What I Learned This Week

December 15, 2023

There is a difference between feeling guilty and feeling depressed.

We feel guilty for something we did but depressed for something we do not do. In my case, this week, I do not feel guilty for anything. I do not feel I did something that I am ashamed of, or that I wish I never did.

I have however, been somewhat in bad mood ie semi depressed because I did not exercise, and I did not keep my diet when traveling.

To not feel guilty, ask yourself before you do something how will you feel if you do it anyway. Simulate the new reality before you act.

That will not work with depression. Here you need to act. To actually get off the rear end and do something you do not want to do and if you do not do it, it might depress you.

Overcoming non-clinical depression, just feeling low, one needs willpower. That is what I miss, to get up and go for that walk or stretching exercise. Willpower to walk away from the dining table in order not to be tempted by the delicious cake. The treatment?  If the willpower is weak, seek help. I have someone to walk with and a wife to remind me to eat less.

One trick I developed is to use language as a way to treat the problem. Words evoke maps in our mind. They have a meaning and we act according to what the evoked map means. So instead of “ eating,” I use the word “ tasting.” I do not eat. I only taste food. This automatically dictates how much food is put on my plate. It dictates my self-control: I tasted the food. Felt its qualities. Enough. Next.



The functionality of lying.

Parents lie from time to time to their children. To protect them. Sometimes they need to lie to each other if the truth can do damage, like disclosing some disastrous truth to a person who is on the verge of collapsing as is.

I find that the higher an executive on the totem pole is, the more they have to withhold information if they want to be able to lead.

I remember Lorenzo who lost his position at Eastern Airlines years ago. When I asked him what was his main mistake he said: “I told the trade unions the truth what I will do. And they killed the company.”

All leaders have to excel in politics to lead the country, or lead any major size organization. Organizations are power structures and politics is how to manage those power structures to get anything done.  You have to maneuver to stay in power and you need to stay in power if you want to carry out some policies that are not that popular.

The idea in politics is to withhold information that can do you damage so you can get to power and keep it.  Once that happens, to be able to carry the policies for which you wanted power to start with. So, how you get to power is not the same as what you have to do to stay in power.

People that are honest , straight forward operators, open, truthful, by definition are not political and their chances of leading a country or an organization of major size is questionable. We need leaders that are driven by values, but what they say, when they say, and how they say is driven by political realities which they should know how to mobilize.

(PS: This last insight was driven by what is happening in Israel now.)

Written by
Dr. Ichak Adizes