Celebrating Your Problem Children

I often think that I must be a test at least sometimes to those around me.  Although I am a person of fairly restricted habits, I am rather persistent about them, and that can create some difficulties at times.  To be sure, I imagine, for example, that the IT department of the company I work for does not think of me as their favorite person to deal with given the work I give them [1].  How does one tend to seek to ensure the proper use of company resources (including technological ones) while allowing people to do their jobs.  Does one seek to deal with the concerns of security by working at the level of the computer, or doing so at the level of the user in particular, or what?  There are a lot of options and all of them require work, and a delicate balance that usually allows some freedom of movement but not enough freedom to do anything that will greatly harm the systems of the company.  Compared to how it could be, our department is a rather patient and longsuffering one.

Often in life we have to face tradeoffs when it comes to the people we deal with.  Those who can do great good for us can often bring great irritations and annoyances to us because they do things that we would not prefer or they do things in a way that we would not wish.  How to deal with this is a challenge.  We can engage in conversation to try to set expectations, see if the creativity and ingenuity that is used to get around restrictions can be harnassed for the good at least some of the time, put up with what we cannot entirely put down, and hope that the judicious use of of countermeasures can lead to behavioral change.  Neither institutions nor people are without resources in the endless cat and mouse game, and while such matters can be frustrated for all people involved, I think all people benefit from the competition as well.  We find out what is essential for us, how far we are willing to go for things, and what we are willing and able to tolerate.  We gain self-knowledge in the midst of dealing with the complications that result from others.

Perhaps it is wrong of me to enjoy such a thing.  A test of wills is something that many people find frustrating or irritating, but not me.  To be sure, there is an immediate frustration when one faces a roadblock that one did not expect, but once the initial irritation and frustration subsides there is a degree of respect for the people one is dealing with and a resolution to go about doing what one does in a different way.  Perhaps one changes one’s approach a bit or seeks another way to do the same thing, but when one is dealing with someone who is stubborn and resolute, there is always a way, and the sooner one accepts that, the sooner one can get to the normal day-to-day action and behavior that people engage in.  Perhaps the game will go on somewhere else, for who knows how long, and perhaps it will die down for a bit before it sneaks up again some other way.

If we can assume that we will always find ourselves involved in a duel of wits and in a battle between contrary wills, and that is how I have always found myself in life and so I cannot imagine it stopping anytime soon, then it remains for us to figure out what we want to do about it.  Having the right attitude makes a big difference.  Do we view strong wills as something to appreciate and respect because it allows us to hone our own and to turn what could be a lasting enemy or rival into a genuine and powerful friend?  Do we recognize that our strong wills are not always turned to what is the most beneficial or most important things and that we can create a lot of trouble for ourselves because of how our attention and behavior is directed?  At any rate, if we are dealing with people who are not likely to change, we have limited means of changing them if we want to continue dealing with them, and I think it is better worth refining ourselves and gaining self-knowledge than simply avoiding people because they are challenging.  Sometimes being uncomfortable can be a very good thing, and the trade-off is worth dealing with the complications and annoyances of strong wills and eccentric habits.  At least it is for me.

[1] See, for example:






About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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