The Power of Balance

A conversation with Manfred Kets De Vries, Professor of leadership development and organizational change at INSEAD,

April 26, 2021 stephen barden Season 1 Episode 4
The Power of Balance
A conversation with Manfred Kets De Vries, Professor of leadership development and organizational change at INSEAD,
Show Notes Transcript

I recently sat down with the author of the“CEO Whisperer” and Insead distinguished professor Manfred F.R Kets De Vries whose fascinating work focuses on leaders, leadership and the dynamics of individual and organisational change. 

As we both spend much of our time dealing with leadership, top teams and corporate leaders, we had a lot to discuss. 


0:03  
In the fourth episode of the series on power and leadership, Steven Barden talks to Professor Manfred F.R Kets De Vries, distinguished professor of leadership development and organisational change it in INSEAD.

0:17  
In a world where leaders seem to me to be overwhelmingly measured by outcome by the degree of success, or reward they bring to whatever dominant interest is represented in in their organisation or country or institution. It seems to me that rather than focus on outcome, you went your career went focusing on the interface between actor activity, and yes, the result is that is that right?

0:54  
You complicate six, I take a look at everything. Now. I mean, I got interested in leadership, there's not many years ago, probably influenced by my mentor at the time who wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review. And managers or leaders, are they different than one the McKinsey award, apparently, and he has this image of this glorious leader, actually this kind of distinction people make between transactional leaders and transformational leaders. And of course, if you really go back, you can go to the work of Max vabre. But charisma and of course, you can argue that

1:30  
his charisma, such a good thing, when you look at some of those charismatic leaders, we see, I'd like you think about the the charismatic leader in India. And do you think, do you think that he has one single example the charismatic leader in Turkey, and the charismatic leader in Hungary, so you can go on, but he had this idea about

1:49  
and that's, I think, not so bad was men called burns, who wrote a classical book on leadership, which wanted, I think, Pulitzer Prize or something like that, about transactional transformational. And then later on other author mentioned and thinkers, like Qatar and,

2:06  
and also was the name again, it was at the Harvard Kennedy School talks about adaptive leadership, which high fat, high fat, they make these kinds of distinctions. Now, I mean, in a way, I can, you know, we you think about a country, which is very stable, like Switzerland, I have no idea who the President is. I don't know the name. And maybe that's the sign and I always argue that leadership is a team sport. And I think, actually, you can be the most charismatic individual. But if you're in a leadership position, people start to use their fantasies. And they of course, comes my, some of my clinical training becomes sometimes in handy that people project their fantasies on leader which is, you know, the, in psychoanalysis, you talk about transference, which is,

3:00  
to quote you, the Alpha and Omega of psychotherapy, meaning I can tell you, Steve, that you have a bounce in your head where you're five years old, and as a result, you're totally crazy. But you say that's quite nice to hear. That is fantastic. But you it doesn't help you very much, actually, maybe a little bit may have some, some explanation was not enough. But if I tell you behave strangely, because you always had fights with your father or something like that, or you had a competitive streak, feasibly an older brother or whatever it might be, I have no idea about your background, I'm just synthesising.

3:34  
And that might be a gives you some ideas why you know why you always get irritated or whatever it might be, that might be more helpful. So we have a tendency, which is probably also from an evolutionary psychological point of view, to idealise a person in a position of power. That's what you like power. And, and, and particularly when they sort of anxiety. And of course, we are just every every century is is anxiety, but we don't know badly at the moment, we have still the nucleus fat like North Korea and a failed state like Pakistan, we're also running around there,

4:14  
then you have

4:18  
of concern the environment we realise that we can really blow up not just in a nuclear way our environment by doing horrible things to the environment. And then we have

4:30  
now we have lots of violence, all those

4:33  
terror groups, and plus, which is actually an invitation to,

4:39  
to

4:44  
kind of disorder to say that we use that word is income inequality. And income inequality has not has not diminished so and then and then of course, the pandemic at the moment. So there are a lot of things to be anxious about. And when people are anxious, we

