You will never win if you have to prove that you are the winner. That is what this chapter on becoming quietly effective in your life pursuits is all about. Your answers to the test below will indicate how quietly effective you are now.

Yes No
____ ____ 1. Do you get upset when you can’t get a point across to other people?
____ ____ 2. Do you have to announce your accomplishments to others?
____ ____ 3. Do you have to tell others whenever you’ve defeated someone at something?
____ ____ 4. Do you find yourself easily offended by other people’s behavior or language?
____ ____ 5. Do you have difficulty lying, even when it would more sensible and practical to do so?
____ ____ 6. Is it hard for you to assert your own needs for privacy without feeling guilty?
____ ____ 7. Do you find yourself being dragged down by the sour dispositions of other people?
____ ____ 8. Do you find yourself saying or thinking, “He [she] doesn’t understand me,” a lot?
____ ____ 9. Do you feel that suffering is natural, and that you are supposed to suffer on this earth?
____ ____ 10. Do you find it difficult to walk away from people you find annoying, such as drunks or fast-talkers?
____ ____ 11. Do you explain yourself a lot, and resent having to do it?
____ ____ 12. Do you spend a lot of time analyzing your relationships with your friends and relatives?

Yes responses indicate areas of victimization you can go to work to eliminate. If you have to explain yourself to others, trying to make others understand you all the time, or if you are always trying to prove your worth to people through your behavior and your words, then you are a victim of the “not being quietly effective” malady.

What does it mean to be quietly effective? The word being stressed here is quietly, since we’ve talked in detail in earlier portions of this book about the significance of being effective. Being quietly effective means that you don’t have to tell anyone else about your victories to make them meaningful to you. While it is quite often appropriate to tell others about your life happenings, you will become a victim if you NEED to inform others before you can be satisfied yourself. Once you put the word need into your vocabulary, you are at the mercy of the other people’s recognition of you—and then if they refuse to recognize your value or your achievements for whatever reasons, you will collapse and they will end up pulling your strings.

Being quietly effective also means that you don’t have to rub your fellow man’s face in your victories. If you have to do such things, you will find others retaliating, trying to frustrate you in one way or the other. The most important key to being quietly effective lies in how you feel about yourself. If you have self-confidence, then pleasing yourself will be enough, since the self you are pleasing is worthy. But if you lack self-esteem, then you will look to others for a verification of your esteem, and this will be where you get yourself into trouble. Once you have to get that reinforcement from without, you are volunteering for victim status.

A typical example of a “loudly ineffective” person was Daryl, a bright counseling client of mine in his late thirties, who had lost his job several years before, when his company had gone bankrupt. He sought out counseling because he was getting nowhere in looking for a job or even supporting himself. As he put it, “I’ve just been unable to make the right contacts, and I’m afraid I may just go on searching forever.”

In counseling sessions it soon came out that Daryl was the world’s greatest name-dropper. It was virtually impossible for him to talk without bringing up his associations with this or that big shot, most of which were manufactured in his head. Daryl also bragged to everyone about his accomplishments, and when he didn’t accomplish much, he invented more stories. In short, Daryl found it difficult to keep things to himself or feel his own sense of inner pride. He needed others to recognize him or he wouldn’t feel right.

When Daryl began to look at his need to be important in other people’s eyes, he saw that it came from a real feeling of worthlessness, which in turn had come from his losing his job and persistently viewing himself as a failure. He had believed so much that his worth came from his performance, that even when he was no longer performing because his company—his employer—had failed, his worth disappeared. He then sought to compensate by proving to everyone else “how great he was.” But everyone saw through him, and he became a victim of his own low self-esteem. When he name-dropped, his friends would just ignore him. When he bragged about himself, he would similarly alienate his friends and family. He began to extricate himself from his trap through learning to keep his victories to himself and by consciously working at avoiding bragging, boasting and “look at me” behavior. Once these behaviors subsided, he was more pleasant to be around, he began to have greater self-confidence, and most importantly, he stopped being victimized by his own attitudes and behaviors.
When you begin to develop your self-confidence, you will stop expecting everyone to want to hear your stories, as well as find solitude more acceptable. Your privacy is a very important part of your life, and it is necessary to your own sense of well-being. Wanting to have everyone understand and share everything that you think, feel, say and do is a self-victimizing attitude.
Additionally, not feeling a need to be understood, and keeping some things private, are ways of avoiding being pulled around by other people. While this is not an argument for hermit behavior, it is a suggestion to take a hard look at your own personal right to your privacy, and to look even harder at those who would attempt to victimize you by encroaching in those areas, or even worse, denying your privacy. Henry David Thoreau, who lived alone for almost two years at Walden Pond, wrote about his feelings of privacy in Walden:
Men frequently say to me, “l should think you would feel lonesome down there, and want to be nearer to folks, I am tempted to say “Why should I feel lonely? Is not our planet in the Milky Way? I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. While we are not all Thoreaus, and this is the twentieth century, his observations are still most appropriate today. You do not have to be around others, or to always have others sharing and understanding you, in order to be fulfilled. In fact, you will find yourself a victim if you have these kinds of expectations, or if you allow others in your life to visit expectations on you. It takes an element of courage to insist on your privacy, particularly when other people insist that your desires for privacy are rejections of them. But trying to explain this to most people is an exercise in futility. You simply have to exercise your rights with behavior, and by doing it often enough, you will be teaching them how you want to be treated. If you talk about it, and analyze it to death, then you Will very likely feel victimized and end up forfeiting your privacy anyhow.





Pulling Your Own Strings
Wayne W. Dyer 



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