“I-centricity” is the phenomenon wherein a person exists solely and completely for their existence. No matter what the cost, they will do what it is they feel will be the highest and best benefit for themselves. Unfortunately for them, no one is completely independent and thus, this type of thinking will eventual erode whatever level of success and happiness they sought to embrace. It is irresponsible and has been the root cause of corporate and economic collapses such as Enron, Wall Street and other catastrophes of recent memory.
A friend of mine told me the following story:
His wife is a very individualist person who enjoys lavishing her children with all sorts of gifts and entertainment. She offered to handle the household finances so that the husband could focus on his work, which he reluctantly agreed to. While their family had never been extremely well off, the wife insisted on spending hundreds of dollars each month at restaurants and purchasing clothes, movies and video games, which was rather odd to the husband, since he never recalled having enough money to be able to do those things when he managed the money.
Despite being the one responsible for managing the bills, the wife’s car was repossessed. She made the comment that she didn’t quite understand what happened and that she didn’t know what to do. However, instead of addressing the problem, perhaps by contacting the lender and making arrangements for the other people in her life, i-centrically, she hopped in her husband’s car and went to work, leaving everyone to scramble for themselves and taking for granted that her husband would fix her error.
As with everything, there is a ripple effect. Her husband typically drives their son to school. The change meant that he would need to get his son up earlier and walk him to the bus stop (despite the fact that the wife drove right past the bus stop on the way to work, right about the time the bus would arrive). This worked out fine except for the fact that unbeknownst to him, the bus typically arrives about ten minutes early. He arrived precisely on time. The bus had already come and gone. Because of this, he and his son had to return home and the little boy had to miss school that day.
This is the type of irresponsibility and “I-centricity” that wrecks families, businesses and whole communities. It is the mentality that creates short-term successes for one or two people, but eventually disrupts the fabric of what might be called community or society. “I-centricity” destroys trust, lowers morale and creates a culture of “me first.”
Psychologically, “I-centricity” appears as a dangerous, sociopathic behavior that forces people to operate, continually, from a “survivor” mentality, making them unable to find true happiness and contentment, but rather, always seeking that next thing that will give them temporary satisfaction. You might liken it to the behavior of someone who is drowning; they will do whatever it takes to get the air they need in order to survive. This is not to be confused with success. While creating a culture of success requires continuous evaluation and improvement, I am referring to, in fact, the inability to ever find enough. There is never a real success, even if there is significant money and power.
Understanding what motivates us is a base-level component in building an extraordinary business. As business leaders, having a clear understanding of our personal mission and vision, and serving our organizations and communities in a way that allows us to extend the capabilities of what we do best is foundational for building solid, extraordinary businesses. For some, this could be the desire to make information more accessible. For others, it could be simply connecting with people to help them meet some need. For others, still, it might be teaching people how to live their lives “on purpose.”
Be extraordinary. Seek sustainable success by finding ways to leverage your abilities and aspirations to serve not only your “I-centric” needs, but those of the community at large.
Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is an Operations Management and Business Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders. We specialize in helping leaders create extraordinary businesses.
We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including Creative and Design Services, Software & IT Services, Professional Services and Specialty Consumer Services. As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions.
If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].