The following is a translation by Cfbt Roy of an article by Giovanni Scuda . The original article is here: http://antincendio-italia.it/fire-or-pride-be-water/…
FIRE OR PRIDE?
There is something extremely dangerous and difficult to defeat.
It hides, does not respond to the laws of physics nor spacetime … yet it does more damage than millions of LPG tankers that explode in the city center, a shower of radioactive meteorites or a tsunami.
It doesn’t notify you of it’s arrival and you never know if it will go away. Every firefighter faces it every day.
It is pride.
Why should this feeling that gives power and faith by its own be considered a danger to the firefighter? Why should the firefighter who always embraces pride and from which he/she gets strength and courage, even in situations larger than himself/herself, keep his guard up?
Pride is like the WATER we use: too little does not solve the problem; too much it creates new ones.
“IL TROPPO STROPPIA” (The too much destroys).
Too much pride prevents us from OPENING THE MIND, WELCOMING THE NEW and stops us learning FROM OUR ERRORS.
Let’s think about our firefighter life and try for a moment to stop if any of these thoughts have ever passed through our head:
– “Wow … I do not remember how the pump works … how can I ask my colleagues given that I’ve been a firefighter for decades? They would immediately turn on me … I would lose my colleagues’ respect … Better to keep quiet and pretend to know “
– “My colleague just made a mistake during an intervention … I would like to point out to him, but I’m afraid of how he will take it. Better to be silent, avoid an uncomfortable confrontation and I will not be avoided/exclued by the team “
– The other day , during a discussion, I was wrong and I treated my colleague badly: I would love to apologize, but if I do so, I will pass as weak and lose esteem and authority”
Or, you’ve ever heard of such phrases:
“And you, a mere civilian, would like to teach me, a veteran firefighter, how to put out a fire?
I’m a firefighter … I KNOW “
“We are the firefighters, and no one can teach us or say what we have to do.
“You’re just a volunteer: I’m a professional”
Perhaps we have found ourselves in one of these situations. It is not at all nice, in fact it is sometimes embarrassing.
And this is where we have to find our “inner firefighter”, that is to look for a solution at all costs, we must push us towards a change: we must “be proud enough to avoid arrogance!” (Apparently a contradiction).
How? With these 3 concepts:
– Self Awareness
– KNOW HOW TO ask questions
With self-awareness, we realize that we can’t save the world alone, and that therefore those who offer help (colleagues, or even people who do not wear the same uniform) can potentially be a resource (obviously consistent with their skills and abilities).
Self-Awareness opens up our mind. It makes us more curious and leads us to continually study and upskill. Self-Awareness makes us understand that knowledge is free so giving it and sharing it will not empty our pockets.
Empathy allows us to touch and understand the sensitivity of others. Often our demeanor camouflages our intentions and contaminates our daily relationships; we are firefighters so “decontamination” should be part of our DNA.
Empathy makes us understand even when it is time to risk giving criticism (which is always expected to be constructive) and when it is time to respect the silence, or the pain of others.
Knowing how to ask questions, as well as embracing the two previous ones, makes us flexible and ready for change: changeable like water.
The great athlete Bruce Lee always said:
“Free your mind, be formless … like water
If you put the water inside a bottle, it takes the shape of the bottle
If you put the water inside a cup, it takes the shape of the cup
If you put the water inside a teapot, it takes the shape of the teapot.
Water can flow or it can crash.
Be like water my friends “
If we learn to be like water, we will be able to adopt behaviors that are not ours, which will facilitate our communication and our relationships with colleagues and “with the outside world”.
WE SHOULD NOT BE ASHAMED TO SHOW OR DECLARE OUR Limitations.
We start by putting US in front of I, and then we make our three expressions:
– “I’M SORRY”
– “I FAILED, MY APOLOGIES TO YOU”
– ” I take responsibility for this mistake “
Our maturity will start and continue with:
“AH, YOU ARE SHOWING ME SOMETHING NEW, TELL ME ABOUT AND LETS CHECK THIS OUT, MAYBE CAN BE USEFUL”
“YOU WANT TO DO STUFF … OK!
I DO NOT PERCEIVE this AS A THREAT FOR MY CAREER.
IN This TEAM WE WANT PEOPLE LIKE YOU “
“SORRY BOYS BUT MY MEMORY FAILS ME: CAN SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN HOW DOES THE EXPLOSIMETER WORK SINCE I CAN’T REMEMBER IT?”
“GUYS, LETS HAVE A TALK (OR DEBRIEFING), to analyse WHAT HAS WORKED AND WHAT HAS NOT WORKED?”
Let’s try it.
It costs nothing.
It will be our small cultural revolution.
It will be like a waterfall, a river in flood, a chain effect …
It will be a thousand times more effective than a NOZZLE at 1000lt/min or a 700bar spreader and will positively influence the others too.
“Be water my friends”.