Be the Change for the Better
“We are addicted to outrage,” read the article headline. Sounds about right to me, I thought, although I never read the article. It certainly seems to be the case, that anger in society is at an all-time high. No matter your side of the aisle or issue, you can be sure that someone will be passionate about their position. Passion isn’t a bad thing, but sometimes misplaced passion becomes anger. Add some entitlement and self-righteousness and you end up with a dangerous recipe.
Over the years I’ve encountered people who always seem to think they are right. It’s a good thing to be convicted of the truth, but sometimes people are so convinced that they are right they will adamantly stand their ground regardless of evidence or claims to the contrary. I’ve always found this interesting. How can anyone be so certain? From where does this conviction come? You want to have a conversation with someone like that?…I’ll pass.
Little kids are a lot like sponges, they soak up everything they hear and see. As a parent, I try my best to impart wisdom on occasion, and I sure hope they’re listening. It is funny to me that they often have memories of things I’ve said that I don’t remember saying. I remember as a child often hearing things like, “Don’t stoop down to their level, be the better person, or take the high road.” These were common sayings in my house growing up and these ideals were constantly impressed upon me by my family and friends. It was important to be a person of character and integrity, and to avoid lowering your standards or to engage in vengeful behavior.
The days of taking the high road seem to have faded in the rearview mirror. No longer do we seek the high road, but we often seem to do the opposite. We think, “I’ll show you!” and then we respond in kind, often only making the situation worse. It can be ugly. Sometimes we all need to take a pause, signal to the right and take the next exit and get back to the high road.
Our societal GPS seems to be broken. We’ve become like those people who follow the GPS into the harbor. Or perhaps we ignore its instructions and just go the way we know how because we think we know best. “Recalculating…” In the past, we would’ve said our compass was broken. And at the end of the day, that may be our biggest underlying problem. We’ve lost our corporate compass. How can we find it again? Perhaps we need to commit to taking the high road, stop stooping to the lowest level, and take a step back and consider that we might not always be right. How about considering those old-fashioned values of civility, respect, compassion, and patience? Perhaps we should start trying to change ourselves to be better for the world, rather than trying to change the world to be better for us.
“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
- John F. Kennedy