When I surf through Reddit, I occasionally find threads that are just worthwhile to save, because they make me laugh, because they’re interesting, or because they cause me to think.
Tonight, I found one of those threads that really made me think, and you can find it here: What is something someone said that forever changed your way of thinking?
And I’ll leave it up to you to decide how it makes you feel, but I just wanted to share a few of my favourites…
I was 13 years old, trying to teach my 6 year old sister how to dive into a swimming pool from the side of the pool. It was taking quite a while as my sister was really nervous about it. We were at a big, public pool, and nearby there was a woman, about 75 years old, slowly swimming laps. Occasionally she would stop and watch us. Finally she swam over to us just when I was really putting the pressure on, trying to get my sister to try the dive, and my sister was shouting, “but I’m afraid!! I’m so afraid!!” The old woman looked at my sister, raised her fist defiantly in the air and said, “So be afraid! And then do it anyway!”
That was 35 years ago and I have never forgotten it. It was a revelation — it’s not about being unafraid. It’s about being afraid and doing it anyway.
My old boss, the CEO of a small hospital, told me a story from back when he was a lab technician (for simplicity, let’s call him Dan). Dan had forgotten to check some sort of mechanism on a piece of equipment he used, it malfunctioned and broke the equipment which ended up having around a $250,000 repair bill. The next day Dan’s boss called him in to talk about it, and he was sure he was going to be fired. His boss asked him why he didn’t do a proper check, made sure he understood what happened and sent him back to work. Dan asked him “Am I not getting fired? I was almost sure that’s what this was about.” His boss said “No way, I just spent $250,000 teaching you a lesson you’ll never forget. Why would I fire you now?”
It seems silly, but that attitude always resonated with me. Don’t make professional decisions based on emotional responses. Always know what your goal is when dealing with someone, and what exact problem you are trying to solve. Everyone makes mistakes, and yelling at them just makes them resent you and become defensive. Being calm and understanding will make people look up to you.
“Everyone you meet knows something you don’t.” My grandfather told me this, and it’s been a good reminder that I am surrounded by teachers.
“The person that you will spend the most time with in your life is yourself, so try to make yourself as interesting as possible.”
A small thing, but vastly more important than it sounds:
I was sitting in a bus once, and we came to the railroad tracks. There were some cars sitting inbetween us and the next red light, so if a train came, we’d be stuck until it had passed. That was always a couple of annoying minutes.
Then the light turned green, and the bus went across the train tracks without having to wait for a train. Pheew, crisis averted. Then, behind me, a mother said to her small child:
“That was too bad, we didn’t get to see the train today.”
That was the perfect way to frame that. Why not enjoy what you get?
Too many others to include, but a fantastic read.