(Warning: Movie spoiler alert.)

In the movie The Banshees of Inisherin, a lead character, Colm, dreams of composing music on his violin that will outlive him. He’s bedeviled, however, by a former friend, Padraic, who is annoying him.

To dissuade Padraic from bothering him, Colm informs Padraic that he will cut off a finger each time Padraic speaks with him.

Soon, Colm has no fingers on his hand. This, of course, makes it exceedingly difficult to compose music on his violin.

At first glance, Padraic is to blame. How dare he continue to bother Colm – to the point of causing him to harm himself!

Upon further reflection, however, one realizes the pitiful victim mentality of Colm: By cutting off his fingers he can now blame Padraic for his inability to compose music. Thereby, Colm can (sickly) avoid his greatest fear: Discovering that he is not good enough to compose music worthy of recognition.

In the workplace there are colleagues (on low-performing teams) who play this same game.

“I can’t trust them” they say, which in some cultures means you get out of the responsibility of doing what is required to work together effectively.

Claiming “I can’t trust them” is like cutting off your fingers. (Similar claims can be substituted: “I can’t work with them” or “They’re not capable.”) By blaming “them” for the conditions creating poor performance, you have an excuse to operate outside your own integrity, to function at lower levels of character.

Not making any music because you are aware you cannot make great music is irresponsible – and robs everyone from realizing what is truly possible

“They” may, in fact, be untrustworthy. Still, what are you doing to prove that you are trustworthy?

P.S. Can you still care about people you do not trust? (One answer to this question is how groups of people begin the journey of doing big things together.)



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