Saturday, April 2, 2011

Life Lessons, Good and Bad

I had a neat experience at work yesterday: I sat on a panel of Marines that were charged with trying to explain to a young Corporal why his unprofessional Facebook post was a bad idea.  I won't go into specifics, but let's just say that the lad had tactlessly whined about a certain group of Marines, and we assembled a panel of senior Marines that closely reflected that same grouping...poor guy. 

It was an excellent time to explain to him something that I occasionally lose sight of:  Every human being represents an opportunity to learn a lesson, be it good or bad.  Time for me to wax philosophical again...

I've mentioned before that my wife is an amazing woman; I'll go ahead and echo that again here.  She's an optimist, and I admire that.  I'm woefully short of optimism most of the time, as a result of my more "realist" approach to life (that's the code word for pessimist).  She tends to see the good in people at times when I cannot.  That leads me into the nucleus of this post, which is that we should value even that which we know is bad; it serves a useful purpose.

We often spend enormous amounts of time griping and whining about those that we disagree with or don't like; that's human nature in its basest form.  We don't seem to be very good at stopping and realizing that we should look to the advantage that those people bring us.  Instead of saying that you have to work or live with so-and-so, you should be saying that you get to work with them; it's an opportunity to learn. 

Some people spend their entire lives as a negative lesson, or an example of what not to do.  You've undoubtedly seen the demotivational posters about that, right?  Why spend your time complaining about that?  Why not spend your time learning from it?  So what if you've got a crappy boss; use that as a lesson on how not to lead when you get promoted into his or her position! 

If only we could follow that advice, right?  That's where my wife comes into play; she's far better than me (and most people I think) at seeing the silver lining in a grey cloud.

I just have to keep reminding myself that every negative person I meet is not a detractor to my life, but a useful addition.  Here's to hoping that we can all get a little better at following this simple lesson.

1 comment:

cary said...

Ah, yes - a professional review.

Lessons are, indeed, always around us. Good, bad, amazing, amusing, but always informative.

Want to know the difference between a realist and a pessimist?

A realist will look both ways before crossing a one way street. A pessimist doesn't bother, because they know they will probably get run over anyway; it doesn't matter what direction it comes from.