5:00  
In evolutionary trade, we look for the following two dependency modes and we look for a leader who you can only fantasise has the power to get us through these tough times. And that, of course, the thing is, and you know, that's very well, since you have studied power extensively, you know, the old statement by Lord Acton, power corrupts absolute power corrupts absolutely. Most people can't handle power. And they and that's the I mean, I had an article an article about me this weekend in the figure org. And something that I said, every leader needs a full. And of course,

5:38  
suddenly, is might have a full book, they'd be heading very quickly. They want to hear what they want. They want to hear good news. And that is the problem. Many leaders suffer from the famous Greek word hubris, they, they become too full of themselves. And it's your it's not easy to keep your head

6:00  
when you are in a powerful position. So coming back to your question, I think the question really comes down to is the leader, the driver of the bus, or just the passenger of the bus? And you can say

6:15  
that much what is happening in organisation is not up to the leader. It's maybe it's, you know, there's a lot of things like the economy might have a look lucky. And of course, the comment becomes, to quote Warren Buffett, when when the tide goes out to see who's who's swimming naked, interesting what you were saying about about charisma. And then I want to talk about a couple of things like, Yes, of course. But

6:42  
for example, I was reading the other day historian, Lawrence Reese, who talked about charisma, and he sees charisma, and not very far from what you were saying, as a dialogue, if you like, between the dialogue between the so called charismatic leader, and the unfulfilled needs of the audience. So that in he points out that Hitler was, you know, the pathetic figure of Hitler in April 1919, in Munich, living in the attic of Munich, was no different from the one who was in trancing. At 1000s, of 1000s of people in Germany in 1937 38. What changed? Were these

7:26  
so called unfulfilled needs or fantasies or fantasies of the nation rather than him? Would you? Would you agree with that? No, very much. So. I mean, it's usually the interface of taking the historical moments. And I think, also Trump was, you know, he's not necessarily the brightest, but he also but he had a good German word assumed his folks and Finland, I think it must be Nazi comes from the Nazi period. The hell see, you know, the Halsey experience of the people I think.

7:58  
And and so, now, so to hear you have a sense of the Zeitgeist and of course, Trump picked up the the educated white male, who felt he was losing out. And so he picked up the themes and of course, what you do always, I mean, it's over and over again, then perhaps the prescription is so easy, it is splitting, you know, the, in when you think about psychological defence mechanism, the most primitive on splitting, so if the people is the right cowboy hats and the black cowboy hats, and of course, there's always danger out there. So you kind of get seen a phobic reaction scapegoating. And it's a fantastic way of binding ago, I mean, Freud wrote, wrote about that about civilization discontents many years ago, but it's really the way with with every dictate oriented person and things go bad, just find an enemy. And that's a way of getting the crowd excited.

8:59  
And so this dialogue is a very basic psychological process, coming back to how do you manage your anxiety? How do you

9:10  
it has to do also with how do you can? Can you speak for yourself? So you have the courage to I mean, there's so much mental contagion taking place, think about all the things happening

9:25  
in history of humankind, for the country I come from yet is crazy tulipmania but yet lots of these maniacs and and when you look at the film and coming back to Hitler, this film made by his propagandist Gribble, who was of course, the propaganda minister, but Leni Riefenstahl, Triumph of the will. And look at the rallies of Trump. They're so similar. It's the same same process and I find it very scary in my one of the books is not a little crazy since I have three books are being edited at the same time at the moment, but

10:00  
One of the books I really write quite a bit about human contagion how, how contagious, I mean, there's some people in Italy who talked about mirror neurons that we tend to mirror and you can see it in, if you go to Africa and see large herds of animals actually can see is also when you look at swarms of birds, how we how peep out how does animals mirror each other, it's and of course, then try to be in the centre, because the outside of the Earth is where the lion will strike or something like that you try to put yourself into everything. But this is this is I think, we have this kind of mirror neurons, which also might be against is a little bit tentative. The idea ID so those researchers in Italy, that it always

