Leo Diaz

Sharing insight on life, productivity, and the pursuit of our creative calling.

Learning To Endure One Another: Get To Know The Backstory First

We all figured that’s just the way she was, high-strung, short-tempered, and ultra critical. And that was on a good day.

She was our newest Vice President of Marketing and from day one she made it clear that things would be different moving forward. That the time for “fun and games” were over. Under her watch, we either pick up an ore and row or jump off and drown.

Anybody who spent more than an hour working for her knew that she was wound up real tight. I’m talking yoga pants tight.

She didn’t give an inch. She micro-managed everything and everyone. Down to what we wore to work and who we took lunch breaks with.

There was no denying that the lady was a tyrant of the highest order.

But, even so, despite her terrorizing tactics and bruising management skills, something about her made me want to understand her better.

“It can’t be that this person simply became this way, right? Something made her who she is.”

That hard outer shell was surely covering up a backstory.

Unfortunately, I never got to know it. Three months into the job she resigned due to health issues.

I’ll be the first person in any room to give someone the benefit of the doubt. I wasn’t always like this but, through the years, witnessing the highs and lows of the human experience and being on the receiving end of grace a few times has given me a fondness for people and their individual “backstories”.

What are “backstories”?

Every last bit of a person’s past experiences, across the spectrum of what we define as good and bad, negative and positive, painful and pleasurable.

Our backstory determines who you and I become. It essentially pulls all the strings of our present state. Influencing our emotional responses, desires, choices, curiosities, passions, mood, worldview, and even religion.

You ever wonder why your best friend struggles with the opposite sex? Or why your employee fails repeatedly at simple tasks? Or why that stranger you’re sharing a cab with right now can’t make eye contact with you? Or why your spouse is never able to apologize even when they’re in the wrong?

It’s their backstory.

They can’t help it. Their past experiences have trespassed into their present existence.


If you’re having a difficult time with someone at work, in social forums, or in family circles, instead of getting offended or brushing them off as one might normally do, try having a conversation with them. Not small talk, but deep diving into the authentic “them”. Probe a little bit. Ask them about their past. Let them ask you about yours.

Endure that person.

This is how we open ourselves up to a higher form of compassion. This is how we go beyond the version of that person our senses experience and reach them on a deeper level where nothing is hidden. Where all false personas are obliterated and the true self, as broken as it may be, is standing there with arms wide open.

About Leo Diaz

I share ideas, insight, and higher reflections on life, business, and the pursuit of our creative calling.

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