Guest Post: Enablers

Enabler MedalEnablers are people that allow you to continue your losing ways; babying you and bailing you out. Enablers allow you to continue making the same mistakes and never having the guts to tell you where you really stand – never having the balls to let you know that you are screwing up or that you just might need to put your head down and do some actual work.

In “our” world, enablers are most apparent in the mainstream. These are companies that promise that you will “speak fluent French without boring drills or actual work” or that “every time you go for a swim, dolphins will appear”. These are individuals selling a concept that assures “You won’t have to change a thing!” in order to be awesome.

Most of us reading this recognize this claptrap. We all roll our eyes at the commercials and the magazine ads. We know it’s not about a type of booze or an article of clothing. And there is a sense of pride in this because WE are not getting duped. But that’s not the only place where enablers lurk.

Unfortunately, the enabler exists in the business world. It exists within companies – guys too scared to tell the “top dog” that he is a douchebag and that he has the brain of a small child. This happens all the time in academia. An alpha student “runs” a group with young pups that follow his lead and make sure his pencil is sharpened and his coffee is filled. This is the guy that rarely makes anything of himself because the people around him are too busy being cheerleaders and “Yes Men” to be real, critical colleagues.

The enabler exists in athletics. The coach, agent, friends and hangers-on tell the athlete he is “goin’ to the league”. They keep his head full of dreams, in the clouds rather than in the books and the hard work at hand. Bad grades? No worries, you’re getting drafted son.

Enablers exist as parents who never let the kids get hurt or fail. Welcome to the Participation Generation, now all grown up and crying about how HARD the world is. AMERICANS telling the world how HARD their lives are? Sad. Go get a rake and a shovel and learn to do some yardwork.

If you find yourself falling in any of the above situations remember that great lessons can be learned from:

*Learning a language
*Yard work
*Volunteering at children’s hospital
*Trying and failing at something repeatedly until actually getting it right

A couple steady years of this would cure most of the yeast growing amongst the Swinging Richards. And they’d have some curb appeal, too.

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