We have met the enemy

BUSINESS MATTERS (BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE) - Francis J. Kong - The Philippine Star

Pogo, the thinker, said: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

We are our own worst enemy. We seem to be so creative and enterprising in creating problems not just for others, but for ourselves. Consider business start-ups. People are fired up; sales are increasing, markets are opening, and expansion plans are in the works. Fast forward a few years later, and you see factions forming, egos exploding, personalities colliding (even owners and partners), and the once well-oiled-business machinery is boggled down by useless and senseless bureaucracy.

Look at individuals. Have you met people who used to be humble, generous, faithful to their families, living a simple life? And then fortune comes their way; the lifestyle has changed, the circle of friends changes (they always do), and marital problems begin to surface as questions of fidelity now rocks the very core of the family.

Think of celebrities, politicians, religious leaders, and personalities involved in shameful scandals and controversies. I do not think these people started their lives with a mission to mess themselves up and damage the people around them. No wonder you have sayings like: “Give the person enough rope and he will hang himself.”

Why are we our worst enemies? Theologians say it is the depraved sinful nature of men and women. Sociologists say it is the environment. While the educators say it is the lack of education. Politicians blame it on poverty, and they sure will take on more of this position in the coming months ahead. Scientists blame it on the law of entropy, so forth and so on.

We seem to have the ability to create problems for ourselves beyond the ones we have to deal with at work or in business. I have messed up and shot myself in the foot so many times it is so embarrassing to even think about them. What about you? Fought with your spouse or your kids, dug in your heels, refused to budge, only to realize later that you were wrong all along. You know you were not acting like the moral person you claimed to be, but you were merely acting like a jerk.

It’s the same thing at work. You push yourself too hard, and in your stressed, tired, and unguarded moments, you utter things, blame people, then beat yourself up because you or your team were not able to live up to the ridiculously lofty expectations you have set in the first place.

Are you overworked and overextended that you get to the point of not having enough time to get things done? Would it be possible that your workload and all those deadlines were self-imposed?

What about the person in your team that you constantly complained about? Could it be that the “difficult” person(s) is merely reacting to how you have been treating them? All those complaints about your boss being a dictator, hovering-helicopter boss micro-managing you; could it be that you have not performed according to expectations and have fallen short of delivering expected results? Think deeper. Could it not be that the boss quietly gives you another chance to recover because if you still fail and the quarter is over, so would you and your job too?

And here is the all-time favorite of them all. You constantly complain that you are not paid well, not appreciated, and nobody wants to listen to you. Could it be that you have grown up in an environment wherein you have gotten away with being an entitled, self-centered person holding on to the position that everything in the universe revolves around you?

Harsh as it may sound, and let’s be clear. I speak out of the experiences and observations throughout my family, career, and years of doing business. I know the pain and have paid for my stupidities.

I guess we all go through things like these to some extent, and I think I am in a better place today out of God’s grace and mercies. If you are caught up with being your worst enemy, you can alter the course. An old cliche that many religious people I know use to cover up for their shortcomings: “But I am still a work in progress.” While this is true, we should execute the process for improvement with intentionality and imminency. We improve, learn, get trained, and develop ourselves to become better. It is good to live a life of daily repentance and to have the courage to right the wrongs we have done. This way, we can defeat the enemy, and you certainly know who it is.



(Francis Kong’s highly acclaimed Level Up Leadership Master Class Online will run from Oct. 13 to 15. For inquiries and reservations, contact April at +63928-559-1798 or and for more information, visit www.levelupleadership.ph)

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with