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Updated: Dec 10, 2021

There is a saying that says "Better bad for known than good for knowing", the problem is that the sayings are "half-truths and lies"; Popular sayings are considered by many people as absolute truths, which have been "tattooed" in their unconscious mind since early childhood and, from there, their environment begins to indoctrinate them to deny change and remain in the same situation, even if it is full of misery and pain.

Which of these four blind men is right?

R = All and None, since each one of them interprets the elephant according to their version (paradigm), but only by putting the four versions together can the truth be obtained.

From our first years of existence and through our family, we began to learn their ideas, concepts, and way of seeing the world (paradigms), which we take for unquestionable facts and, for better or for worse, the rest of our life will be our guide.

For the pessimists, the world is a constant threat,

for the optimists it will be an abundant opportunity

"It is important to consider that the opportunities and threats that surround us are variables that are external to us and therefore we do not have control over them, but, if we can propose actions (strategies) to mitigate the threats and exploit the opportunities, however this will depend on our strengths and weaknesses.

For example, let's imagine that our good friend Salvador Elizaga, managing partner of the prestigious Headhunters firm "Delta Top Talent", calls you on the phone to participate in an international director position.

This position is for a German company based in Hannover (opportunity); Salvador, having reviewed your work life profile, he observed that you meet all the executive skills for this position, including 100% command of the English language.

Derived from the telephone conversation, you are summoned to the offices of Delta Top Talent, to learn more about your skills, and, while you are on the way, the client calls Salvador saying that he forgot to specify that the candidate must have command of the German language of at least 75%.

Already in the interview, Salvador asks you if you know German and you openly say no, that you don't know any German (weakness), it is at that precise moment that you will have lost the opportunity.

In our adult life, the way we see the world (paradigms) is correlated with our beliefs and behavior patterns (patterns), which were transmitted to us by the family, teachers, relatives, and so on.

A paradigm is the way we see the world: Opportunities and Threats

A pattern are all those ideas, concepts, principles, and emotions that we learned as children through all the adults around us, which will give rise to our Strengths and Weaknesses.

We can then say that the world of opportunities and threats depend on the way we see the world (our paradigms), and that they will correlate with our attitudes towards said environment (patterns) through our strengths and weaknesses.


1) Richard, the boy who never grew up.

Consider the case of Richard, a boy who learned from elementary school that, to be loved by adults, he had to be outstanding in his grades; Over the years, Richard having recorded this pattern of behavior in his unconscious, in his adult and working life he will reproduce this pattern, substituting his parents or teachers for his bosses, but this substitution is not healthy at all, because functional families love to his children unconditionally but Richard, was loved in a dysfunctional way by a family that conditioned said love for an academic result; Therefore Richard, in his adult life instead of working objectively for results (KPI's), he will really work subjectively, for being accepted and loved by his bosses and, if for some reason he does not have excellent results, His morale will drop because he will "mistakenly believe" that he is letting down his "parents" (his bosses).

This learning that Richard unconsciously reproduces in his adult working life is a compulsion to deny that things have changed (paradigm shift), since the members of a family are not the same as the members of a job, so therefore, Richard will work very hard to achieve acceptance, that is, “the brotherly love of his boss”, rather than objectively meeting the expected results (KPI's); The result is existential emptiness, since bosses are in organizations to produce results, not to love their collaborators as if they were their children.

Richard, therefore, will be living a threatening world without the ability to mitigate said threat and less to turn it into an opportunity, because he has not managed to make an internal transformation, to change a weakness (low self-esteem / self-concept) into a strength.

2) IMEF CASE: All the past time was better?

Being executive president of the IMEF (Mexican Institute of Finance Executives), I met some unemployed finance directors, who could have found work quickly, if they had stopped reproducing their glories of the past through “old patterns of behavior”; instead to adapt to the new economy (opportunities) that we are experiencing and to have the humility to learn new ways of doing business, they were arrogant talking about how "all past times were better", they are executives who "were wonderfully equipped for a world that it no longer exists ”, they are executives who refused to change and adapt to this new work era, it is a compulsion to deny that things have changed and of course, for them this new environment (Revolution of Information and Intensive Communication), is turned into a threat rather than an opportunity.