10:47  
explains also the empathic side of us, by the way, we have empathy. So

10:54  
but, you know, that's the, you know, the, the ability for me is having courage. That's when everybody is saying this, you know, having courage to stand out and say, This is not right. This is wrong, and to live according to your values. I mean, to be frank, if you live according to your values, you feel better you skin. Because think about the people around Trump, what kind of contortions they had to go through in that court of Trump? Any? I mean, I was I was amazed by a son in law, who had figured him out. Every assert sentence was the great precedent, basically, the great precedent, and you know, the prescription for keeping him happy will stay simple when you have narcissistic personality disorder, and never never given is one site. Aren't you making an assumption that?

11:45  
Is it? Is it dangerous for us to make an assumption that people all have values of some get we have values as in this is more important than that? But do people all have fixed? It's a dangerous thing to ask? Do people have have clear fixed ethics? Or are they in fact, influenced at the time by where either their interest rate lie or their safety lies? You're making, if you look at the Trump that's fake, it's a vague point. But you know, the now the might you know, it's very hard to generalise in the first place that opportunists who feel they would like to be close to the sources of power and goodies, you know, there's goodies like power, they like what is it? Which of course, again, evolutionary psychology it had to do, who has to do with procreation?

12:41  
Where's the resources gets gets to the women, that's it, that's basically And in a way, like it or not required still some primitive human be human beings, there might be a number of people who are totally convinced, you know, they basically, and the mind is a funny saying we have we have a great capacity for compartmentalization, rationalisation why we do certain things, even though, but in general, we get our values from our parents that they instil certain values in his, in his, in us, and and our teachers. Now, sometimes you are not lucky, you might be lucky. Sometimes you they are not exactly the best of all models. So you might say I want to do, this is exactly what I don't want, I want to be very different. Now, the sad thing is that when you look at

13:36  
this the famous poem of Larkin, yeah, no, have you ever heard it about the fact you have your mom and dad. So I think 50% of the population does the same fuckup to the children. So some escape, some escapes are there to give them their own houses. So some get out of it? It has to do really,

13:58  
when you look at for example, I've looked at people who had the my class which I own this C suite seminar for so many years. And you wonder

14:08  
that given the circumstances, how they managed to get out. And usually what I see is that I get the parents might be totally screw ups, you know, but there was somewhere an uncle, an aunt, a teacher, who really had an interest in the in the girl boy, whatever. And that made the difference. And that gives the person some hope, and made him made him or her more resilient. So So those are some of the what it's, you know, I The older I get the more reluctant I am to generalise although in the case of Trump is not so different, because he was invoking narcissistic personality disorder. I mean, it's a classical, if you take the Handbook of psychiatrists, it was all there.

14:54  
I found throughout the time, both when I was both when I was a so called corporate leader, and then when I went in

15:00  
To into the coaching,

15:02  
the whole thing of this what I call the outward in mode of leadership development where we, we we have, you know, we talk about models, whether they're leadership traits, or whether they're personality assessments or whether they're models of analysis, and whether they're case studies. And sometimes makes me feel as if we're asking people and organisations to sort of,

15:27  
to learn to emulate these models, rather than to be to find the depths of and do the job if you like. So they were asking them always to be good mimics to be good actors good book performance. Because, you know, if you're telling me that these are the 27 vowels, or 27, or six personality traits of a good leader, or if you're asking, saying to me, this is the normal personality trait

15:56  
of a leader, what do you expect me to do with it? Do you expect me to go, oh, I'll just copy it, and I'll become a good leader? Or

16:06  
is this what we've done is this by, in many ways, it see feels to me that, because we're so focused on outcome and outcome and outcome,

16:17  
that we create these generalised models, and then say, perform according to that model.

