The Power of Sellouts

May 2nd, 2012 by Maryanne Honeycutt

In the book Crucial Conversations, I’m reminded of the power of sellouts – you knew what was right but didn’t do it. They are the situations which seem small, almost insignificant, but they have a lot of power.

I appreciate the William Shakespeare quote, “Nothing in this world is good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Isn’t that true?!  That’s just it – our stories explain (to us!) what’s going on.  They are our interpretation of the facts. They help us explain what we see and hear -the why, how and what.  Why did that happen?  He must have thought I wasn’t prepared…. or she is controlling and insensitive. Our stories generate strong feelings.

As the authors say, the truth is that any set of facts that can be used to tell an infinite number of stories. So why do we tell clever stories? That’s the link to the sellouts – stories keep us from acknowledging the sellouts. We don’t typically tell stories UNTIL we have done something that we feel a need to justify. We sell out when we consciously go against our own sense of what’s right. And once we’ve sold out, we have to own up to it (which we don’t like to do, obviously!), or justify ourselves.

What possibilities open up to me when I become aware of my thinking?  In what ways is courage needed and valuable?  How can I slow down and listen more fully to the meaning and intent of what’s being said?

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