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  • Writer's pictureRobert Stevenson

Necessary Evils

Robert Stevenson Blog - Don't Let you own worst enemy live between your ears

A “Necessary Evil” is an evil that must be allowed for a greater good to result; you may not like something, but you understand it’s necessary. Some examples of a “Necessary Evil” would be - Insurance, Root Canals, Speed Bumps, Colonoscopy, Taxes, Government, Changing Diapers, Exercise, and Work.

All of these, in some way, shape, or form … serve a purpose, because without them, problems can occur. To some of us, a necessary evil would seem to be a contradictory statement simply because, if something is necessary it can't be evil and, if it is evil, it can't be necessary. I’ll let the philosophers of the world debate that statement.

The reason why I bring up “Necessary Evils” today is because we need to learn to deal with them. I have slowly and reluctantly learned over the years, that if I can’t change it, then I need to deal with it and move on. Mark Twain is often credited with saying, “Eat a live frog the first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”

That phrase was first coined by Nicolas Chamfort and has been adapted as a useful principle in management training. Attributing the frog to your worst task, some trainers believe the best work habit you can ever have is … to do your worst (hardest) task first thing in the morning. Management and training guru, Brian Tracy, even wrote a book on the subject entitled, Eat That Frog.

I don’t care how you look at it, a “necessary evil” or a “frog,” the fact is … it needs to be dealt with. Sticking your head in the sand, worrying about, dreading it, ignoring it, wishing it would go away, will only lead to BIGGER problems later. So, why not “reframe” the necessary evil into something positive; look at how happy you will be with the results once it is dealt with. Simply stated, the sooner you deal with it, the better off you’ll be.

Numerous studies have shown that people who have undergone coronary by-pass surgery, ONLY ONE OUT OF NINE PATIENTS adopt healthier habits, even though they almost died. With all this going on, you would think these “at risk” people would make adjustments to embrace a healthier lifestyle ... but they don't; most everyone fights, fears, or resists change. It would seem that their own worst enemy is living right between their ears.

Now and Later Buttons

Everyone needs to deal with necessary evils; but successful people deal with them NOW. Procrastination will kill any career, project or goal. Success is a choice. The key you press will determine just how successful you will be. Instead of the keys being labeled, LATER and NOW, they should be labeled FAIL and SUCCEED. I hope by understanding what the keys “Later” and “Now” really represent, “NOW” will always be your choice; the sooner you deal with “necessary evils” the sooner you’ll be successful.


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