We are all like Icebergs


  • Author Parrish C. Payton
  • Published September 30, 2020
  • Word count 614

When we encounter another, we see their face, we see their body, we may even feel them by means of a handshake or a hug. We hear their voice; we may even pick up the scent of fragrance from them as they stand in proximity to us. What we are encountering, in this meeting, is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’, as it were. Most of what makes up that individual is unseen, unheard, unfelt and unsmelled. The vast majority of who that person is…. is beneath-the-surface. Most of what and who they are rest within their unseen, unheard, unfelt and unsmelled … Qualities!

Why Qualities?

Qualities…. are what really comprises us as individuals, for the most part.

The analogy of an iceberg is a particularly good one to illustrate why qualities are so important to appreciating who we really are.

On the surface of the wide-open sea, if we observe an iceberg in the distance, what we are actually seeing is merely one eighth of the entire iceberg. Beneath-the-surface, out of view, lies the majority of what that iceberg really is, completely. The ramifications of that fact are monumental! As can be noted from what happened to the Titanic.

If a vessel powering towards an iceberg is oblivious to the fact that it needs to give it a wide berth, the results could be disastrous. And so, it is with our dealings with others. As human beings most of what we are is beneath-the-surface. When we say something to someone, it is not just the words that they hear from us that completely states what we are saying. It is also how we view the individual, how we feel about them that matters. Do we respect them or disrespect them? Do we love them or hate them? Do we care about them or could we not care less? These feelings and thoughts concerning him or her that we just spoke audible words to that they heard with their ears, are unheard. However, they are more important than the actual words. It is these unheard, invisible, thoughts, feelings and emotions that result from the qualities that we all possess or not, that really count.

Many of the problems that exist in relationships between individuals and groups results from a failure in developing fine qualities. The development of qualities, though an essential aspect of human development has been neglected in practically every institution throughout history. Schools teach pupils math, science, grammar, history, and physical fitness. But they do not teach students how and why to be loving, to be gracious, to be loyal. Oh yes, these are touched on in a cursory manner. However, they are not given anywhere near the attention necessary for successful interaction in a long life ahead.

So, you say, these qualities are taught at home? Perhaps, sometimes. That is where they should be taught by those whom these qualities mean the most. Most parents are far too busy to get to the heart of their children and instil in them the myriad of qualities that makes for a fully competent individual. Universities, of course, they are the ones who teach the future leader’s fine qualities that prepares them for the challenges they’ll face in this complex world. Not so! Schools of higher learning are more focused on equipping students to be skilled at their chosen career path. You rarely see courses devoted primarily to developing inner qualities that enhance personality. As a result of this dearth of development of qualities in human beings, Titanic-Iceberg interactions occur on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, lifetime basis.

The answer is:

Leaders need to learn, develop and cultivate….. QUALITIES


I have found two things to be true in life: No, make that three: 1) Relationships, good relationships, are one of the keys to happiness and success in leadership and in life. 2) The development of fine qualities within oneself aids in cultivating good relationships. 3) Most people fail to do so. It is for that reason that I created this program to help new to mid-level leaders to come to enjoy effective, successful leadership qualities.



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