Curated Leadership for Today's World

livin la vida laissez

Posted on 08 May 2012

motivationalapathycoalitionThe phrase laissez-faire is French and broadly implies "let it be", or "leave it alone." Helen Keller put it perfectly, “Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings.” Death by neglect is the most painful death of all. It is like dying as a result of one million paper cuts versus one swift, fatal stab to the heart. It’s irritating, agonizingly slow, and open to septic infections every step of the way.

I’ve worked for some laissez-faire companies, the ones that refuse to get involved even when they’ve been alerted something is wrong. I once wrote a letter to a CEO describing some very real issues going on in his organization after the chain dismissed my concerns. The only response he had for me was, “What do you want me to do about it?” The apathy is obvious. If the bosses don’t care, why should the employees?

The laissez-faire mentality can extend to matters of the heart as well. Are you a laissez-faire lover, meaning your relationship isn’t worth investing in? You just let it spiral down the drain until somebody files divorce paperwork or you just lead separate lives under the same roof. You can lead a laissez-faire home life as well, where you just go with the flow and refuse to deal with any of the issues in your life. Maybe as a parent you choose not to exert a strong parental influence; or maybe you allow a bad habit to form and grow into an addiction than slowly takes your life.

The greatest leaders of all time provoke one of two reactions: you either love
motivationalapathy them so much you’re willing to die for their cause or you hate them so much you wish them non-existent. As Napoleon Bonaparte so eloquently said, “Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever.” When you chose the laissez-faire lifestyle you’re like the fig tree in the Parable from Luke’s Gospel, all leaf and no fruit. The end result is destruction.

There is a sure-fire way to cure this malaise. In his motivational classic, Life Is Tremendous, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones says there are only three decisions we make in our entire lifetime. They are: who am I going to live my life with; what am I going to live my life in; and who am I going to live my life for. Once you commit to your life partner (and for us single gals it sure can be to ourselves) you are no longer a laissez-faire lover. You will work and fight to honor the vow you took. Once you decide what you are going to live your life in, your job becomes a passion and you realize that every workplace act is a reflection of your character and a chance to serve others. Once you decide who you are going to live your life for, you become full of passion for that goal, idea, or entity. And passion is the antithesis of laissez-faire.

So quit sitting there watching the seconds tick by. This is your one shot at life so make every aspect of it count. My father used to joke that a lot of people are walking around this planet dead long before they’re buried, but thank God he made it so we don’t stink until we’re put in the ground. Hang around great people and read great books to get you out of the laissez-faire lifestyle and soon you’ll be marveling at the newfound taste of living a fruitful and committed life.

More Posts

6 comments

  • Mike Sparrow: February 20, 2016

    A very real danger in today’s and yesterday’s societies. Made me think of the frog in the water in a pan on the stove. Nicely written!

  • Mark Armstrong: February 20, 2016

    Ha! Diagnosis confirmed!! : )

  • traceyjones: February 20, 2016

    Yes it’s the old, if you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything routine:-) Glad you liked my Dad’s quote. I always thought it was the funniest line ever. Sometimes I use it thought and folks just look at me…..and I want to say, “See! That’s what I’m talking about!” :-)

  • Mark Armstrong: February 20, 2016

    Tremendous!! For some reason, that word comes to mind… : )

    Laissez-faire… now why does that make me think of “tolerance,” the modern buzzword for accepting all sorts of drivel rather than insisting upon excellence??

    The most sobering aspect of this post was the idea that one can take a laissez-faire attitude toward one’s own behavior: “allowing a bad habit to form and grow into an addiction.” Man! Now there’s a killer truth that we all conveniently sweep under the self-destructive carpet…

    Another wonderfully thought-provoking post, Tracey, thanks. And your dad’s quip about thank God we don’t stink till we’re put in the ground was an absolute killer!!! : )

  • traceyjones: February 20, 2016

    Thank you Mike! Always tremendous to hear from you.

  • traceyjones: February 20, 2016

    LOL, correct Dr. Armstrong!!

Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing


How much is:
Answer:*

Let us know you're human

How much is: Answer:*

Search our store