Ecology is the study of consequences on the wider system. If you imagine that there is a circle and you are inside the circle. Surrounding your circle is a wider circle that contains ‘others’ and surrounding both your circle and the ‘other’s’ circle is a third circle which contains the greater good. When we talk about ecology, we’re looking at those three different circles (you, others and the greater good). If we are thinking about doing the right thing to do, the question we would be asking is, is this good for me, is it good for others and does it serve the greater good? If the answer to any of those questions is ‘No’ then it’s likely there may be trouble ahead.
It may be that the thing that you want to do, isn’t going to be right for others around you. Sometimes doing the right thing might be right for everybody else but not yourself! This is something I can help you to understand and work through at my therapy practice in Hemel Hempstead.
There will be situations where doing the right thing for yourself instead of doing the right thing for others is okay. This is where it starts to get a bit more complex, it comes down to what happens if you don’t take care of yourself. If you’re on an aircraft and the oxygen mask comes down, you should put your own on before you put on other people’s masks. Because if you’re not going to be in a good place then do you continue to bring value to others? Doing the right thing for yourself first and putting yourself ahead of others might actually be the right thing to do because it may mean that in the future you serve or save others more because you first took care of yourself.
What that means is that sometimes doing the right thing might feel wrong because it may feel as if you are being mean and it might feel as if you are exercising tough love. What I think is really important here is thinking about the longer-term ramifications of the decisions that you take when you are doing or thinking of what the right thing is going to be for you to do. It’s not just about what will this do right now and tomorrow and next week but beyond that and sometimes in doing the right thing, it’s also about taking a risk because we don’t know what the future is going to look like, we can’t plan for that and we can’t think about the implications. A good NLP coach will be able to help you think through the consequences of your decision.
For example, in my other company, we became very successful at writing applications for funding, both for ourselves as a company and also for the other organisations who wanted to apply for funding in order that they could work with us. The downside of doing that whilst I felt very encouraged to do so as it helps low-income families and children, we were breaking the rules. Each organisation should be writing their own application. They shouldn’t have been using an outside bid writer i.e me in order to do it. However, a part of me knows we were serving the greater good and therefore we did the right thing.
The difference between the right thing and the wrong thing is not always as clear as black and white it’s very often in that weird grey area too.
By Gemma Bailey