Do you get people to do what you want? If not, you failed. In this post, I examine the painful truth that no one likes to admit – their efforts to get others to do what they want are not working.  With repeated failure, we holler, “This person is driving me crazy!” Fortunately, Jesus taught us a spiritual solution that resolves troubles like this.

You have tried your best to get your spouse-parent-child-co-worker-sibling to smarten up and nothing works. Here are some recent examples that have crossed my path:

  • A father wanted his adult son to listen attentively and not look at his cellphone at the same time. Getting angry didn’t stop him.
  • A husband wants his wife to accept that he is telling the truth about a sensitive topic. She remained unconvinced despite his best and most logical arguments.
  • A teacher wanted her student to sit quietly. Instead, he interrupted her teaching several times per hour, every day for weeks.
  • An adult daughter wanted her aging father to stop interfering in her life. Finally, she cut off all communication. Neither is happy about it.

Ask yourself the same question. What is driving you crazy and is what you are doing working? If not, you’re failing.  Failing is the strongest proof we have that we are spiritually blind. We cannot see how to get that person to change their ways. Until we can admit that, we are stuck.  I’ve met people who have relentlessly used the same failed tactics for years and refused to quit or admit they’re failing. I did it myself for years.

The path to getting what you want begins with admitting that the method you are now using isn’t working. If you are not at peace, you can be dead sure this is true for you. Whether you are upset about a specific incident, an entire relationship or life itself, the first step always begins with admitting that you are failing to get what you want.

For most of us, admitting failure scares us. When I coach people on why this is so hard, they typically respond, “I’m afraid that if I admit I’m failing, I’ll give up.” This is what I call the dilemma of the hammer and the doormat.  If I stop hammering (trying hard), then I’ll be a doormat and let them get away with it.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Indeed, with only a modicum of common sense, most of us can see that our current method of getting what we want in our marriage, job or family life is not only failing, it is making things worse!

Jesus gave us a sensible way to get what we want in The First Rule of Inner Peace.  “First take the plank out of your own eye and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Mt 7:5)  This is spiritually sensible. We cannot see because the plank is our biased view of how we believe things ought to be. God is not a participant because we already know the right way things should be done and how we should be treated.

If you want to stop failing, you need to adopt a new way of getting what you want.  The First Rule of Inner Peace is sensible: Peace first, results second.  You’ve already done it. It works every time. But first, you need to be honest with yourself.  Admitting failure is humbling but it is also liberating. Set yourself free today.  Jesus said, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  The First Rule proves his claim to be true, if you actually do it.

May you be at peace today,

🙂 John