In the movie Forrest Gump, Bubba asks Forrest to go into the shrimpin’ business with him saying they’ll split everything right down the middle – 50/50. In a legal sense or business partnership, this makes perfect sense. The ownership and equity of a business is clearly defined. It’s an acceptable way to organize a business relationship and clearly communicates the ownership stakes.
One week ago I related personal responsibility to Gumption. My most previous post described what being personally responsible really means. Today let’s examine why being personally responsible doesn’t work if you commit less than 100% to it. 50/50 may be a good legal partnership, but 50/50 doesn’t work in your communication or your relationships with others.
Here is why …
When you attempt to operate personal responsibility in the 50/50 mode, you hold back in your giving. You spend your time keeping score and assessing the contribution of the other person. If they perform … then and only then will you continue to give your 50%. They will detect your holding back and monitoring and then give again only after you’ve performed and given.
Within the realm of being personally responsible, 50/50 is limiting and inefficient. 50/50 functions under the implication of I’ll do this IF you’ll do that. Too much effort is spent monitoring each party’s contribution. Did the other person do his fair share? When the score isn’t even, resentment can creep in. Resentment can breed anger. Alternatively, the other person can outperform you, then obligation to reciprocate occurs. Guilt arises. Guilt leads to resentment. More score keeping. The vicious circle continues without end.
Imagine a car rolling freely down the highway, if the gas pedal is constantly being applied and then released … how much speed can ever really be attained? Just as some momentum is gained, the gas pedal is released and momentum is lost. Now imagine that same vehicle allowed to flow freely with the constant application of the gas. What happens? Momentum is maintained and greater speed occurs.
If you and your spouse operate in a 50/50 relationship, then you’re not giving yourself fully. You measure and withhold and justify and blame when the other doesn’t do their 50%. The vicious cycle of tit-for-tat and reward-punishment, payoff-withhold dominates. How much momentum is gained in that type of relationship? How much love is there?
I contend that 100/0 is the better formula for personal responsibility. You take 100% responsibility for your communication and your relationships and you expect 0% in return. If you do this the following will disappear: resentment, anger, obligation, guilt, keeping score, and the whole vicious circle.
If you truly expect nothing from others but consistently give 100% an amazing thing will happen: Others will start to give much more of themselves and the vicious circle will be broken.
Are you willing to try 100/0? Can you be 100% personally responsible and expect nothing in return? Or are you the type who believes that 50/50 is best? You’ll do your half and let the other person do his half. If you’re a 50/50 person, then you’re missing an opportunity and you’re most like going to be disappointed with the results of your communication and relationships.
Any business partnership needs to be legally clear. And an ownership of 50/50 might be best. However, your personal relationships and your communication will never be personally responsible if you take the 50/50 mindset.
Forrest fulfilled his word to Bubba when he agreed to 50/50 in the legal ownership of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company … he gave Bubba’s family a check for Bubba’s share of the company even though Bubba had passed away. Forrest’s integrity and a promise is a promise had him fulfill on that commitment. Forrest’s word was 100/0.
Next Blog Title: Run Fripp Run!
Next Blog Date: August 12, 2010