I still remember, how some executives joined the IMEF, hoping to sell their products and services and / or, with the possibility of finding work, without realizing it, that they should look in other areas beyond the IMEF, in other words, they should having anticipated the "Digital Era", reinventing itself, being more than accountants and financiers "Financial Strategists".

3) SHOPA, an association that succumbed to the Digital Age (Information and Communication Intensive)

Another example are those industries that are in decline and continue to act “as if nothing is happening”, denying their reality; In the United States of America, I remember how powerful SHOPA (for its acronym in English that stands for School, Home, & Office Products Association)

was at the time, which brought together the most powerful companies of school and office supplies; The decline of this association reflected the decline of this industry, which little by little was replaced by technology products and. by products of Chinese origin, of lower cost and the same or better quality.

In 2003, I was an eyewitness to the death of “SHOPA”, the year its last Expo was held in Miami, Florida; It was impressive to observe how the Expo was reduced to a quarter of its original size and, around 40% of the exhibitors were of Chinese origin, thus replacing American and European exhibitors.

The above-mentioned cases of Richard, IMEF and SHOPA, are clear examples of the compulsion to deny the reality that has changed.

When we recognize that our environment is changing, bringing new opportunities to exploit, new threats to face, and we accept that reality, it is when we are preparing to modify our behavior patterns, maintaining our strengths and correcting our weaknesses

It is when inside of us we are modifying or changing learned behavior patterns, which were useful at the time, but which are no longer so, for this reason the change process implies learning, and then discarding what has been learned and learning again, however, people do not do it because they are afraid of conflict and change, new or different things.

It is paradoxical, but people, faced with the evident change in their environment, prefer to maintain old patterns of behavior at any cost, even if it means losing their job, their family, their friends and their lifestyle; this is due to the fact that, as the saying goes, “Better bad for known than good for knowing”, a saying that what hides in the background is not accepting a reality for fear of facing the uncertainty of change.

People prefer to react to their changing environment, reproducing old behavior patterns, because this is more powerful and "safer" than changing to a new, healthier behavior; This is the reason why there are those who remain in a type of relationship (family or work), where they suffer physical or emotional abuse, because for them, although such abuses are not good or healthy, they are known to them and, they prefer what already known abuses that the uncertainty of a better future, that although promising is uncertain and, uncertainty causes fear and fear paralyzes people.

During my professional life, I met people who suffered from workplace abuse, being emotionally abused, underpaid and, despite having been in these companies for years, when I asked them why they stayed there, the typical responses were “I already know how my boss is, he is not really bad ” or “This organization is basically a good company” or “I have not found something better”, answers that are the denial of a reality, because deep down the fear is much greater to change that, to face a hostile and cave-dwelling boss and company.

The process of change requires “raising awareness of our paradigms about the environment (opportunities and threats) and contrasting it with our behavior patterns (strengths and weaknesses); It is like when a “CV” (Curriculum Vitae) is built, where what is being done is to raise awareness of our paradigms of the environment and our behavior patterns, concluding that the self-esteem of those who do this exercise normally increases because it is done awareness that it has great strengths that it was not very aware of and has weaknesses that it can solve.

The environment changed (opportunities and threats), and that means that the most sought-after characteristics of the candidates in this new environment, by organizations and companies, are, among others, the following seventeen (strengths or weaknesses); It would be highly recommended that you do a self-evaluation of yourself; for this you can use the following table, where you can read a synthesis of each of the characteristics and, where you can put your observations, noting if the characteristic is a Strength or a Weakness and if this represents an opportunity or a threat for you.

Next, it is recommended that you conduct an action plan (strategies) to:

1) Correct your weaknesses

2) Maintain your strengths

3) Face your threats

4) Exploit your opportunities

Below, and as an example, is a pre-filled exercise, with the images of the seventeen variables that you can apply for your self-evaluation and, with that, design your own action plan.

The pdf document is also attached here:

Download PDF • 502KB

Good luck!


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