Self inflicted pain

The greatest grief’s are those we cause ourselves. Sophocles

The common tendency among people is to claim credit for all success and pass on blame for all failures. While there are many times we can legitimately claim to be the chief architect of success, there are as many number of reasons for us to take blame for.  Broadly we are guilty of failing on 3 counts and causing grief for ourselves; Poor attitude, ineffective communication and terrible time management.

The great fault many of us are guilty of most often is our very poor attitude. Most times we are negative about happenings in our lives. Other times we are extremely critical and go around as if on a fault finding mission. This results in us making more enemies, being critical unfairly and we find it very difficult to appreciate something.  Some of us have perfected the art of having excuses for every criticism that is directed at us and we have honed the fine art of escaping all responsibility. There are others who can always find someone to blame for anything that goes wrong. At various times we display other unproductive tendencies like being indecisive, self centered, loud mouthed, boastful, bashful and in extreme cases being foul mouthed and brazen.

Our ineffective communication manifests itself in us being ‘I’ focused and not ‘WE’ centered. This implies that we draw attention to ourselves thereby alienating peers, subordinates and group members. This also makes us vulnerable to be perceived as selfish, self centered and sly.  We are also guilty of being selective in our communication, either not communicating to some people or holding back critical information with deliberate intent. To be effective in our communication it is imperative that we have both the right spirit and use the right tools to communicate appropriately. A common tendency for most people is to delay communicating any bad news for fear that the messenger will be shot in the process. If communication is not timely the consequences can be disastrous for it can be too late to take corrective action. The greatest communication crime is to be silent when one has to open up and to be over communicative when one has to observe restraint.

In business terms not meeting deadlines is the greatest crime for it upsets carefully laid out plans and causes monetary loss as well as loss of reputation.  On a personal level not keeping appointments, being frequently delayed on flimsy grounds or being fashionably late are unpardonable crimes in the lexicon of the disciplined and punctual. Not keeping time implies that we are casual, unprofessional and disrespectful to others. There are other time related crimes that we perpetrate like giving unrealistic deadlines,  giving casual time commitments like saying ‘ We can revert in 1 – 2 months’ and not being apologetic for not meeting our time commitments.   The worst possible time management crime is penalizing the punctual person by keeping them waiting despite having a prior confirmed appointment .

If we look at the above ineffective behaviors that each of us guilty of sometime in some degree, the common thread is that we have full control over these and are fully responsible for it and yet we take the whole business casually.  What we don’t seem to consciously realize is that in the whole process of being tardy, casual and inefficient we are hurting ourselves the most.

Remember: Casualness leads to casualties.

Try this:

  1. The next time you are going to miss an appointment, make it a point to inform the concerned as soon as possible.  When giving commitments think twice and make sure that you can live up to your promise.  Use the maxim ‘ Promise less and deliver more’ to guide you in being perceive as more effective.
  2. Watch your attitude, words and habits for anything negative, disruptive, cynical, casual and self centered. If one can control these and turn them around to something positive, energetic and exciting we would be enhancing the quality of our lives and the lives of those who come in contact with us.

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