Roland Dürre
Saturday May 5th, 2018

People and Their Characteristics

The following text might be a little hard to digest for many of you.

A few years ago in the South Sea – guaranteed to be far removed from seminars and all kinds of mentoring.

It is not the people who are good or evil but what they do.

For me, this is a very central idea from the age of enlightenment.

Similarly, you can say
It is not the managers who are correct or incorrect but their decisions.

“Incorrect” in this context means “wrong“.

Mind you, it is even more problematic when it comes to decisions than when it comes to behaviour. What you do often has consequences. More often than not, you cannot really know, even à posterior, what consequences your decisions really had for the enterprise or for the world. Because the question is always ”how real is reality?“, which you can read about in Watzlawick. And decisions that seemed to be the right decisions at the time often turn out to have been totally wrong in retrospect.

You cannot give people and managers characteristics like good or evil. They are not gear-wheels that function as part of a clockwork in your family or enterprise.

With humans, even trivial measurements such as weight and height are not too easy. You see a tall lady with unbelievably long legs – then she takes off her shoes and becomes a dwarf. An overweight person might easily turn into a slim one because he lost 20 kilograms.

Nor can you decide about beauty. One day, the hero shines in all his splendour wearing his gala uniform; but what about when he wakes up hungover and has not shaved (for reasons of gender fairness, I chose a male example and abstained from using the example of the one-night stand and the terrible morning after).

With intelligence, there is also no objective measure. You determine the I.Q. – but what about emotional intelligence , see Emotionalen Intelligenz in his book ”EQ … “.

Consequently, we should not give people characteristics such as fat, tall, beautiful or intelligent. They are frivolous and inadequate. But you can do a lot worse.
Some people told me that I am a “brain-controlled person”. Others testified that I am a “person who decides following his gut-feeling“.

They all were persons who are close to me and presumably even meant well by me. They believed they had learned enough about me to judge my personality. And they pitied me because they believed that I, being a brain-oriented or gut-oriented person, cannot do a fair job as a manager.

These – incidentally they were all male – people all saw themselves as great leaders. I saw them as idiots, or rather: I perceived them as such.
But that is exactly what it is all about:

It is all just our perception.

We all wear masks and act in the way we think we need to inter-act, which does not make communication and understanding easier. This is how we are (too) quickly prepared to make others look “smaller”, rather than “taller”.

There is no such thing as a person who is “brain-oriented or “gut-oriented“, “cold“ or “emphatic“, “sensitive“ or “insensitive“, “weak“ or “strong“, “emotional“ or “unemotional“, etc. These are all values you cannot measure. Regardless of the fact that some charlatans claim that they can do exactly that and make a lot of money selling the idea.

It is something we should permanently remember.

Especially, we should be careful when it comes to our self-perception. It is mostly wrong!

(Translated by EG)

I can easily prove this last statement by relating discussions with many people who come to see me as my mentées. More often than not, it is truly shocking for me to see how they make themselves look small.

Roland Dürre
Wednesday February 18th, 2015


This, too, is a result of my meeting with Ardalan, which I wrote about in my last article. Among other things, he told me that he likes to “annoy others”.
Well, I was moved by his desire to “annoy others”. I thought about what exactly it means to “annoy others“! And what you could achieve by doing so.

The following Ideas popped up:

Many (probably all) persons constantly believe they own the truth…
Yet we assume that there can be no absolute truth. If at all, then what we hold to be true are our own personal certainties. These “certainties”, however, can differ hugely from person to person. In fact, they might even be opposites.
Especially dangerous are those certainties which have not originated with personal experiences but with future experiences (and consequently with things you so far only imagine). So if persons believe that they know something they have not yet experienced and then even continue by generalizing it and wishing to superimpose it on others, then matters can easily turn dangerous.
Such certainties might also be called “dogmata”. Here is my example:

Some people know exactly that there will be an after-life after death – even though they have never died. Or they know that asylum seekers are bad for Germany. Even though they never so much as knew one.

How better to annoy someone than by managing to disrupt his truths a little bit? By helping to question his certainties? And, above all, by stealing some of his security, which mostly is based on very simple and stupid dogmata?

If then I could do this with the person concerned not immediately noticing and instead him only slowly – but then so much more profoundly – realizing what happened as he ponders upon our discussion, this would be a masterpiece, wouldn’t it? It might actually be a very special way of “coaching”?

In the future, I am quite determined to “annoy people” like Ardalan does. And I will start today.
And you, dear readers, are my first victims!

(Translated byEG)

Now I ask you all: would you like to join me when I am “annoying people“?