Recently when I was challenging a client about a specific behavior, the response I got was – “It’s a bad habit of mine – but it’s part of who I am, it’s just me!” I was really disturbed by that response, and, I can tell you, I did not let it go at that.
However, subsequently, I spent some time ruminating about his response and I wonder, in fact, if we all don’t have at least a little bit of that response inside of us. Are we not all inclined to accept at least some of our shortcomings and blame it on our personality, our upbringing, our environment or something else?
The more I consider it the more I realize how dangerous it is to go on accepting that these shortcomings are just “part of who I am”! Why?
Because bad habits are dangerous – to ourselves and others
Remember, no man is an island, so everything matters. Everything I do, or don’t do, has an effect – positively and negatively – on those around me. The same goes for everyone in my environment – everything they do, or don’t do, has an effect on me.
It is simply the law of cause and effect.
Let’s take an example from my previously mentioned client. His issue is procrastination and his excuse is the “it’s part of who I am, it’s just me” response. But the impact of his procrastination is that he misses deadlines. The consequence? Well, his team mates are dependent upon him so that they can hit their deadlines. The result? No one hits their deadline!
Is this acceptable? Not at all!
Another example is lack of punctuality. When making an appointment with someone recently, their colleagues comment to me was “they are always late – it’s just how they are” Guess what? They were late – and guess what their apology was? “I’m always late – everyone knows that!” We had agreed to meet for one hour but because he was late, we had to cut the meeting short – I was not going to be late for my next appointment.
Is this acceptable? Not at all! Bad habits are not acceptable. But they can become accepted if we do not challenge them.
We must make eliminating our own bad habits part of our personal development. You see, bad habits, like everything else, are not static. They are either getting better or getting worse.
Tolerance will only make our bad habits worse.
Be intolerant of your own bad habits, and the bad habits of others. Otherwise you are as guilty as my client for accepting that it is “part of who I am, it’s just me!”
How do you react to the bad habits of others? Has anyone ever called you on your bad habits? Would love to hear your comments below
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