The Can-Do Person/Dictator

6 pages of commentary
typical Dictator quotes
5 pages of coaching notes

Essence: The Can-Do Person

If you wake up in mindfulness and take a look at certain people, you will see that they stand a little firmer on their feet than many other people. They look *solid*, and are physically strong. They seem tougher than the average person. They are imposing. They step right up to it. "Let me do it." " "Give it to me!" "I know how to do it."

They are strong with their hands, and they are good at doing things manually. They aren't concerned about getting dirty to get it done. They can stand up and step boldly forth into life and do things with their hands like make tools and learn to use tools. They can make things, and fix them when they are broken. This is the Can-Do Man, the Can-Do Woman. This type represents the essence of competent human physical abilities, beginning with learning to walk and take hold of things. It is the essence of what is generally called "assertiveness." This is direct assertiveness that "bites the bullet," takes hold, and *takes charge*, and *gets it done*. "I'll do it." "I can do that." This is human *competence* in action. It generates bravery.

You can see that there are certain people in every group who have a big helping of this kind of competence in their make-up. Yet, all of us have a certain amount of this in us. We all learned to pull ourselves upright and walk, to get dressed, and tie our shoes, go out to school, and do a host of physical things in our lives that each of us has already proven that we are able to do. This can-do ability is pervasive among all of us humans. When we are looking at this essential type we are seeing the area in the spectrum of human beings in which we are strong, and step up to it, and we get things done with our hands, often by trial and error, the area of our humanness in which we push on through, until we finally get it done.

The essence of the Can-Do Person is in their boldness and courage to "just do it." By practicing doing things in life, they become physically stronger and more and more brave. The Can-Do Person has the strength to be able to overcome physical things in life manually. He or she pushes out, picks things up, puts them together, walks, takes hold of more things, manually manipulates them, and makes things. They get the pieces and put them together. They become good at that. Some may become mechanics, some build houses with hammer and nails, and others may build whole corporations.

They have *skill* that comes from mastery of the physical elements, and "good character" that goes with the confidence of doing this again and again in the face of challenge. They are decisive, and dauntless, like the "action heroes" in comics. And, living in their essence, theirs is a life of competence, doing all that can be done effectively. Like all the types that you will be meeting in this course, this is *a good person to have around*.

They are bold, and they've got the muscle for it. Confronted by obstacles, they break through. If they make something, it is strong enough to work. Hardships don't easily turn them aside. Where the work involves great danger, there you find Can-Do Persons doing it. This is a good person to turn to for empowerment, protection, and for having the clout to do it. Head of the corporation, bodyguard, linebacker, field boss, somebody to get it handled, somebody to fix the roof before the rain. This is someone to follow "over the hill," and "into the storm," inspired to respect the strength they represent.

Can-Do Persons are persistent and intense. They have drive. They can be assertive and give orders to get the job done. It comes naturally to them to take charge and step into command. They are always ready and able, and "can do it now." And they are bold enough to ask as much of others. They are stoic and take pain, and handle major adversity well. They keep after it by trial and error. They master the mechanics of it, and they do deliver the goods.

This type embodies the competence and boldness to do things with our hands that is innate in all of us humans. The theme of this type is about getting good at doing things. Courage comes from that. Since we learned to get up and walk, and, later, to catch and throw a ball, and build a house with Lincoln logs, or a machine with Leggos, and so on through the rest of our lives, all of us have had practice in being the Can-Do Person through our many individual can-do ways. Each of us, to a certain degree, can put things together and make things, and fix them when they break. We all may have enough courage to try. It's all trial and error from there.

Some men and women have more of this practice, and some of us have less. Those who have more of this type of strengths and qualities may become the "bosses" in jobs at whatever level of society they work. They become the CEO, the Director, the Foreman, the "Sergeant," the Supervisor, the "Boss" who gives the orders and runs the show, whether the endeavor is large or even rather small. People in a group will often put a Can-Do Person in charge. They are seen as tough, and competent, brave, and able. People often do what they say, out of innate respect for this.

Personality: The Dictator

Remember that the personality of each of these types represents the same "theme" as the essence, but carries that theme too far. Our personalities show an excess of the essential strengths and qualities that lie within. It is through this excess that most of our troubles and inter-personal problems are created in life.

Some who have the Can-Do Person's strengths and qualities described above may take these attributes too far. Being strong, they overpower. Being bold, they push people back. This shows the personality coming into the picture. Dictators *force* people to do things, instead of inspiring them by the innate respect that they earn.

