How familiar are these phrases? These comments and many like them are common in the workplace. They are used in reference to managers, employees, co-workers, customers and clients. Sometimes, they are even aimed at colleagues, friends and family.
But the truth is that no one makes you mad. You make yourself mad. People do what they do. You decide if those actions "rub you the wrong way." It's a choice!
I have often said that the success of any organization is dependent on the people who work there. All organizational improvements begin with individual improvements. The first step toward peak performance is taking responsibility for one's self. Along with that responsibility comes a recognition of the awesome power of choice.
The greatest power we have as human beings is the power of choice. We choose our behavior, our actions, and our reactions. We choose our responses, not only to the actions and behavior of others, but to every single thing that happens in our lives. We can't control the world or everything that happens in it but we do choose how circumstances affect us and how we react.
The mind is a wonderful tool. It allows us to process immeasurable amounts of data, formulate judgments and make decisions with incredible speed. In his book Think Better, Tim Hurson talks about three neural functions that help us analyze faster with less thought. These functions can be very helpful when health and well being depend on quick decisions. They can also help us avoid getting bogged down in over analysis on the endless decisions needed just to get through the day.
However, rapid judgments are not always accurate and quick decisions are not always the best decisions. In our fast paced lives, the need for speed often leads to choices that are not well conceived. Often, so little thought is given to the choice that it seems unconscious.
When the choices are unconscious and the results are problematic or painful it is easy to fall into the role of a victim. The victim always has someone or something to blame. They can blame their co-worker, their boss, the economy, the government and even the position of the moon.
But even the unconscious choices are ours. We must take responsibility for them. We choose to be angry. We choose to judge or blame others. We choose to react without thinking. Sometimes those reactions cause irreparable damage.
Perhaps it is time to develop the discipline to avoid those "helpful" habits that speed along the process of judgment and decisions. Perhaps faster is not always better. Perhaps we can slow down and think before we react. Perhaps we can turn the unconscious into conscious.
It is never good to languish in the swamp of self pity. Accept the consequences of the choices made. Then make better choices.