16:24  
But you, but you could see if you could have some sense of humility, which is,

16:29  
and realise,

16:32  
you know, there is no saying no, perfection is a terrible thing. And you I mean, they weren't good enough, is much better. And so what you could figure out, which is the reason I tried to create reflective leaders, as some of the things which you enjoy, which gives you a sense of notice, is man, this is Gary a name was at University of Chicago, check, check, send me highly, very difficult name to pronounce a sense of flow, and other things you couldn't care less for. And actually, I developed, we can rather popular, I developed once and I have developed a number of 360 questionnaires coming back to you to your characteristics, and which really was a way of helping the coaches when I was the head of the global leadership Centre in south to

17:26  
injury was we didn't have much, we couldn't give too much time, because it's expensive. It's not mass production, I can, I've taught once to 20,000 people. Now that's mass production, there was an Olympic Stadium in Moscow. But normally coaching, and group coaching, and as I be an advocate of group coaching, and probably one of the founders of it, I think five people in a day, that's about it. But as you know, coaching can be expensive. So I wanted to help them to have some kind of kickstart. So they and so I developed a number of questionnaires come back to your characteristics, and one is the global global executive leadership mirror in which I look at characters How well are you imagining yourself,

18:10  
your, your team, your organisation, and the environment around it. So you have all different kinds of things. And it's also included is their procedure performance, and some write write up sections of which I find sometimes really interesting meet, what can essentially continue doing, what essentially the phrase develop and what you should eliminate, you eliminate and I use it quite a bit with the extra McKinsey and they they were very good, they will loan love letters to each other about what each there's practice that obviously not like many other executives who write some, if you're lucky, get a few lines and that's about it. But then that was the other question, I got the leadership architect questionnaire, which was in a way of follow up,

18:55  
in which I looked at different stylistic elements and, and was actually the reason I wrote that up was in a consultation I had is a very large company want to know what was so special about them. And so, they want me to write a report about a corporate culture. So and it made me very much aware when I talked to the chairman or the Executive Chairman. I remember I had a very hard time understanding Am I not completing idiot by the way talking abstractions, it was difficult to follow him which went what went through my mind was how does this person talk to his people and it was not a nice It was not a high bar company does not hire but a large company but not hyper I will not talk about rocket scientist or there so he had to talk to speak. Also, I had when I did this report, I had to travel around and I remember being in in the northern parts of the United States flushing through the snow. And normally the the person who was doing it was running, cleaning up the mess there of that company. They had to quiet it.

20:01  
Wouldn't be playing golf in a nice warm environment. So I said to the executive chairman, maybe you should say thank you to this gentleman. So now, I will do this kind of thing. I mean, I there's nothing there's not me here, because before I say that he might knock on my door again, amongst more more thank yous. But what I realised is,

20:21  
is that, that he, he knew about what's called an executive role constellation. So while he was the person was a great strategist, and a great deal maker, he he was not a coach. And but he had the VP Human Resources resource, it would run around the world, and say, I love you, I love you, I love you. So I compensated for that. Also, I was, I remember meeting him in Davos at the World Economic Forum. And there was a tall lady walking behind them. And she turned out to be the VP communication, she would simplify things. So you play different roles, I remember was working for a bank, which had to be reorganised because of certain, not completely proper actions. And so basically, the, the first layer had to go and the second part of the second layer had to go so and they brought in a person from another country to clean up the mess. And he, he was not a strategist, he was not a dealmaker.

21:19  
He was not an innovator, whatever, no, you're not an enterpreneur, which all different roles you can play. But he was a very good coach, and a good communicator. And that was what they needed. And by the end, he was very, he was said, I basically, it was a friend, large organ and large bank was a small bank. Now I know, I know, I know exactly my top 50, maybe 100 people, and I'm trying to balance you know, their roles and try to make it work. So I come back to the comment I made earlier, that leadership is really a team sports. And so and you only know really, if it's a team sport, if you recognise what you're not so good at. And that means it means a journey into yourself. Now, what are my strengths? What are my weaknesses? And how can I create? And there's another part where you can measure them? How can I How can I we can how can we create a team culture coaching culture, that people are willing to be somewhat vulnerable and talk about what they need to do that so we can set you can create contacts with each other, so we can help each other. And that is what we need, because there are too many organisations and I keep on repeating the question that says, What bothers me about a Gallup poll, 85% of the people at work in the world are not engaged. And it's and that means, you know, you have a bunch of zombies running around, I go through the motions, but really, they're not engaged, they don't feel safe, they don't trust people, et cetera, et cetera. And so that has really been my, my major theme in organisational life. What can I do to create what I've called,

