Accept fault in others to achieve greatness
Oh, man – where to begin. Yesterday, that slack-jawed lugnut over in accounting failed to deliver the numbers in time again. Also, my husband seems incapable of boiling water properly. The kids? Yeah, they’re just about ready for the asylum. Sound familiar? Then read this – stat.
It’s no wonder relationships are fickle things: so are the humans that partake in them. Whether at work or at home, we’re having increasing difficulties sticking to one thing for a long period of time. Divorce rates are up, long-term employment is down, and still we’re trying to combine an increasingly dynamic way of life with maintaining long-term relationships. Why? That’s a splendid question, but one to be answered in another post: right here and now, we’ll focus on the how.
So, let’s say you’ve got the makings of a relationship: two (or more) people, and a set of common goals. Whether those goals are musts or wants – that is, something you have to do or something that you choose to do solely because you’re passionate about it – does make a difference, albeit not a great one. It makes things a little bit simpler though, so we’ll use it for the sake of argument.
Meet Andrew and Bertie
The scene: two people in a room, whom – for lack of better imagination – we’ll call Andrew and Bertie. These two gents run a department together at a sales agency, where Andrew handles the administrative functions and Bertie is the sales coach. Both of them excel at what they do, and although they’re fairly different personality types, they appear to get along well.
As time goes by, however, they start to grate on one another. Why? Because, as time passes, our patience with small faults in others wears thin. Andrew’s insistence on keeping track of every single thing in minute detail is wearing Bertie’s nerves thin. Bertie’s willingness to shirk responsibility and leave others to pick up the slack has Andrew frothing. Other – relatively minor – problems arise. Friction sets in, and before long the issue gets out of hand. Instead of focusing on the value each brings to the table, the faults come into focus – and glaringly so.
If you think about it for a little while, you’re likely to come up with a few examples from your own relationships which, in all honesty, aren’t that serious – yet they still grate on you. So, what’s it going to take to resolve the matter? Dumb luck may be of some assistance, but whether you’re at odds with a colleague, spouse, superior, children, friends or any other human being you’re going to have to take possession of the proverbial Leatherman of conflict management tools: acceptance.
There’s no use fighting the inevitable
Repeat after me: I will not be able to force change in people. I will only be able to either inspire or, at the very best, trigger change in people who want to change.
It’s a hard truth, and one easily forgotten. People, including me and you, are incredibly resistant towards change, and will simply not change unless they consider the act of doing so to be of considerable value to themselves. Egocentric, you say? Then consider this: regardless of whether you want to change because you’ll be a better con man or to be a better parent to your children, your motivation is derived from your inner values – however they may have come into existence.
Instead of gnashing his teeth at Bertie’s irresponsible and immature ways, Andrew would be far better off realizing that Bertie will never be as good as he is in administrative matters. Bertie, meanwhile, should appreciate the fact the quasimodian laptop-lugger enables him to work freely with the staff rather than have his energy sapped by distracting paperwork. Should either one fail to realize this, the friction will increase to a breaking point – and then it might just be too late to patch things together.
Try to maintain relationships with a sufficient number of people, and the following will become painstakingly evident: you do not have sole proprietorship of the definition of right. Nor are you perfect. Appalling, I know. But… if this is true about you, isn’t it also true about others? In a word, yes. Which translates to the following: annoying as you may find someone else, there is a good chance they will be equally annoyed by you. Call it the imprecise emotional equivalent of one of Newton’s laws of motion, if you will.
Once you realize this, you have the necessary starting point for building bridges instead of burning them. Each and every one of us are fallible in our own ways, and who we are at the core is not easily changed. That’s why it’s important to maintain perspective when you’re judging others; after all, you’d prefer that when others judge you, wouldn’t you?
Lastly, the greatness
What do you think happens if you let the faults of others stand in your way by consuming your energy, attention and time in futile attempts to force change upon those who may not wish it? That’s right: no greatness for you.
Instead, accept people for who they are, and you will gain their trust and respect. And perhaps, just perhaps, that will make you the person that inspires them to change.
Wouldn’t that be great?