April 2011: The Stress of Tax Season and the Suffering in JapanApril 1, 2011
One of the many tax accountants I have high respect for, Mark Blood of DeJoy, Knauf & Blood, stopped to chat with me in his firm’s hallway the other day.
“So how’s the pressure of tax season?” I asked.
“Sometimes people complain about the long hours,” Mark said. “Sometimes the spouses wish it could be different. But I’ve been thinking about Japan…”
“I’ve been thinking what it must be like to come home to…nothing. Your family is gone, vanished. Your house, your neighborhood, your city, is wiped out.”
“Somehow, tax season doesn’t seem too bad this year. A long tax season isn’t real suffering.”
I always appreciate a dose of perspective.
It makes me wonder what the world would be like if everyone had Mark’s ability to distinguish real suffering from inconvenience and garden-variety sacrifice.
The capacity for depth and compassion is related to emotional maturity.
More mature leaders tend to see the world as it really is and are able to retrieve perspective in the midst of everyday life. They empathize with real tragedy and suffering, and challenge those who treat routine problems like catastrophes.
Less mature leaders tend to get swept up in the immediate with little capacity to reflect on the broader context. Worry, fear and trivial pursuits are their calling cards.
I’m all for giving money to help the suffering people of Japan.
I think we bystanders also need help.
What a widespread difference it would make if each leader reduced his or her reactivity when encountering matters of relatively low importance.
If leaders reserved their emotional energy for the issues and interactions that matter most, the “small stuff” would get ignored and the big issues would get more attention.
This would be a Great Reminder of the gift and responsibility of being alive.
In this way, the suffering in Japan would serve a noble and redemptive purpose.
What are your thoughts on this?
© 2011 Leadership Coaching, Inc. All rights reserved.