catastrophic thinking.
“…the world will not stop and think — it never does, it is not its way; its way is to generalize from a single sample.”
Sensationalism and manufactured conflict are endemic in our society; it makes good television, big headlines and web content. We are encouraged to make huge jumps of logic every day: sweeping generalizations, innuendo, hand wringing, fear-mongering, misleading vividness, red herrings, cherry picking, misinformation, disinformation, bias, propaganda, and the bending of fact.
Outrageous statements, rumors, urban legends and assumptions can drive us to think catastrophically. Most of the time a little calm consideration deflates catastrophic thinking.
3. Trade your magnifying glass for a wide angle lens.
“Don’t waste your life in doubts and fears: spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour’s duties will be the best preparation for the hours or ages that follow it.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Focus, concentration and attention to detail can serve us well. We can also worry so about what didn’t happen or what’s about to happen that we miss what is happening right in front of us. We can find ourselves concentrating on the one thing that is wrong in a landscape of success. Moments of perfection are rare; but this moment, right now, is a great time to be alive.