The Dictator is about being in control of other people, telling them what to do, giving lots of direct orders. "Do this." "Don't do that." Commanding is what they habitually do (whether it is actually necesssary or not to get the job done). Dictators want to have other people show them respect for their strength and power. They want to be bowed down to. Sometimes arrogant, pushy, over-controlling, unnecessarily destructive, bullying, exhausting in demands, even sometimes brutal--it is all to have people respect them, and follow the orders that they give without question. "What I say goes!" "Get going!" "Do what I tell you!" "Do it now!" Of course, this ordering around can be happening on the world stage, or in a person's home.

Please remember that one out of eight of us men and women have this Dictator as our chief personality type. For one out of every three of us, this is one of our three principal types. The eight types are divided about evenly among people at large.

Dictators push into other people's space. They "come on strong." In mindfulness, you can pick up on this. They bowl through a crowd; people get out of their way. They "get in people's faces." They push people around. "I demand it right now." The way they move is designed to control others. That's their scenario-- encroaching, pointing a finger at you, which takes control on the spot, chin jutting out provocatively, maybe even grabbing hold of another person, or pushing them over backwards with a hand in their chest. "I'm in control of you" is the message. Demanding respect, they take possession of what other's have: "Give it to me! It's mine!" They will provoke a fight when they are sure that they are stronger than the other person is. (Acting weak around them sets them off.)

"I can control everything." "Do what I tell you." "I'm boss of you!" "These are the orders." "Take it or leave it." "I'm making an offer you can't refuse." Dictators bully, as if to "keep in practice." Bullies on school playgrounds are almost certainly Dictators, practicing for when they grow up. They make exhorbitant and exhausting demands and are unlikely to show any mercy for any weakness. They can be extortioners. "I take care of those who respect me." Don't expect Dictators to care about your problems. "So what?" they say. They don't believe in problems since they think they are omnipotent.

If things go wrong, they blame it on the others who didn't show enough respect and do what they told them to do. "They got out of control and acted 'smart.'!" they might say. Their punishments can be extreme. They think nothing of destroying things--be it breaking the child's guitar that was "too loud," or eradicating the enemy's whole village. They will crush opponents, purge them from the territories they claim. It is Dictators who practice "scorched earth" policies, and mass atrocities, all to gain *respect* for their strength and power. Lesser, but thematically similar things occur in many households, work places, and Board rooms. Dictators are the "slave drivers."

The Dictator's greatest need is to *appear to be* in control, and they comport themselves that way at all times, so they will be respected. Think of a "crime boss." They have a hard time telling other people, "Do it your own way." They give ultimatums, instead. "I'll drive. I've got the restaurant picked out." They arbitrarily tell other people what to order off the menu. They are habitually dominant. "Don't sit there; sit here." They tell other people what to do to keep in practice. It is "our thing" (cf. "cosa nostra") they may tell others of their ways.

Even at home, Dictator's can be highly imperious. "Do it or else." The Dictator will stifle others' speech with censorship: "Shut up!" "I don't want to hear it!" Dictators will frighten others deliberately: "Do you know what I am going to do to you?" They want others to believe they can and will have their way with them. If people give them a hard time in any way, the first thing they'll resort to is to scare them out of it.

If questioned about anything, they will resort to stone-walling. "No comment," they say. "Don't even ask me." "Who are you?" They will be intimidating. "Do you want to fight? I'm ready!" They might break the photographer's camera. They might break the photographer's legs. If things get completely out of control, they cut their losses very quickly, perhaps destroying everything they can behind them as a statement of their need for respect, even in losing the battle.

With all of this controlling, Dictators may periodically become over-extended. This scene can happen in any venue in life. Believing themselves omnipotent, they wind up trying to control more than they physically can control. Other people begin to meet their controlling with increasing resentments, opposition, and, most effectively, with passive-resistance, which drives them up the wall, and eventually *wears them out*. At times, they may notice that their strength is waning. "Oh-oh!" They become paranoid when things seem to be getting out of control. Then they have to be vigilant day and night to destroy their competitors and avoid coups by their associates, who become alarmed at how far they are going. They become more and more afraid. "I can't trust anybody!" "Get out of my way!" They can rampage. They can eliminate their own followers with the same ruthlessness as they eliminate enemies. "No quarter." They can break and destroy, and as actual dictators of countries, may perpetrate ethnic and religious cleansing, massacres, and other such terrible acts of arrogance and paranoid desperation to control.

