“The Attributes,” by Rich Diviney will teach you a lot about things you thought you already knew. Things that you can use in the fight. There were two examples in the book that took me by surprise. Accountability and Narcissism.
I focus first on these because I found them most interesting. After those I will look at some others.
There are twenty-five Attributes in the book, so why start with this one? It is because discovered I was very low in it. I thought I understood what it meant, but then Diviney explained that one of the things that someone who is accountable doesn’t do is be a mediator.
He explains by saying that someone who is a mediator will get an order from the boss and then go tell his subordinates that this is the new order and he doesn’t necessarily agree with it but it is whet the boss wants. That is being a mediator and is bad. You should rather own that order like it was your own.
My first reaction was that you would not want a Narcissist on your team, but I was wrong.
The author points out that everybody has a degree of narcissism in them and a certain amount of it is a good thing. It is only when it gets out of hand that it becomes a negative. You need a decent dose of it to get yourself to take on a challenge. Otherwise you wouldn’t try.
The best story in the book is the one about Hank. He lost both his legs in war. When he wakes up in the hospital and realizes he has no legs he says to himself, ”I’m going to be fine. Grab the paper towels.” Apparently his mother had taught him not to cry over spilt milk. He had dropped a bottle of milk and it splattered all over the floor. His mother told him to “Get the paper towels.” That stuck with him.
If you are high in resilience then maybe you would react like Hank. Hank also says, “Getting over the little tragedies in daily life is how you get over the big tragedies.” He says he became resilient before he lost his legs.
You probably think you know all about discipline. You read Jocko Willink’s book “Discipline Equals Freedom.” You didn’t, well read it then. Anyway, I thought there was just one kind of discipline, self-discipline. It turns out I was wrong again. Diviney explains that self-discipline is not eating the cookie, overcoming emotions and weaknesses, but discipline is about “accomplishing external goals.”
The other thing is that self-discipline is a skill and discipline is an attribute! As he says, “Discipline is the determined ability to remain focused until goals are accomplished.” That is huge. I never realized the difference for some reason.
Ok, this is the last one. I don’t need to re-write the book. However, Diviney tells another story about a man named Chris that displayed this characteristic. It is “an amalgam of traits and behaviors. Persistence, thoroughness, and predictability are key parts of a conscientious personality, as are resourcefulness, energy, and planning.”
Chris was a Navy SEAL going through BUDs. Divine says he volunteered for everything. He was always looking to do more. In his childhood he learned that you should always be looking to help. This carried into adulthood. His philosophy served him in civilian life as well when he became a SWAT team commander. His men figured, “If the boss is always looking for something to do, the theory goes, maybe I should too.”
Remember, there are 25 attributes in the book. Don’t miss ay of them. Read it!