Sunday, August 23, 2009

De-Cop Your OP


The other day, I sat with a couple of fellow happiness enthusiasts  and experienced the following snippet of conversation:
Enthusiast A: "I really want to do thus and such, but I can't seem to get there. It seems that ..."

Enthusiast B: (interrupting A) "If you really wanted to do that, you'd be doing that. You must not want what you say you want. You're being inauthentic!"
This is an example of op-copping, taking an amazing philosophical construct and transforming it into a moral imperative that requires policing.



I Do Therefore I Want

On the one hand, there is some merit to what Enthusiast B said. Indeed, within the construct of the Option Method and the methods that came out of this, we do what we do because we want to do it.

This is a tremendously empowering concept. There are no external influences that are forcing me to get drunk or gain weight or feel depressed or be unhappy or hate my boss or lie to my mother, etc. Whatever I do, I do because I want to and with good reason.

Now, it's the good reason part that is critical here. Basically, it goes like this:
When we recognize that we do everything because we want to (even those things we find abhorrent), then we open ourselves to exploring our motivations for our wanting. As we explore and understand our motivations, we find the path to change.

When we say that we don't want to do what we do, we effectively cut off this path of exploration. It would be oxymoronic to explore your motivations for doing something that you don't want to do.
Op-Cop Challenges
Although technically correct, there are several challenges being faced by our Op-Cop (enthusiast B).

1. It's Not True
First, our Op-Cop appears to be treating the I Do Therefore I Want construct as though it were true. It's not a truth, it's a philosophical construct that can be quite useful in helping us to make changes in our lives, especially in areas where we've found it difficult to change. It's merit lies in its being useful, not in its being true.

2. Manner Matters
Second, Op-Cop's delivery feels more like an accusation than helping hand. For example, he could easily have said something like:
"Hey, if you're finding it difficult to make the change you want to make, then there may be something motivating you not to change. Something you haven't considered yet.

Let's assume for a moment that you want to continue doing what you've been doing and with good reason. If we uncover those reasons, then we can better understand what it takes to make the changes."
3. Halfway There
Third, our Op-Cop hasn't quite got the whole construct yet. Within the I Do Therefore I Want construct is the concept of conflicting wants. Examples of conflicting wants include:
I want to lose weight, but also want to eat that pizza.

I want to be happy, but I also want to change jobs;
if I were happy I might not quit.

I want to learn piano, but I also want to watch TV.

I want to have a better relationship with my kids,
but I also want to get ahead at work.

I want to get up in the morning and work out;
but I also want to sleep in.
Oftentimes, the reason we don't do what we say we want to do is because we want something else more.

Resolving the Conflict

The key to resolving conflicting wants
is to equitably explore both sides of the
conflict and see what really drives them.

For example, let's say that on the one hand, you want to workout because you want to get healthy. You want to lose weight and look good. You want to be more vibrant and energetic.

On the other hand, you want to sleep in so that you're ready for your day. You don't want to fall asleep at your desk. You want to feel alive and alert.

Were you to explore both wants, you would discover common ground, for example, energy, wakefulness and alertness. You might decide that, by getting up and working out, you would be more awake and alert than you would have been sleeping in.

Moving Past Op-Coppery
As I write this, I keep hearing "Bad-boys, whatcha gonna do..."

I think that the key to avoiding becoming an Op-Cop is to focus your newly (or perhaps not so newly) acquired skills on yourself. Don't worry about fixing anyone else or ensuring that they've got it right. Just use what you've learned to help you.

As you change (becoming more loving, happy and content), any tendencies towards Op-Coppery will dissipate and people will ask you about you and why you're always so happy (really, they will). Then you can offer what you know and be helpful.

Have an amazing Op-Cop-Free Sunday!

1 comment:

  1. I love it! The tough thing is when I am bot enthusiast a and b and I op-cop myself! I have to focus on loving and accepting me with all me stuff so I can shut the op-cop up!

    ReplyDelete

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