Our Positions in Life

Simon Sinek lecture

Simon Sinek told a great story “Remember who you are” in which a former undersecretary of defense was offered a Styrofoam cup for coffee at a conference, although previously when he was in office, he was offered the coffee in a beautiful ceramic cup. He realized that the ceramic cup was not for him, it was for the position he was holding. In Simon’s words,

“As you become more successful, as you do well in life, you will be afforded many advantages. People will call you sir and madam, carry your luggage, people will hold doors open for you, they’ll bring you a cup of tea without you even asking but it’s not meant for you. It’s meant for the position you hold. When you move on they will give them to the person who replaces you. Never ever forget that you only ever deserve a Styrofoam cup.”

You can find his talk below. I realize that this is a general concept and is true in some areas outside our professional careers as well. For each position we hold in life, we are viewed according to that position which many a times is different than our own selves. For example, a father is viewed as a role model and sort of a superhero by his children when they are young. The view changes with his and their age and is completely different when the man becomes old and fragile, even though this is the same person from inside.

This reaffirms the value of our emotional bank accounts with each child. I learned the concept of emotional bank account in Stephen Covey’s 7 habits of highly effective people. Each time we treat the child in a good manner, we deposit something positive in that emotional bank account. Each time we behave in a manner we shouldn’t (e.g., screaming), we withdraw something from that emotional bank account. Parents whose relationships with their children are strong and close have highly invested in depositing large sums in their emotional bank accounts when it was time to do that.

However, a person probably stays the same in the circle of their close friends, probably because they are aging together and going through different experiences of life all around the same time.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *