How good are you at forgiveness?

This article makes you think a little deeper about the things in life that aggravate us, and how we can take the positives from them.

 I recently presented at a conference for a group of school business managers. At the end of the conference a woman came up to me and said, "You know that 3rd Space concept? I love that idea!" I said, "Thank you". She then went on to say "Yes, I attended a workshop the other day where the presenter showed us that concept." "What!?" I replied. "What presenter?" "At this workshop they presented that concept and told the exact same stories you told today. They even used the exact same model that you did."

To say I was ropable was an understatement. I don't mind if people borrow a stat, or a line. But to take an entire concept, repeat it word for word, and pass it off as your own, is a bit over the top. It really hit me hard emotionally – I thought of all the time and effort I put into developing the concept, only to have someone use it without even acknowledging me.

It was interesting to view my response, which was to sulk all the way to the airport (made even worse by the fact that I found out who it was and they were not answering their phone). After allowing myself a good 2 hours to be a self-indulgent victim (a complete pratt was probably a more accurate description!). I decided I needed to get over myself. I thought: What are the positives out of this?

  1. If people are stealing the idea, I must be onto something so it validates the quality of the idea.
  2. I got into this business to provide value to people and help improve their quality of life. The 3rd Space is a great idea that helps people, and the more people who hear it the better.
  3. Can I improve how I recognise other peoples' content that I reference in my presentations?
  4. Being angry with someone else doesn't help me at all; it's just a waste of my mental time and energy.
  5. When you present ideas in an open forum you are delusional to think people won't use them.
  6. You just have to focus on constantly coming up with new and innovative ideas.

I once saw Amanda Gore present (one of the greatest keynote speakers I have ever seen). She said a brilliant line around anger and resentment: "Holding on to anger and resentment for someone is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die." How true!

What we know is that when we feel negative emotions like anger, hate and resentment we release chemicals in our brain that:

  • Shut down the creative parts of our brain
  • Destroy brain cells
  • Make us put on body fat around our organs, putting us at risk of diabetes, heart disease and syndrome X
  • Lead to dysfunctional behaviour

How good are you at forgiveness? Are you holding onto things that don't help you?