Published by John Terry - The Black Belt Leader in Leadership · 18 December 2020
When Everyone's a Victim
By: John L. Terry, III - The Black Belt Leader
In the movie, "The Incredibles", Syndrome (the villain) has captured the Incredible family and revealed his sinister plot to sell Super-Technology to the masses. In perhaps what is one of the most powerful statements made in the movie, Syndrome proclaims, "And when everyone's super, no one will be."
Syndrome suffered from a victimization complex. Because he didn't get what he wanted, the way he wanted it, he chose to see himself as a victim who had an obligation, a responsibility, to get back at those he believed victimized him, and in doing so trapped himself in a world of darkness, despair, and revenge.
The Syndrome Complex, as I refer to it, has become rampant in society today. While there are some legitimate victims in the world, a significant number of people playing the "victim card" today do so because they didn't get what they wanted, the way they wanted it, in the timeline they wanted it - so they become angry, resentful, demanding, and at times verbally or physically abusive to others.
And when everyone's a victim, no one will be.
We see this played out today in politics, and in society. It's a tool that has historically been used to divide people along racial, ethnic, gender, socio-political, or economic lines. Oppressive governments in third-world and dictatorial countries use Victimization as a tool to suppress their people and keep them divided so those in power can remain and the people cannot truly prosper, live out their dreams, and experience true success.
When people are continually focused on what divides them, they forget what they have overcome as a nation that unites them. It makes it easier for those with a self-serving agenda to control the population by distracting them from the real issues that are plaguing society as a whole, all while attempting to rewrite a society's history to change the truth into a lie to perpetuate the myth of victimization and division.
It creates warring factions arguing over what are often petty differences rather than coming together to collectively solve a society's problems and change things for the better. This makes EVERYONE a victim, and a once civilized, prosperous culture devolves into chaos.
Far too many people view themselves as victims and want to blame others for their circumstances. Yet when they6 have that man/woman in the mirror moment of honest reflection with themselves, they realize it is THEIR OWN CHOICES that have put them in the position they are in,
This is not to discount those who are truly victims, but that number is minuscule when compared to those who have embraced Victimization as a lifestyle when it is their own choices that keep them trapped, in bondage, unable to free themselves to enjoy a better outcome in life. Blaming others is easy, it requires no accountability for one's choices.
And when everyone's a victim, no one will be.
One of the roots of this is insecure leadership. Insecure leaders are more concerned with hoarding whatever power (real or perceived) they possess and live their lives believing that everyone is out to get them. Because of this Victim-Mindset, they are among the least trusting, least empowering, least equipping of all leaders.
Insecure leaders believe that if they give power away to another person it diminishes them and their ability in some way. They prefer to hire people who are less qualified than they are (or perceive themselves to be) and in doing so place a lid on the potential of the organization they are leading.
When people can't be equipped, empowered, and released to lead, the Team's potential is capped - and opportunities for growth are stifled.
Insecure leaders need a group of people who are reliant on them for their livelihood because that's how they maintain control. As long as they can convince people they need the insecure leader, it feeds the ego of the leader at the expense of the follower. It perpetuates a status quo existence that limits opportunities for the masses rather than empowering them to see and experience real success for themselves.
When people discover they don't have to be victims, that they CAN CHOOSE a different path that leads to peace and prosperity, they don't need a "ruling class" to rely on any longer. But it requires that you think in a different way, stop blaming others for the situation you find yourself in, and make a conscious decision to change your choices, learn new information, and learn to think and act in a way that brings about a better outcome.
To prevent this from happening, insecure leaders (and oppressive governments) will pit people against each other to inflame hostilities between various factions on the team. This, in turn, stifles growth and keeps people segregated into their cliques. They will lie, cheat, withhold vital information, or twist the truth to suit their needs at the moment. Insecure leaders are untrusting, uncaring, and devoid of concern for anyone other than themselves.
They see themselves as victims, and this permeates through everything they say and do. It is contagious, as victimization spreads like a cancer - destroying every life it touches until the organization as a whole has died a slow and tragic death.
So how do we overcome a Victim-Mindset?
- Choose NOT to be a victim. Change starts with a thought. When you choose not to see yourself as a victim, you start to see things differently. I recently spoke to a young man whose family had lived in what he called 'the projects' for generations. He told me that change happened for him when he told himself that he may live in the projects but he didn't have to let the projects live in him.
- Stop looking backward and start looking forward. "If" Author Mark Batterson talks about the change that takes place when an individual changes their focus from looking back in the past and saying "If-Only" and starts looking forward and saying "What-If". One IF has you living life looking in the rearview mirror while the other has you gazing out at the endless opportunities before you on the highway of possibilities.
- Embrace personal growth as a lifestyle. You can't begin a journey of self-development and learning and remain the same. As you learn to lead yourself well, you begin to make better choices. Your thinking begins to change and you begin to shift your mindset from "I can't" to "I can". As your choices improve, so does your situation.
- Seek common ground. When everyone's a victim, everyone else is an enemy. Seeking common ground can allow you to connect with others and work together for each other's benefit. John Maxwell talks about the 101% Rule. Find the 1% you and someone else can agree on or have in common, and then put 100% of your effort there.
- Celebrate progress, and keep progressing. Humanity has come a long way. We've grown as a species and learned how to work together for the benefit of society. While we still have progress to make, we can celebrate the successes and the milestones we've achieved together. As we celebrate these successes, these victories in overcoming as a species, we can build upon these successes to come closer together. After all, we are all part of one people, one distinctive, and one race, the Human Race.
When we realize that WE have the power to choose whether to be a victim or a victor, our outlook changes. When we change how we view the world around us with the mindset of a victorious overcomer, we change how we see others, our circumstances, and our future.
And when no one's a victim, won't this world be an amazing place to live?