Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Are you indispensable?

Busy woman

Have you ever got the feeling that someone believes they are indispensable? Have you ever heard people say things like:

  • I am the only one who can do this job
  • Without me, this project/team/organization would fail
  • So and so cannot live without me
  • Everything depends on my being there
  • “It” (event, project, job) can’t start without me

Worse, have YOU ever said these things?

Human beings like to think that we are indispensable. Indispensability is wrapped up with our sense of importance and the deep need to be significant. After all, if we are not needed, then how can we be important and significant?

Yet, we are NOT indispensable, and we should not aim to be. We are all going to check out of the organization/job/family/planet at some point in time. That’s a sure inevitability. So why in the world do we act as if the world will, and should stop when we are not around?

Suppose we lived our life – family, work, play – as if we were dispensable? As if things would continue when we are not there? Suppose we brought up our children to be independent of us. Suppose we organized our work so that it continued flawlessly in our absence?

Interestingly, making ourselves dispensable is immensely liberating. It frees us to do what we want to do – not what others expect us to. It frees others too, although they may not realize nor warm to it initially. By making ourselves dispensable we are allowing others to take responsibility and to learn what we know and to grow. What a gift to others! Why would we want to keep that to ourselves by being indispensable?

It’s good to remember that we are not indispensable and that the world will keep on spinning without us. It is even better to live our life, do our work and be free to play as if we are dispensable.


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