Living in fear of overthrow, becoming a "wobbling tyrant," they find themselves constantly at war and facing their own annihilation. The biggest mistake that Dictators make is *pushing until they have to be stopped.* This is true as individual Dictators in our homes (whether parent, grandparent, or child), as well as national rulers of this type. Eventually, from all the pushing and controlling that they habitually do in life because of their conditioning, forces *will mobilize and bring them down*. They have just "gone too far" this time. Otherwise, they would keep on arrogantly pushing and keep on extending their power until all others are vanguished in slavery. This is the type that could set off a nuclear holocaust.

Although this is much looked at here in an international metaphor, the same things may be seen with the behavior of Dictators in our homes, and at the places we work, and even where we go for recreation. Eventually, the excessive use of brute force has to be stopped and leads to a Dictator's downfall.

Typical Dictator Quotes

I'm boss.
I give the orders here.
Who says it can't be done?
I can do anything.
I demand respect.
I'll do what I want.
What? It can't be! I'll fix that!
I'm this important!
I own you.
See to it! And be quick about it.
I wouldn't want you to . . .
No comment.
So what?
What are you, some kind of a smart guy?
I'm in control.
Hey! You talking to me?
Do you know what I'm going to do to you?
Chill out!
Get out of my way!
(cf. ethnic or religious "cleansing") Get out of this country!
Do it or else!
Do what I tell you.
I'll drive (and pick the restaurant. Sit here. I'll order for both of us.)
Give it to me. It's mine!
I want three volunteers. Now! Gotcha!
You're working for me!
I'm making an offer you can't refuse.
Take it or leave it.
Do it now!
Who cares?
Shut up, and just do it!
Do you want to fight?

Coaching Notes

The Rabbi Jesus made it very clear in discussing his teaching about the ordinary human condition. We are "*all* sinners," he said.

*All of us* have our shadow side--the selfish, wounding side, where our own ego leads us to abuse and take advantage of other people every day for the sake of the many things, great and small, that we want--and always with a profound inner sense of self-justification.

This is what we are up against if we are interested in understanding our own behavior. We rationalize whatever we do to others. Each of us do this according to the characteristic rationalizations of our respective types of personality. Dictators rationalize controlling, just as you will see in observing the rest of the types here that Con- Artists rationalize taking advantage of other people, Judges rationalize punishing others that they think are wrong, and so on. This characteristic rationalization of our own behavior presents a predicament for any of us who would like to catch on to human behavior and become able to effect changes from the fixed conditioned patterns that rule our lives without our being aware of it.

These conditioned patterns *become* our lives. We are *trapped* in them. So long as we will rationalize them, we can never really see them for what they are. The only hope that anyone can have of becoming free from these habitual patterns is by seeing them, clearly, objectively, and without self-justifying rationalization. It's a predicament. Some won't be able to do it. Those who are most capable of this will be able to go the farthest in seeing and understanding what a human being is. And this understanding enables a person to change, get out of the control of their ego-driven manipulations, and become free to elect other ways of relating with life that lie beneath their personality types (as illustrated in the essences of the eight types that are presented here).

The Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you," is an attempt to cheer people on to take this predicament seriously. It is an exercise for catching on. And it ain't easy! One has to *see* the underlying handicaps of our ordinary human ways, as well as the underlying blessings of change. It is a collosal challenge to do unto others as one would have others do. First of all, one must begin exchanging periods of practicing mindfulness and aware observing for the usual human condition of sleep that people ordinarily dwell in. Then, they must change in attempting, honestly, to understand other people instead of automatically judging them as they usually do. And finally, they must change in electing not to hurt other people over the differences that come up between them. With these difficult measures one can do unto others as one would have others do unto them.

And yet this change does not require "not being who you are." If a Dictator can catch on (as the first example given in this set of lessons --and the same is true for all the other types, as well)--if a Dictator can see the handicaps and repercussions that are brought into his or her life by the excesses of bullying others, pushing people around, demanding displays of respect, and being in control of others constantly, then perhaps that Dictator can also see the blessings of lightening up on that for awhile for the sake of having a happier life.

Perhaps he or she can *understand* that they can get the job done better, and with more satisfying results all the way around, if they will choose to rely on their toughness, their strength and character, their ability to exemplify what they do competently, without behaving as a Dictator does with others. Trying this out, at least, is the only chance they have of finding out that the people who are with them are inspired to follow a Can-Do Person through hell and high water. This is *real respect*. Playing the Dictator and bullying is *superfluous,* and it starts bringing the opposite results.

The kind of respect they demand by playing Dictators only brings out passive-resistance, resentments, and oppositions in those who are forced to follow their orders. This is the difference between real leadership and simply bullying. The weaknesses of the latter will eventually bring the project down. The strengths of the former may even result in doing "the impossible."

