As a child, whenever I felt annoyed by other people, my grandmother would respond with a wise and heartfelt saying: “The oak tree doesn’t mind if a wild sow scratches its back on it, does it?”

Do you know this saying? It comes from a novel by the German writer Walter Kempowski and has entered the German language as a proverb.

Ultimately, it means that we shouldn’t mind if other people try to annoy us or rub up against us.

Maybe this kind of thought has crossed your mind before, too. Either in a personal or professional context. Did it help you deal with the situation? Well, it certainly helped me.

After all, it expresses a sense of self-confidence and composure, and I’m sure that’s exactly what my grandmother wanted to convey: “Don’t get mad”; “Don’t let it get at you”, etc. 

If felt regularly and if it comes from conviction, this kind of saying – and many others – can form a mindset or firm belief in us. Both mindsets and beliefs are building blocks of our individual attitudes and thus grow into an integral part of our subconscious processes. This means that we instinctively act upon them when we feel triggered. In such situations, we typically operate on autopilot, and thus they are not directly or consciously controlled by us.

Why am I telling you this?

The dose makes the poison. In other words: There are two sides to every coin.

While the saying is meant to help us deal with certain situations more confidently and morel calmly, it can swing exactly in the opposite direction if used too often, with the “wrong goal” or even if the stimulus threshold is simply too low. After all, the phrase, “The oak tree doesn’t mind if a wild sow scratches its back on it” could also be interpreted as an expression of arrogance and ignorance.

Is that what you want?

With this, let me wish you inspiring thought processes.

Go for it,

Your crisis manager

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