A SERIES OF GIFTS — No. 14: SACRED COWS & UNDISCUSSABLES
Posted on January 1, 1970 by Blake Leath
The last couple days, we've explored TRUST — what it is (a form of social currency), people’s inclinations to trust or not (4 ½ paradigms), and five common coins comprising the currency of trust (approachability, character, integrity, commonality, and one’s pattern of behavior).
Beyond these, trust is a multiplier. Without it (“zero trust,” let’s say), little to nothing gets done, much less sustained.
For example, human relationships devoid of trust neither flourish nor thrive.
Two cases in point are Sacred Cows and Undiscussables.
Without in-group trust, we might feel reticent to challenge that which others perceive as sacred (as can occur with group-think).
Similarly, most groups, projects, teams, companies, countries, families, cultures, tribes, relationships (virtually any collection of people) harbor undiscussables: "Those things we never discuss (much less resolve) and yet, without resolution, can never move beyond." And so, the end result is the same result it’s always been: status quo. We are trapped in amber. The splinter is never removed and so we never heal.
Many groups, you'll find, will frequently re-arrange literally ALL their social furniture... save the Undiscussables! For example, they'll re-vision, they'll re-value, they'll even re-vote new leaders... but they'll never talk about the fact that "Brutus is a toxic back-stabber and until he's off the team we cannot move forward!" Such weak links, bad apples, and outright futility is absolutely MADDENING to high-integrity-high-performers and is the epitome of that old saw "insanity is doing the same thing yet expecting a novel outcome." Sliding a bunch of 10s around without expelling the 0 is a great way to reliably level-set back to 0 time after time after time.
I'm reminded of Congress. And so much more.
Remember: "PERHAPS MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHAT LEADERS DO IS WHAT LEADERS TOLERATE."
Anyhoo, Socrates articulated the Undiscussables conundrum best when he wrote: “The least important things in life we think about and talk about the most, and the most important things in life we think about and talk about the least.”
I shudder to think what the seesaw would look like if we put all our idle talk on one end and our constructive, meaningful dialogue to move forward civilly on the other.
I am sobered by Matthew 12: 36-37 when I weigh the enormity of eternity against my wasted grains of sand.
And with that, WELCOME TO GIFT #14 from our SERIES OF GIFTS: “SACRED COWS & UNDISCUSSABLES!”
Aren't you glad you came today?
Nevertheless, we hope it's an encouragement to someone out there!