Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My Way or the Highway Attitude

Courtesy: Google Image

The first time I heard this phrase was when an uncle of mine remarked during one of my heated argumentative sessions at home. As is customary of me to go about defending how and why I want things done the way I've planned or forseen them to happen, his comment made me sit up straight and think. This happened a few years ago. Nothing has changed in the way I do or see things since then. In fact, my attitude towards getting things done in my personal life exactly as how I envision them has only gotten worse.

An English idioms book defines the my-way or highway attitude as "If people don't do what you say, they will have to quit or leave the project, etc." Another phrase book, says this attitude is a trite expression that sums up dictatorial leadership style that is arrogance itself.

Growing up as an only child, this attitude of mine only flourished more and as years went by my ability to be flexible, adaptive and tolerant gradually declined. Of course, I would have to force my self to listen to another person's point of view, but, more often than not, it was something that I could never implement or take action upon. Strangely, this attitude is more dominant at a personal level rather than showing up at a professional front.

I am really curious as to how the rest of the world operates, do people take life as it comes or do they always have a plan and try their best to follow it. What happens if things don't go as per their plans, do they simply accept it and move on or do they fret about it and try their best to change the outcome?

It will be interesting to hear some other opinions....


Sachita said...

"I would have to force my self to listen to another person's point of view"

You seem to readily agree to alter agreements infact that has always suprised. quite a few ppl including me can learn that from you.

Krishnan said...

"Growing up as an only child, this attitude of mine only flourished more and as years went by my ability to be flexible, adaptive and tolerant gradually declined". I guess this is inevitable but slowly as one grows up one ought to cultivate the habit of appreciating other's POV.

Priya said...

Having other siblings may be I see it different. I usually take it easy and if ppl' disagree to what I say I leave it to them or just drop the conversation period. I by nature do not like heated arguments unless I have to which is very rare.

Nothing is perfect and is the plan. If ppl' are very sensitive and plans don't work it can hurt them. I live for today coz tomorrow is just an another day.

Janaki Barath said...

Hi Mitr,

Being the only child could be one reason for this, but, not necessary. On another note, If you have a sibling, older to you, you will learn things by watching that person - if the older sibling exuberates good qualities such as adjustment/patience/tolerance, I think we catch it. Its contagious.

Personally, I was not in either extremes, but have a older sibling who is tolerant and also marriage helped to see the better side of this argument - thanks to the husband who is a better listener. Marriage also brought more tolerance as you have to deal with lot more people "their way" :-))

One thing I learnt from my husband is how he deals with this with myself and others :-) When you are genuinely open to listening to others and patiently explain why your way is better than the other - the other person however stubborn starts to see a point. On the contrary, in the pretext of proving a point and too eager to do it our way, if we lose temper/be stubborn, the opponent only sees the "bad emotions" and nothing valuable in what you say.


Cham said...

With sibbings, there will be always some arguments , sharing, adjustement, listening so automatically u will be flexible! When you can listen others u will definetly tend to argue less. After a heat conversation, is there anyone happy later?

Shankar said...

Quite an interesting post...
I remember reading a book about this and the author had concluded saying something like this 'To have a destination is very important but the route could be any or rather many. Sometimes telling yourself not to deviate from the path taken is quite like a blindfolded horse, you may never know the oppurtunities lost. So keep the destination in mind and work towards it, life will show you a path, for its not only you travelling and in the course its important that we follow road rules too.'
Think that is pretty much valid is most scenarious we face..

Me too said...

First thing that flashed on reading your post was Bush's 'you are either with us or against us'!

I generally think I am flexible (when I haven't had made plans in my head already - which is rare!)

IMO, whether one is an only child or grown up with siblings, other factors affect too.

starry nights said...

I think you have to be flexible and see other peoples point of view also.you may not be right all the time.

Rajesh &Shankari said...

While one can plan and say things like when I am 30, I should have a house, by 35- 2 kids. Things don't go per plan- Do you have a choice-yes on 1 and no on 2. So then, you have to think of other options in life. While this may not be what you are taking about, what I am trying to say is , there is only so much one can plan and leave the rest to how things take its course.
By trying to stick to only one point of view, you cannot learn the other side. Just let it go and see how much more relaxed you are..

Marutham said...

Hi Mitr,

An interesting post.
Well, you atleast force yourself to listen to others...trust me there are SO MANY people who do not even try to do that!
And there is nothing wrong in what you have said. Being a single child it sure is a little difficult to be more flexible.
Unless the dubject really demands a heated up conversation, it is always better to avoid such. As someone has already said it - by the end, no one is actually gonna be happy they had this conversation unless both manages to smile at the end.


Laksh said...

Why so silent? Wake up. :) been a while since you posted anything.