TEDxLjubljana - Aleksander Zadel - In odgovoren je ...

Uploaded by TEDxTalks on 22.11.2010

Good day. I wish to discuss responsibility with you today;
and not whichever responsibility but responsibility as a consequence of our conduct.
It seems as if we're living in a world without responsibility.
And accordingly, of course, you find people who instantly
take the credit for a pleasant consequence, and of course sneak off
in the case of undesirable consequences.
While I was driving to Ljubljana today, I came up with an example.
I think I might have told it once before.
When my present wife and I started dating, she was very beautiful.
And people commented: -Blimey, Aleksander, you have a very beautiful girlfriend.
I said: -Of course I do. Just look at me and how well I take care of her.
Honestly, I haven't actively contributed to it at all,
but to take responsibility for having a beautiful girlfriend
was something most pleasant.
And only hypothetically from hereon.
I'm a psychologist, so I'm half forgiven.
After some years of such and such efforts for my woman,
she didn't look like my girlfriend anymore. And I meet with my friends again:
-Say, Aleksander, your wife doesn't look very well.
-I have no idea. She has totally neglected herself. I don't know what's with her.
That is how, in my opinion, an average Slovene feels about responsibility.
I was inspired for today's talk by an event
that happened prior to this summer.
One of Slovenia's primary schools had a fire drill.
Among other things, primary school students practiced evacuation from the first floor.
One of the girls missed that big inflated mattress.
And the way Slovene reporters react - she was still in the air
when a reporter started questioning her father: -Mister, how do you take care of your child?
-Look, I'm not responsible. In the morning, I dropped the child off at school.
They should take care of her. -Ooh school... ooh the class teacher. Miss. teacher...
-Look, I have no right to pass a statement. Please, turn to the headmaster.
-Headmaster, how come this accident has happened?
-You see, the firemen came and assured that they have everything under control. Ask the firemen.
-Mr. fireman. -Look, I have no right to comment on it. Go to the chief fireman.
And the chief fireman released a statement that shocked me.
-I believe the accident happened due to an awkward landing.
I can guarantee that the firemen assured safety.
In an even more morbid world,
the reporter would push the microphone to the girl and say:
-You see, it's your fault because you've missed the mattress.
Probably, nobody among us expects somebody
to cut off a finger to assume responsibility like in some other cultures.
But, can you imagine a world in which the headmaster would step forward and say:
-I've been the headmaster of this school for fifteen years.
Something like this has never happened, but obviously I didn't take everything into consideration.
Replace me with somebody, who knows how to prevent such incidents.
When the chief fireman heared that he would say:
-No, headmaster, not you. It's me. I've been a fireman for thirty years.
I save pople's lives, but I haven't thought of the fact
that a child might miss the mattress. Appoint somebody else, somebody younger
to take over the fire department.
Unfortunately, this didn't happen.
We don't live in a country where people would feel the need or responsibility
to assume responsibility for an organization of let's say some event, some fire drill.
My attempt to explain why the first or the second type of responsibility evolve.
People live in this world...
the essence of our lives is hidden in a very important detail.
If I posed a rhetorical question, what all people do from birth till death,
what would you answer. You would say that we eat, breathe, sleep.
And if we named everything that all people do
from the moment we take our first breathe until we take our last, in this world,
you'd say that we satisfy our needs.
Which are these needs? Let's take a quick schematic look at them.
We agree that we breathe, eat, sleep. These are the needs for survival.
If we want to feel well, this of course isn't enough.
We also need to satisfy the needs for belongingness.
Love, safety, warmth, compassion are all needs from this group.
In this world, it's very important that we have certain power, a positive self-image,
a feeling of self-esteem, that we know something,
that we are important, appreciated and respected.
This is the group of needs for power.
Then, there's an extremely important group of needs for freedom.
To do something your own way, to decide on something in this life and so on.
Then there's the last group of needs.
I believe them to be the most important needs
that enable quality learning.
These are the needs for enjoyment.
That you have interests, enjoy doing something, that it gives you pleasure.
The majority of us have been taught at school that there's a hierarchy of needs.
Physiological needs at the bottom and then all the way up to self-actualization.
This holds no more. There's no hierarchy of needs.
If we want to live a happy and a satisfying life,
we need to have uniformly satisfied all groups of needs.
And then of course, we wonder, how we know our needs are satisfied.
It's very simple. Evolution gave us one piece of information.
We feel well.
At that point we know that we control and actively manage our lives,
and that we manage our lives successfully. So we're content.
How do we know that our needs aren't satisfied? We don't feel well.
We let life slip through our fingers. And what's extremely important,
unsatisfied needs aren't only that you can't pay the bills,
or have nothing to put into your mouth, which is in itself dreadful.
If we look at the face behind me, we get a whole spectrum of consequences
of the inability to satisfy one's own needs.
Actually, there's something even worse than not satisfying all the needs.
The fear of not satisfying them in the future.
And of course this is the case especially among the Slovenes
who have replaced responsibility with worrying. What's more, with worrying in advance.
When two Slovenes meet: -Do you have a job? -Yes, but I don't know about tomorrow.
-What grade did your kid get at math? -He got a C.
Blimey, can you imagine what would happen if he got an F?
Currently we're facing a new problem. -Hey you, have you retired yet?
-I've no idea if I'll ever retire.
Shortly, we worry in advance. And what have we caused by worrying so much?
We've caused an epidemic of low spirits.
