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While we may not always realise it – or, if we do, like to admit it (!) – much of our lives are driven by hidden agendas. Both ours and other people’s (!). Or, put another way, by “What’s in it for me?!?”. 
Some of them are very obvious and, dare we say it, calculating in some way or other. 
The rationale behind them is quite simple. If I do x, then the other person will do y. Or, perhaps, I’ll get y. 
Sometimes it’s exactly the opposite. Trying to make sure that someone doesn’t do y. Or we don’t get y. 
Either way, the desired outcome is achieved, whether the other person is aware of it or not. 
Then there’s the more general approach, which is about building up goodwill in some way. Perhaps for an easier life in the short term or the expectation of something we desire in the longer term. In other words, it tends to be an ongoing project, playing the long game. 
More often, it’s a bit of both, whether we – and everyone else – are aware of it. Or not… 
As always, it’s much easier to see this in action with other people – particularly children – than ourselves (!). Realising that we may not always be acting with the purest motives can be a difficult pill to swallow. However, simply acknowledging that we’re not perfect – nor is anyone else – takes a huge amount of pressure off. Phew! It allows us to take a more objective look at our lives and how we could have behaved differently, whether in a particular situation, generally or towards another person. 
Which brings us on to responsibility or, put another way, our ability to respond. In every situation – and with every person – we have complete choice as to how we respond. Even if that may not be how it feels. We’ve written about this very different perspective on responsibility before which can be found here
Regardless of what may have happened in the past, we always have a clean sheet and a fresh choice as to how we respond on this occasion. The only thing that stops us is the Little Monster in our heads, telling us that we can’t, would look stupid or a myriad of other reasons to keep us repeating the past. Which, of course, guarantees exactly the same result and the continuation of the status quo. Now, that is stupid… 
So, perhaps it’s time to become a little more aware of the “why”, the hidden agendas running in our lives. The game of chess – ah, now this week’s choice of picture makes sense (!) – being played out in front of our very eyes. Choosing to respond in a different way that benefits everyone concerned. Both now and in the longer term. 
As always, the choice is yours. 
Picture by unknown author 
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