22:53  
talk about narcissism, and the authentic zoetic organisation, which is a Greek word I've created, or senticosus articles, an organisation where you feel alive. And to me, to me, the acid 10 acid test, I can tell you actually anecdotes

23:11  
of people have told me they've told me I told them the times I wants TO Can I flew to Denmark. And and I got a taxi, it was in consultation. And so you go in the person says, not very difficult to figure out which companies, you go to bugs, right. Ah, you go into this company there. It's a company Novo Nordisk to be a company that makes and against diabeetus. Nobody said, Yes, it's such a fantastic company. My brother works there. My father used to work there. And I would love to work there. And for this 30 minutes or so, the taxi guy, he kept on raving about this company, how fantastic. I mean, what else do you want? People, if you have a company like that, you don't have too much spread much cost on hiring people, unless you're a masochist. You know, some people like to be in bed. But this was just the best advertisement they could have. That, you know, this, people are probably more reluctant to leave. And so also, when people feel engaged, they work harder, and less I send us your masterpiece. But it's, I mean, other if you want to. So this is fantastic. So, to me, the acid test to summarise it is if you say I want my friends and family to work in the company, that's the case saying, Now, of course, a company should not be in your sing Kumbaya every evening and dance around to whatever, you have to make profit. I mean, it's interesting. There was an article two weeks ago in, I think, two weeks ago now in the newspaper that the head of the genome, which is I think, a very good company with good values has been fired. And and you know, and

25:00  
Basically what happened is that they compare the results with other companies like Nestle. And they will not ask you as good. But you know, and so you can, of course, say no profit is purpose. But you have to mean as a public company, and you have all different kinds of you know more about a corporate investors, you know, sometimes haters were very impatient. It's that reason that that's the reason maybe family firms do better in crisis, because they have a longer,

25:31  
longer time horizon. I was always I was always, you know, you always think about family control firms avoid nepotism seems like that. But you know, you can manage that to some extent, if it's done wisely.

25:43  
Talk about multi generational companies, but they have a longer time horizon. So the more patient and the nightmare, of course, for many CEOs is the quarterly results, and how is the pressure put on you, and of course, then you start to manipulate it. And of course, family organisation like, like, as very good corporate

26:03  
organisation institutions, see success as taking the whole organisation for not just the interests of the shareholders, not just the interests of the management, they take the whole organisation forward. And that, that for me in when I when somebody asked me to define what success means in an organisation, it is, how do you take this entire organisation forward, and by the way, you know, that organisation may have to include, and probably doesn't include, you know, the suppliers, the providers, because that needs to be sustained as well, the context needs to be sustained as well. You talked about,

26:44  
actually, let me say something about what's interesting that I had this student of mine who is in the media business, who when the pandemic stuck, and he's not necessarily didn't strike nose as a brave individual said, You know,

26:59  
I have courage, he said, I'm not going to fire anybody. I'm not like you talk about the suppliers, I keep, I maintain suppliers. And by even going to help the local hospitals to get to know the BP and things like that, plus, I'm going to take a salary cut, and my top executive team is taking Sara Lee got to set the example. I mean, that is, you know, that was an,

27:21  
of course, this company was partially family owned. So that's helped. So you could do more. And that's one of the problems when you get fe excited when I think about some people in my in the finance department in my school about still screaming about shareholder value in now. There's Milton Friedman,

27:39  
and whatever the one who was at Harvard Business School where he just keeping repressing his name, who eventually he was the he was the advocate of it eventually said that was not a good idea, notion, stakeholder value. And keeping a key point, Michael, Michael, Michael, something. But he was the advocate, he was a professor of economics at the business school. And he also was flag waving the flag of shareholder value. Of course, it's simple, as you know, it's simpler. But that's not our world anymore.