This same theme can be seen in each of the eight types. The strengths and qualities of the essence of each of them, when taken to the characteristic extremes of the type, eventually undermine what is done by essence and brings life down around the ears of the person.

Going back to this theme of rationalizing what we do: only by mindfulness can we see through this debilitating phenomenon. One has to become objective to achieve any changes in one's being. For if one cannot objectively see the way it is, one doesn't ever catch on to what it is that deserves being changed.

The purpose of learning the eight types that are presented here is NOT for the sake of "straightening other people out." The purpose is for discovering the secret of all mindfulness trainings, that by using mindful awareness to change one's self within, one is truly able to change the nature of one's life around and about. This change can be in a direction of *competence*, first of all, which is what "a master" is about. And it can be about having loving companionship, cooperation, and collaboration among people in whatever human projects are being undertaken.

One way of describing the secret of all this is that there can be progress and happiness for people in life without wounding and taking advantage of others. This is so hard to understand. It is what makes spirititual and metaphysical knowledge "esoteric" to the great majority of people. "How can I be happy without grabbing for everything I want?" And mindful awareness--which so few have ever heard about or learned to practice--is the only way of attaining the objective understanding that permits us to know at our very core that love is better than selfishness.

Selflessness, altruism, "no self," personal sacrifice for the sake of harmony is the most powerful and effective thing in the world. This is the power of love. However, so far, at least, this natural power is *completely lost* on several billions of us humans.

The motto of this awareness training school is taken from a statement that Paul McCartney made during a television interview with Oprah. "People should stop doin' all this funny stuff," he said, "and just love."

The diagnostic system that is presented here may be simple enough, and clear enough in detail, and have enough continuity in the descriptions of the eight types, that a person may be helped in taking an objective look at their own self and the "funny stuff" they do. When they can understand that they have a personality, and then realize that underneath that personality is an essence, a profound change can occur in their perception of life and their understanding of the ordinary interacting behaviors of humans.

They will understand that the others that they live with and those they relate with outside the home have personalities and essences, too. And realizing this will enable them to step out of the usual personality-to-personality interactions that are going on most of the time between people, and step into their own essence--even addressing the essence in other people, as well (right on through their personalities on the outside)!

If you use the knowledge of the eight types to try to manipulate other people to change, this means that your own ego and personality have gotten ahold of this knowledge, and are using it to further your own selfish and possibly wounding ways. But, you cannot manipulate people to change in the long run, anyway!!! Even if they bend for awhile to your selfish personality tricks, they will keep coming back to the same old patterns that they have been conditioned to do. They will keep coming back to their own set of conditioned personality tricks, and go right on manipulating you with them again.

Change only comes from within. People can't be forced into changing from the outside. If you really want to see change in other people, then address them in their essences. What can happen is that *they may like it*. And if so, they *can* change from within, they can be open to letting you show them how you can do that. They can follow your lead out of a natural wish of their own.

The teaching, "Judge not, lest you be judged," is right at the heart of this. There are warnings here and there in Jesus' widely known teachings against being hypocrites. Ordinary human nature is easily given to hypocrisy. We see "the beam" in other's eyes, and not "the mote" in our own. The phenomenon of what's going on in Washington these days around the President's adulterous behavior is a painful reminder of this. The leaders of the most powerful factions in the country don't know how to not judge. Those who have "sinned" in their own ways are forced into a position of having to judge the sins of Mr. Clinton. The President is a fellow human, after all (I didn't vote for him, by the way), as vulnerable as all humans are to the consequences of our shadow sides. We are "all sinners." And we don't understand or remember that.

One of my favorite stories in the New Testament is when they brought the woman accused of adultery to Jesus, and tried to tempt him to judge her and go along with their stoning her to death. They challenged him to prove that he was a moral man in an obvious case of immorality. The crowd of men that had brought this woman (the adulterous man involved with her was apparently left in peace) to Jesus was in the same position as the Members of Congress are today.

As I recall, Jesus sat down and drew a diagram on the ground which he contemplated silently for a long time. (I wonder if this diagram might have been some sort of a mnemonic diagnostic device by which he studied the dynamics of the whole situation out in awareness.)

His teaching then was quite in point, it seems to me, for those who stand in judgment of the President these days. It is as well-known as anything Jesus ever said. "Let him who hasn't sinned cast the first stone."

Although these words are well-known, they are seldom remembered in our modern daily lives. [I understand this story is actually expurgated from some modern versions of the Bible.] Yet, as Coach of this class, I would say that these are valuable words to live by for those who would really like to learn to play the awareness game.

Judge not, lest you be judged. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. And . . . stop doin' all this funny stuff, and just love.

--John

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