Turn a deaf ear to slander,
Be considerate in correcting others,
Do not be taken up by trifles,
Do not resent plain speaking,
Meet offenders half-way,
Be thorough in thought,
Have an open mind,
Do your duty without grumbling.”
– Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
What drew me to this quote is that it is many centuries old, yet so relevant. In each portion it makes sense, it resonates.
Love work … I reached a point in my life about 7-8 years ago where I did not want a job or a career to live, I wanted a job or career that I loved and looked forward to coming to work. I wanted to be able to get so consumed in what I was doing that time would fly by. I wanted to do work where I could see I was adding value, that I was making a difference. All of my work related decisions since then have centered on this core thought. I have been extremely lucky in that the last few positions I have held are ones that challenge and inspire me. I sincerely hope to keep that trend up today and into the future.
Turning a deaf ear to slander … this is a hard one, yet so true. I believe if you get caught up in a back and forth with someone, it doesn’t end well for anyone. I prefer to stay calm and voice my opinions and thoughts without disparaging others. I do believe you have to stand up for what you believe in and speak, yet in a calm and controlled manner. Does it always work? No. However, it is what I choose to work towards.
Be considerate in correcting others … There will be times in everyone’s lives where the need exists to correct someone. It could be a child, a friend, a peer, a direct report, just about anyone. Handling it with empathy, kindness, and consideration goes a long way. Hammering down correction on someone can typically have the opposite effect and can lead to far more difficult conversations in the future. What is that saying…. Praise in public, counsel in private.
Do not be taken up by trifles … this reminds me of the book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. Granted, there are things that are a trifle to some, yet may be pushing a button or two. Understanding what your triggers or buttons are goes a long way towards focusing on the important things and not the trivial items. You don’t want to win the battle and lose the war. For me this can be said about any facet of life from home to work. In my house we actually say out loud “I am picking this battle” if there is something we can’t seem to let go of or feel extremely strongly about. As the recipient of hearing these words, it helps you take a few moments and think if it is something of value enough for the listener to go forward or let it go. You do get a choice. These words are not used often in my household, perhaps a handful of times a year, yet each time, there is a choice and decision to be made. We each have to decide what a trifle is to us and work to minimize the impact.
Do not resent plain speaking … people should be able to speak their mind, in a considerate and kind manner. I believe in being open and receptive and to not harming the messenger. I work to understand that the person had a choice in bringing something to my attention and in order to ensure that continues to happen, I cannot blame or in any way create a negative atmosphere when being informed.
Meet offenders half-way … I personally struggle with this one. If someone has offended me severely, it may be difficult to swallow the emotions and meet them half way. Most times I remind myself that perhaps they were unaware they were offending or I ask myself what made me get offended. These techniques usually help. However, it the offense hits one of my core beliefs and values, it can take time.
Be thorough in thought … I try to think before I speak and to think about possible scenarios, situations, or circumstances that could be impacted with a poorly thought out choice of words. The extra effort can be moments to overnight depending on the topic.
Have an open mind … this is by far my favorite piece of this quote. An open mind, being open and willing to know that you don’t have all the answers, that you may not have the information, that you could be wrong. The world is full of shades of gray; I have found that you cannot lock yourself into not seeing the nuances. Also, I like to be open to the unexpected, the things that are difficult to explain away…one never knows where inspiration can come from.
Do your duty without grumbling … duty, it can be considered an archaic word, yet, means something to everyone. It may mean something different to each person, yet, it means something. For me, at home it has one definition and at work, it has another. At work, I am aware of what my role is and what my responsibilities are. I know what items are on my plate and what the expectations of me are. It is up to me to prioritize my work and let my manager know if/when I run into blocks that may impact deadlines or deliverables.
Goodness, I feel like I couldn’t stop writing. This is one of my longer postings.
What do you think of this quote?
I hope one or more of the statements speaks to you.
Have a fabulous Thursday.