Posted in advice

The Cost of Cruelty

“You get more flies with honey than vinegar.”  You have probably heard that expression before, which begs the questions….Why the hell are you trying to attract flies?  Most people try to repel them, this is almost as difficult to understand as that one about cake.  But everyone understands this is more about how you get what you may want out of people.  That being nasty or bitter will only repel others versus being nice and sweet will attract people.

But it is just so easy to be mean, it is fun to tell people off when they screw you over.  And if you never have a need for those people again, there are no consequences to telling them off.  But if you do need that person again, pissing them off is no way to get help from them later.  It is generally good to remember your leverage and theirs, along with thinking about who has more.

I generally think about the bill collector, you owe them money, they want your money, but you actually have to decide to give it to them, you have the leverage.  If your credit sucked to begin with, you have very little to lose if you don’t pay them back, and depending on the amount, they may spend more on lawyers in court than your debt may be worth.  So, if the bill collector is being a dick, you can have a lot of fun taking your daily frustrations out on them, they become an easy punching bag, especially if they are being jackasses.

If you’re a bill collector, maybe being nice will get you a lot further than being a dick.  Over and over again we see examples where rewards yield a better outcome than punishments.  That is not to say there isn’t a place for punishment, but having both a stick and a carrot, is better than just having one or the other. 

In the employee and employer relationship, being nice to your staff will get them to actually want to do a good job, instead of just enough to get by.  If they work out of fear, they will always be second guessing themselves, and more likely than not, make more mistakes than if they were just relaxed.  I don’t think most people wake up in the morning trying to ruin someone else’s day, and we all need a good dose of perspective. 

If we are all just a little patient with each other, listen to each other, and remember the end goal, maybe we can actually have a conversation and see the other side.  And then maybe we will get that bill paid or that deliverable completed perfectly.

Posted in advice

Death of or by Worrying

Life is a beautiful and complicated thing.  Everyday we are challenged with constant decisions that we have to make, for ourselves and those we care about.  Those decisions have impacts that go far beyond what we may have intended, and have a butterfly effect that may go on long after we are gone.  Our children, their friends, nieces, and nephews, can be very impressionable and one thing that was said or done may have an impact on what they do in the future and how they interact with the people in their lives. 

If you sit and think about the ripples you can have on others lives and how they may turn into waves, you may spend a lot of time worrying about whether you have had a positive or negative impact.  But what good does worrying do?  This is something that I think most, if not all of us, deal with, we spend a lot of time thinking about the past and the present that we don’t take time to think about the future.

When something goes wrong in life, we look for who to blame.  The person we blame tries to excuse his decisions or actions.  But is that really the point, consequences should not be about revenge or punishment, but about rehabilitation, and preventing something from happening again.  When we make excuses, it is because we are worried that taking responsibility will lead to a punishment we don’t want.  The problem here is that both the accuser and accused aren’t thinking about fixing a problem for the future, but just want the satisfaction of being right.  If the accuser is clear that they just don’t want the transgression to happen again, then the accused can take responsibility and change the way they act in the future.

But so much time is spent worrying about what could or might happen, that we don’t take the actions to change what is going to happen.  Don’t let the worry monster kill you, instead slay the worry monster. Worrying will not feed you, it will not heal you, and most definitely it will not fix anything, only your actions, in word or in deed, can do that.