28:10  
Talking about right, you know, when you talk to our leaders with different functions, I mean, that's when people promote, you know, when leaders go in, CEOs go in and promote shareholder value, they're actually they're actually agents. They are there as agents of, of shareholders, when they go in there promotes you know, their own self interest, there are their own agents, they're not leaders, leaders, tend leaders have to by definition, in my view, yes, of course, you're going to get sectional leaders. But if you're if you're an organisational leader, with authority, you have to take the entire organisation forward, you have no choice. It's somebody said to me, I remember once saying to me, that he was involved in an MBA MBA, oh,

28:56  
or a sale or sale of the organisation, and the shareholders were saying, you got to maximise our values. And he said, I don't have I don't have that sort of luxury of the choice. I've got to make sure that the organisation survives, and you get your return, and everybody else lives and the purpose of the organisation summit, and I think that's talking about, about, that takes courage as well. I mean, it's the problem has always always been the greed factor. And,

29:25  
you know, if you're the CEO of a public of a public company, you know, as well as I do, I can manipulate you know, your compensation system. Now. It's now you managed further God came famous article mentioned for the short term, and you basically destroyed the company. And that is, and unfortunately, the non executive directors, happy SDRs being chosen to be directed to the company, so happy that they don't do anything until it's the CATA stove. That's what it is they all sitting here on eggshells, posturing a little bit. I've been there.

30:00  
It's it's

30:03  
not a very mean, you see it over and over again. I think you said it reminded me suddenly you said, I think in an interview with the FT I think we talked about, never hire a hungry consultant to remember because, you know, their best interest is to stay in place not to go away. It's,

30:22  
yeah, you have to self destruct. But I mean, that's not the case I've seen in consultancy form the base is nothing bad, by the way, you have chemistry between you and some people in your organisation. But you know, I always tell CEOs or whatever be, you know, you, you need to have a fixed, right, when you hire a consulting firm, you want to have to do certain specific things for them, and then they should go, now it doesn't hurt. And that's all I give a coaching and consulting gets a little bit tricky. I mean, I'm, you know, I've been training so many coaches, quote, unquote, but I'm, I'm certainly

31:03  
not a fairy. Again, not very religious I, I go from going from coaching, to actually therapy, to consulting, I mean, I float a float in different directions. When I as I see fit, which might be the right thing. You know, it's, I mean, I try to keep in mind all the time, what we what would be the interest of the organisation, what would help the organisation survive? And what can I do to help that because particularly, by the way, if you have families, situated family businesses, where I've been often involved in the major family dramas, Father, Son, brothers, sisters, I mean, big fights. And if that's the case, now, the executive team is below that. And they wonder what to do. I mean, they're pulled in all different directions. And then of course, you have to keep in mind 10s of 1000s of people are dependent on that company. And then the way they are acting, they might wander into the ground. So I'm not being very I'm not being very religious, I move back and forth. And, of course, coach is supposed to be a sounding board and ask with questions, all those glorious things. But

32:09  
so coaching, I can see that, as a leader of an organisation, you and I have a few of them, people who do that they want to have somebody, they can chat with certain things, who is completely outside and is not hungry. I mean, I just signed a contract today. And I didn't want to actually, but I felt a little bit committed, because I had been, had been in some kind of courtship. And so and I said, Can I do it? So I said, I know the person needs it, because it's a family controlled firm. And its goal has been growing fairly rapidly. And it's and also has now you get the usual things. typical thing you have. Now you have an entrepreneurial father usually sets up the business has some children, and they all go into the business. And then things start to get messy, because the children, the children, have spouses, and also children. And that becomes a real different than you need something else, you need to have some some kind of government some sort of rules and regulations otherwise divorcing, explodes, now reacts to gags and see generations. That's the famous statement. And that's fatal. large percentage of the company's does I think, 30% survives, search the search generation.

