Are you Cassandra?
The Cassandra metaphor(variously labelled the Cassandra ‘syndrome’, ‘complex’, ‘phenomenon’, ‘predicament’, ‘dilemma’, or ‘curse’), is a term applied in situations in which valid warnings or concerns are dismissed or disbelieved.
The term originates in Greek mythology. Cassandra was a daughter of Priam, the King of Troy. Struck by her beauty, Apollo provided her with the gift of prophecy, but when Cassandra refused Apollo’s romantic advances, he placed a curse ensuring that nobody would believe her warnings. Cassandra was left with the knowledge of future events, but could neither alter these events nor convince others of the validity of her predictions.
The metaphor has been applied in a variety of contexts such as psychology, environmentalism, politics, science, cinema, the corporate world, and in philosophy, and has been in circulation since at least 1949 when French philosopher Gaston Bachelard coined the term ‘Cassandra Complex’ to refer to a belief that things could be known in advance.
The above is a definition of ‘Cassandra syndrome’ and a background story from Wikipedia. My interpretation is based on this but has been expanded laterally because I have met a string of people who have a similar nature of Cassandra but not necessarily causing tragic consequences as such, hence, continuing to be Cassandra.
If the following sounds familiar, I’m afraid you are possibly one.
1. When somebody talks to you about a ‘seemingly’ issue, you are already beginning to compose an ‘unsolicited’ solution/advice rather than listen to him. Therefore, you are no longer interested in the whole story and it shows.
2. You interfere in him and provide a solution/advice at any given chance because you undoubtedly believe you’re doing him a favour.
3. You don’t understand why the other person doesn’t appreciate you and your golden advice or dismisses it all together.
4. You give firm opinions on everything, though it’s a conspiracy or an assumption. If you’re sensitive (which is not common amongst Cassandras), you will sense annoyance from people at this point but Cassandra normally persists.
5. Then you sometimes feel, you’re not heard or listened to, or even appreciated for your valuable advice. However, being not particularly sensitive, you carry on with your life and being Cassandra.
I personally know a few and I strongly recommend you not to turn to be one. Having Cassandra around is tiring. Let’s say you’re a Cassandra.
You might be doing the right thing but the trouble is that nobody wants to listen to you. They are tired of your stubbornness and hard-headed opinions on everything. In modern context, what you think may be or may not be true. However, what puts people off is your unstoppable urge to give opinions and self-certified solutions to every matter you hear. This irritates the speaker with whom you have a conversation. People don’t necessarily want your advice or solution. They maybe want somebody to listen and possibly help them come up with their own solution. Honestly, they will not even thank you even if what you say is correct and solves their problem if they know you’re a Cassandra.
So how not to be Cassandra? Below are my suggestions.
Firstly, listen deeply and offer advice only when they want. Unsolicted advice is a pure nuisance. If you’ve got a burning desire to offer advice/solution because you know exactly how to deal with it? Ask if the other person wants to hear.
Secondly, be firm about what you say only when you know for certain. Don’t mix facts with gossips. If you’re 100% sure, you don’t even need to say niceties. Straight to the point.
Last but not least, talk and write succinct. I covet the word ‘succinct’ because this is the epitome of my attitude towards every aspect of life. No drama, no complication.
So, do you still want to be Cassandra? Seriously??