“Shit Happens” as a course in high school

The earlier we learn to identify and deal with the non-organic poo in our lives the better off we will be.

So perhaps we should offer a course in high school (secondary school) that gives kids an opportunity to observe this naturally occurring phenomenon, and to ponder the impact on their lives of not learning how to develop effective practices to clean up the different forms of crap that will be produced as a natural consequence of interacting with other people.

Having the word “sh!t” in the title of such a course would be important to convey the true nature and relevance of the subject. The powerful and natural revulsion to the organic variety may be nature’s way of teaching us to develop effective practices of dealing with sh*t in all its forms.

By not explicitly dealing with this phenomenon head-on, kids generally don’t make the connection of organic sh*t with the type produced in organizations and relationships.

Since they don’t make the connection they won’t see the importance of developing practices to clean up after themselves. They learn to tolerate or take sh*t .

Tolerating sh*t is an ineffective strategy

The human capacity to cope with things unpleasant is truly amazing; we can ignore and come to view as normal the most disgusting and unhealthy conditions. We develop strategies to deal with dirty water, daily acts of crime, abuse, and terrorism as if they were the norm. In fact they do become normal to our day to day experience.

We sometimes think that we are avoiding sh*t or passing it off on to others to deal with, but the fact is that if we don’t deal with the sh*t we create, it accumulates with its attendant symptoms, not unlike the stench, flies, rats and disease that come from not dealing with the organic version.

You will eventually step in it

The other fact about ignoring and tolerating sh!t is that you have to devote precious time and energy navigating around it, but you won’t always succeed

It’s like dog poo on the sidewalk, if it’s left lying there, sooner or later someone will step in it.

Ever experience someone “blow-up” or behave completely irrationally in response to a simple remark or request? That’s the equivalent of stepping in sh*t that has been left laying around.

Common practices to deal w sh*t don’t work

In the great cities of Europe before sanitation developed to what it is now, people defecated into pots, opened a window and then tossed it out into the back alley. The stench of human existence was what defined cities for centuries.

This was accepted as standard practice.

It’s easy for us to look back at this practice and judge it and its practitioners as filthy and disgusting, but that would be unfair as they were simply engaging in what was the cultural norm and the level of technology at the time.

We actually have a similarly unhealthy practice of dealing with the non-organic types of sh!t that we produce in our daily lives.

In the same way that they opened the window and threw their sh*t into the alley below, we leave our sh*t in plain view, and choose to walk around it as if it isn’t there.

Making the connection with sh!t

In my first installment on this topic, I gave the following examples of non-organic varieties that we don’t recognize as sh!t in our daily lives:

  • You spend hours overtime and a weekend working on a report that your boss requested, you submit it on time and she doesn’t read it until a week after the deadline she imposed.
  • You announce a new initiative or policy to your organization and it and you are greeted by icy silence.
  • You are passed over to lead a project that was your idea and that you feel more capable of executing than anyone else.
  • Your boss rebukes a colleague in front of everyone.
  • Despite repeated requests and warnings your staff continues to dress inappropriately and come late.
  • A boss hires a beautiful woman with no apparent credentials for the job. She is also rumored to be having an affair with him.
  • You miss your 8 year old’s performance in a school play. She reminded you every day for the last week and you promised each time you would be there.
  • In a moment of anger you said something unkind to someone you care about.

It is often the case that the hurt, anger and injustice of words or behavior goes unsaid, unacknowledged and not dealt with because people don’t understand the consequence of not acknowledging what is not working, broken, hurtful or unjust.

Worse yet, they are even taught that they cannot do anything about it. The main reason for difficult circumstances not being dealt with is that most people have not been taught how to make the connection between such situations and actual shit. I’m asking you to make that connection, and ask yourself …

What sh*t are you (am I) living with?

There is some sh*t right now in some key relationships in your life? Where is it? Perhaps between you and a sibling, offspring, parents, bosses, employees or colleagues?

On one hand, this sh*t smells so foul that it imposes a distance between you and those persons. You soon come to believe that the stench is coming from that person and this is evident by the many complaints you have about that person.

On the other hand, you have come to tolerate the stench and have learned how to manage it; usually by keeping that person at a certain distance from your life and by limiting the duration of the time you spend in their presence.

Be clear where the stench is coming from

It never occurs to you that the stench is being produced by sh*t that either one of you or both of you produced, but no one has chosen to clean with it.

It is not coming from the person!

To be fair, you don’t deal with it because you don’t know how. The purpose of this article is merely to have you see that there is some figurative “sh*t” that’s sitting in the space between you and that person and it needs to be cleaned up.

In an upcoming article I’ll write about a more effective practice for handling the poo in your life. I promise it will be a lot more effective than the practice you have now.

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