33:27  
And it's almost, you know, just sort of sad to say it almost the same, the same dramas, or, you know, Tolstoy said that every every happy family is alike and everyone happy family is very special, but in other similar dramas, and you come back to power, your your your comment about power, when you are usually a father, and can you let go of power? engage you in a graceful way? Can you do that? Is it is it possible for you? Can you earn board? have you shown your your sons from a very early age that you're not going to let go of? Or you're not going to let them explore and the next thing, girls do better? By the way? If sweet girls No, that's not gonna happen. JACK depends on the culture, but their relationship isn't so far in that respect, very often that but the oldest song in family businesses very often get quote unquote, castrated. Yeah, that's very often the case unfortunately.

34:25  
I've seen a number of examples of that. I think, I think, certainly, where the commonality for me in the research that I did was the were the, the family or that context, if that early context allowed these children to explore within a relatively safe space but allow them to explore allow them to to form their opinions and to be heard and to make space for themselves. That's when they turned out to be to be much more effective leaders have actually made

35:00  
Then, instead of working in competition with their world, if you'd like they worked in partnership with it. They did. They cooperated with it much more than then the competitive leaders. I always said that the people that I, the most successful ones I said were never competed. They weren't, they didn't like they didn't compete. They may kill you if you get in the way, but they won't compete.

35:24  
I mean, I was what they, you know, the what you say is fake, correct about giving the children space. I mean, often it's like, I remember one of my students once said, Now I'm in my office, there is the birth of my great grandfather, my grandfather, my father's empty space for me. He says, I had no choice I was, you know, and duty he wanted. Now.

35:48  
I think if you have some fantasies, as a parent, that your children go into the family business, in the first place, you have only one life and they should leave the incarnation. So you have to give them space to give them some, at least gives great illusion of space. Because that's the problem. There's so many subtle signals always given at the breakfast table and whatever it might be, which the children of course pick up, that's what the expectations are. They might be sent on a mission to do certain things for their parents. So it is but it's very tough. Because you know, we all

36:25  
it has all to do with I taught at certain levels about the the cells motor fate cells sells motivated called death. And this Estelle's motivator is hanging as a cloud above us. And that, that forces many of us to create some meaning in our life. And also, it's so hard for us to envision that you're going to die, as is very difficult to envision. And so we have and so when you look at the history of, of humankind, is all desperate attempts to push that source away.

37:02  
It was actually interesting, Voltaire was not exactly a religious person on his deathbed. So maybe I'll tell you a story was by priest asked him to swear of the devil and greatest soul to God. And he said, it's no time to make new enemies. So that was a very good response. And of course, I know if you ever read a book on deedar, which is a strange book he wrote,

37:27  
which was the famous statement and many different interpretations about cultivate cultivating your garden. But

37:35  
I guess I interpreted the videos, but get your house in order first before you go into do grandiose things. I mean, it is, it is an Of course, it was a very surrealistic book. Because this consider and so every single rapes, murder, everything you could think of, which was actually the way the way the world was, and it kept on having an optimistic point of view, it is completely unbelievable. But in the end, he said, You have to cultivate your own go get your own house. And then I tell my students to when they come to me, Stephen, they say I want to become a charismatic leader and I start to laugh.

38:11  
And whatever I said, you know, if you want to come to me to become a transformational charismatic leader, whatever, don't come to me go to someone else is also a snake oil salesmen around who will peddle some of those, those those those things to you. But if you want to learn something about yourself, and as a result,

38:28  
you know, start to react differently to situations which might, which might improve your relationships, although, that might be but not going to be quickie is not, I don't have three lessons to become for salvation. That's not me. It is actually an it's a journey. And this journey can take quite some time and, and not necessarily an Happy journey, always. But do you what do you want? Do you want to fall? Or do you want to jump? And I prefer to jump because you have some control falling, you have no control? And that's really, what do you do you want to deal with the demons inside you?

39:04  
Or you.

39:06  
You want the demons to come out without you knowing it? That's really the choices we have. So better, you know, have some sense what your demons are, it's part of you, but manage them carefully.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai