It is the start of a new year. Thank goodness. As with any new year, we begin with our New Year’s resolutions. However, I have discovered that while many people are quick to come up with their own New Year’s resolutions, when it comes time to hear their loved one’s resolution, they have this negative attitude that dampens the whole New Year’s resolution thing. They ruin it for everyone with one negative comment:
“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
Because of this, I have decided to bring a class action defamation lawsuit on behalf of all the old dogs. This is an outrage. These comments are being made recklessly without any foundation. How many tricks did these teachers try to teach the old dogs? Was the teacher even a certified new trick teacher? Who is exactly the one who keeps the records of failed attempts of learning new tricks? What even constitutes a “new trick”? Perhaps, it was an old trick that someone thought of saying it was a new trick? Did all of the teachers of the “new tricks” happen to be “young dogs”? I hear that the young dogs have little experience at teaching. They know few of the old tricks, and they are not much good with the new tricks either.
In fact, when a young dog learns a new trick, guess who happens to be the teacher. It is the old dog. In other words, if it is the old dog teaching the young dog the new tricks, the only plausible conclusion is that the old dog was taught the new tricks by another old dog. If an old dog taught the new tricks, the only plausible conclusion we can come to is that an old dog, in fact, can learn the new tricks.
In fact, the real problem, I hear, is that you can’t teach a young dog an old trick. They are only a few months old, and they think they are ready to take over the world. They do not care about the old tricks. They only want to learn the new tricks. They do not realize that you cannot go straight to the new tricks until you learn the old tricks. The “Old School” dogs knew that you had to first learn how to play fetch with a ball before you move up to frisbee. If I had to pick my Ultimate Frisbee team, I would pick the Old Dogs every time.
Seriously, the saying about the “Old Dog” and the “New Tricks” has to do with stubbornness. This is more about the person who does not believe in a New Year’s resolution. This person is more interested in keeping everything the same, even if it does not work. This stubborn person has the false belief that the more things stay the same, the more they can hold to this misconceived notion of power.
However, what happens if we propose to the stubborn person who does not want to change that their New Year’s resolution will be to obtain more power. Of course, this person was quite powerful the year before. However, this year, the person who we call the “Stubborn One” will be even more powerful than that.
The Stubborn One hears this with great interest. “More power for me! I love it! Tell me how!! Sign me up!”
Typically, the Stubborn One is also the Cranky One. The Stubborn One is not only cranky, but is typically ineffectively cranky. Ineffective crankiness means that nobody really hears you, and you become a bit more crankier. You get more consumed with getting your way. You have no time to listen to everyone else. Because you are frustrated by your own stubbornness, you just walk out in frustration, and the only thing on your mind is to figure out how to get your way.
When I titled my book ” A Grownup Guide to Effective Crankiness,” the one implication here is that you need to be a grownup. The first step to effective crankiness in this new year is to accept the responsibility of a grownup. Think of the small child and define some negative qualities of the stubborn cranky child, and then, turn it over and just write down how a grownup would act. The child may not pay attention. The grownup does. The child may grab and demand things. The grownup may ask politely, and say thank you. The child is solely focused on his or her self. The grownup is concerned for others. The child has temper tantrums. The grownup knows how to stay calm when the situation calls for the grownup to be calm.
This is about taking power. This could be the year that we are just the fallen leaf blowing in the wind. Or, it may be the year that we are the tree firmly planted in the ground. The tree is the one who wields all the power.
The best thing about this New Year’s resolution is that it is not about teaching an old dog any new tricks. In fact, the only tricks that an old dog has to learn and re-learn are those tricks much older than the dog.