Do not act consciously and establish rituals: the Angela Merkel principle

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Our chancellor is particularly well-known for a property: she can be persistently persevering in difficult situations - if you mean evil - stubborn.

Angela Merkel

Here writes for you:


Professor Dr. Martin-Niels Däfler Best of HR –®Prof. Dr. Martin-Niels Däfler teaches at the University of Economics and Management (FOM) in Frankfurt am Main.


From the author:




The Kohl's extinguishing perfected

The taz headed a comment with “Merkel has perfected Kohl's sitting out - victory of stoicism”. The magazine Focus, which is located much further to the right, even gave the chancellor the title “Master in Sitting Out”.

Let us concentrate on the positive aspect of sitting out: Sometimes it can be advisable not to act consciously in a problematic situation or simply not to do an unpleasant task. I remember a saying: "Time heals all wounds."

Much is done by itself

I interpret this type of speech more comprehensively than is generally the case, namely, much is done by itself if one waits long enough.

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Perhaps you are familiar with this: you collect specialist articles that you absolutely want to read, but which you do not have time to do now. Half a year later, you look through the stack and say to yourself "Oh, but not so important - off to the trash."

Another example: In your office there is a lot of discussion about how long the window should remain open for ventilation. They apply the Angela Merkel principle and think: "It will soon be winter anyway and nobody wants to tilt the window anymore."

No request to refuse to work

Please do not misinterpret the Angela Merkel principle. This is by no means an invitation to refuse to work. Rather, the Angela Merkel principle stands for a calm mindset and for the recommendation, the Impuls to oppose immediate action and to wait and see.

The art, of course, is to recognize when immediate intervention is required and when it is worthwhile to wait. So much is clear in any case: not always have to react immediately and break out in hectic actionism - patience can be a worthwhile alternative!

Why routine and patience are important

And, of course, rituals and patience are part of our daily lives - and they make life a lot easier for us. For what brain automatically unwinds, it does not work anymore. This creates space for new things.

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Therefore, I would like to break a lance for the positive sides of routine and habits. Just think about the famous Dinner for One.

What would New Year's Eve be without Miss Sophie?

What do numerous public TV stations do on New Year's Eve? They radiate the classic dinner for one, because they know for sure that for many Germans the comedy about Miss Sophie belongs to the yearly change like böller, lead dipping and sparkling wine.

For my mother, for example, would be the 31. December without Butler James and Tigerfell unimaginable - it is her solid ritual to initiate the last hours of the year with this sketch classic.

What are rituals?

And that brings us to the topic: rituals! In his very readable booklet, The Magic of Rituals, Jörg Zirfas writes: “Rituals bring the past into the present and at the same time allow them to be experienced as the future.”

But, what is a ritual? Generally speaking, an action that follows certain rules. We are not talking about ecclesiastical, social or family rituals - such as the end of Christmas Eve - but personal rituals.

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Maroons or slanting habits?

One person always starts his day's work spraying the ficus with water, the other treats himself to a cappuccino at 10 o'clock every day, and another goes for a walk around the block in any weather after lunch.

One may smile at such rituals, one may call them fancies, or even as slanting habits - but one neglects the positive effects that such actions have on the performer.

Rituals give structure and create order

For rituals give structure, they create order and are beacons in chaotic everyday life. Rituals help us to decelerate - they are parking lots along the hectic freeway of life.

That is why: Rituals are built into your daily work - whether it is the extensive morning shower, the enjoyment of a cup of herbal tea in the breakfast break or the reading of the football magazine at Vespers.

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German edition: ISBN 9783965964204

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