“The hardest thing in the world to understand is income taxes.” Albert Einstein
What’s the hardest thing for you to understand? Who helps you?
Leo Mattersdorf was Albert Einstein’s accountant. One of the world’s greatest mathematicians has an accountant! Anyway, Mattersdorf related the following story:
One year while I was at his Princeton home preparing his return, Mrs. Einstein, who was then still living, asked me to stay for lunch. During the course of the meal, the professor turned to me and with his inimitable chuckle said: “The hardest thing in the world to understand is income taxes.” I replied: “There is one thing more difficult, and that is your theory of relativity.” “Oh, no,” he replied, ”that is easy.” To which Mrs. Einstein commented, “Yes, for you.”
For me, I’m hard pressed to find anything more difficult than finances. Whatever is going on in my brain when it comes to money, or numbers for that matter, my brain seems to fog over. It’s really quite a physical thing. I feel this cloud starting to build in the right pre-frontal lobe extending to just over my ears and by the time it reaches my ears I can barely add 2+2.
I generally have one of two reactions:
- I get really frustrated and feel SO STUPID! Then I get angry and want to start hitting or throwing things. When I reach this point I have to shut things down and walk away. If I call my husband, who is really good with numbers it turns into an argument. Not because he’s doing anything wrong but because I’m so upset with my stupidity that there’s no talking to me.
- If I’m present and not caught up in “TASK” mode as soon as I feel the “You’re so stupid” cloud descending I call for support. Then I walk away. As long as I’ve moved into the emotional brain there’s no way I’m going to be able to work. I have to walk away and get back into my logical brain.
For the most part I’ve come to accept that there are some things I’m good at and numbers isn’t one of them. With that in mind I make sure I have a support network to cover my ineptitude. It used to be that we were supposed to figure it out on our own. I’m so grateful collaboration is more the cultural norm!
It used to be that we honored and praised “Rugged Individualism” as if anyone and everyone should make it on their own…and something was wrong with them if not. Today’s pioneers, the small business owners are still susceptible to “Rugged Individualism”. But with global economy, competition, and specializations in every field, we pioneers need to embrace “collaboration” as a way of life. We need to create and nurture support networks.
Who is in your support network? Who helps you with the hardest part of being in business?
FYI: Albert Einstein, March 14, 1879 – April 18, 1955, was born in Germany but came to the US in 1932 with a price on his head posted by the Nazi government. He never returned. He is best known for his equation E = mc2 and his Theory of Relativity.