Can you imagine let's say a board member or a manager
attending a meeting looking like this.
This person instantly faces two problems.
First problem, he isn't well informed.
If he were well-informed, he wouldn't look like this.
And if he says: -No, no, I am well informed.
-Man, then you are irresponsible. Because, if you were well informed
and responsible, you wouldn't look like this.
As a result you get a nation of people who show their responsibility in such a way.
Now tell me how can the person on your right develop
a positive self-image, a feeling of self-esteem. He can't.
The second part of my presentation must reveal how we can make such people,
who will be cheerful and will take responsibility for their actions.
Let's consider upbringing.
Probably an ordinary room of a sixteen-year-old.
But, when a parent sees such a room, he's only got one thing on his mind. -Tidy it up!
The child does his best.
And what does the parent notice?
-Ooh, a completely different room. But, what's that toy doing down there?
It shouldn't be among the books. On the upper shelf you've forgotten another thing.
Clean it up immediately!
So, what do we communicate to the child after he does something?
What he has done or what he hasn't done?
-Well, all he's done was his duty.
We must let him know what he hasn't done,
so he'll do it better next time. But what do we cause?
How does the child feel when he receives negative feedback
after trying and cleaning up his room?
Whatever I do is not good.
No matter how hard I try, it is not enough.
And then what happens?
Is the child more and more interested to clean up even better
or is he getting more and more passive?
Whatever I do is not good.
No matter how hard I try, I can't do it as well as my mum or dad.
Of course, that's how passivity develops.
That's how incompetence is born.
That's how people who are unable to take responsibility are raised.
What does a child need?
What does a child who has tried his best want to hear?
-Wow! Hey, you've cleaned up your room. Excellent, it's nice.
Look, before we go and do something else,
you just put away those toys there,
and get that thing from the top shelf into the second drawer.
How does a child feel after such feedback, after such a response?
Good, wow. -I've tried, my dad is happy now.
I've done the best I could.
I know I can do it better, but mum is content.
That means I can ask dad if I can play football,
I can ask to go to a friend and so on.
The relationship strengthens.
The child reinforces the awareness that he feels well because he's done something.
I've tried.
It has been noticed, recognized.
I received feedback and consequently I feel good.
I'm willing to do even better from hereon.
Now who is responsible for me feeling good? Not dad or mum,
because they're by chance in a good mood and they complimented me,
but I'm responsible for my well-being.
Why? Because I've done something positive.
So, if I want to have all my needs uniformly satisfied,
it's not enough just to be full, to have my thirst quenched, to be refreshed.
I have to be on good terms with people.
I have to appreciate myself.
First I have to respect myself for what I've done
and only then can others start respecting me as well.
But not because I'm the one with a such and such surname,
but because I've done something.
Because someone identifies the consequences of my actions as appropriate, adequate, OK.
I've chosen ever more such and such possibilities in my life.
And of course, it's not easy, it's hard, but I enjoy it.
Life is demanding. Life is tough.
But we can develop a positive self-image only with hard work.
Can you imagine the Slovene national football team playing all the time against the Faroe Islands?
OK, 5:0, 5:1, 4:1, 7:1,
but that wouldn't trully influence their self-esteem.
Defeat the Italians in Trieste 1:0,...
After they returned from that stadium
hurt, injured, with torn clothing... their faces were beaming with joy.
And we forgot the excuses the players had had:
-Hey, how come you've lost 2:0? -I dunno, the pitch was to slippery to play on.
-Yah sure, where did the others run?
No. In this match, in the football that our team plays these days
they give, as they say, 120 %. They eat twelve apples out of ten.
They're proud of themselves and they take responsibility for the consequences of their actions.
Today, people don't find that connection
between what we do and how we feel.
And then what's happening to us?
Aleksander, who comes to work in the morning, determined
to work a lot and well,
hands in the report on the completed work to his boss till nine o'clock.
At ten he goes to his colleague for a cup of coffee.
Before that, his boss calls: -Aleksander, you've done this really well.
I come to my colleague: -Would you like to have coffee with me? -Of course I would. It's my pleasure.
Later on, you'll tell me how you did this thing for the boss
because he was really satisfied last time.
I leave work two inches higher than when I came to work.
Let me buy something at the shop. I'll park here.
Even though there's an old lady hesitating in the car
I slip in. Yes, that's it. Today's my day!
I come home: -Aleksander, smooch, smooch, where've you been? We've missed you all day.
How do I feel? Like a king.
Buzzz goes the alarm clock, I wake up from my dream and go to work.
I come to my office, I come to reality.
I finnish the report for my boss till nine o'clock.
I look for him to give me feedback. I don't get it.
I go to Marko. -Let's get some coffee. -Come on, you and your coffee, I've gotta work!
OK, I finnish work, what's done is done.
I stop at the shop. Who would've thought, a parking place just opposite the entrance.
Whiz, somebody drives in. Ooh, blimey, how people drive these days!
There's no respect on the roads anymore.
I come home and nobody's there. How do I feel?
Like every day.
What Aleksander no. 1 and Aleksander no. 2 don't recognize is that
how they feel is mostly not because of what they do,
but because of the different reactions they receive from the environment.
We are too often victims of reactions from the environment.
To prevent this in the future: when those of you who are parents pick up
your child at an art workshop and he draws over the lines...
-How can you draw over the lines. At your age you should know how to draw just inside the lines.
I won't pay 30 euros for your stupid lessons, if you draw over the lines!
But tell him something else.
Thank you very much.