In career, life
4Jan 11

     From the time we are little children, people try and influence our decisions.  Most of the time, people that genuinely care about us are trying to be “helpful” or to lead us along the “right” path.  Telling us not to put our finger in a socket, or touch the stove when it is hot, are examples of good influence.  ( but most people know that the only way a child will really learn is to actually experience these things, and decide for themselves whether or not this is something they would like to repeat ) Telling a little girl she should be playing with Barbies rather than a train set is not a beneficial thing, nor would insisting a boy cannot wear pink, be.  As much as some parents may think these kinds of guidelines will help, they may actually be stifling their childrens’ creativity to a degree.

     I am not a parent, but I have lived long enough to know full well that most children want to be supported and encouraged by their parents in the things that they are actually interested in.  Just because your children may not share your interests does not mean there’s anything wrong with them.  Everyone is different – an individual, and we need to respect that fact.  Peoples’ differences should be celebrated, not hidden.  The world would be a pretty boring place if we were all into the very same things, or all shared the same talents and abilities.

     As adults, we are also faced with situations where we may feel like someone is trying to put a square peg in a round hole, so to speak.  I have never understood this – it makes no sense.  In the past, I have worked at jobs where one person is told they should get trained to work in a different department ( which they have absolutely no interest in ) yet there are people who have asked specifically to learn that job, yet don’t get the chance.  It is completely illogical to force someone to do something they really don’t want to do, when there is someone eager and interested just waiting for the chance.  One would think that employers would understand that each person has strengths, and putting them in an area that they excel at/have a real interest in, is a win/win situation for everyone.  Why would anyone purposely do the opposite? It certainly won’t gain you any respect, and it may make you lose truly good people.

      In my personal life, I always try and encourage friends and family to do things that make them happy.  It may be something they absolutely love, it may be something they have a natural talent for … the bottom line is: life is too short to let someone ( who obviously doesn’t have your best interests at heart ) force you to do something that makes you miserable. (whether this be in a relationship,  at a job, or whatever. )

     I think Einstein put it best when he said:

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
–Albert Einstein

     Every person has value, whether it be in your family life, personal life, or work life.  It takes a lot of different personality types to make something work smoothly.  Not everyone has to agree all the time, but I do think we need to focus more on encouraging people in the things they are good at, rather than criticizing them for not doing something else.  Some people don’t seem to need praise – the over-confident, in-your-face type people, perhaps. Well, if they really felt that good about themselves, would they really need to be so in-your-face, loud and obnoxious?  ( Of course not !!! )  They are simply screaming for attention – it’s insecurity hiding under false bravado.  We’ve all seen the type.  As for the shy, “sensitive” people that society generally casts aside as being “weak” or “inferior”, well, news-flash – they have value, too!  They tend to take their time with things, do a more thorough job, and actually care about what they are doing – what a concept.

     I could go on and on about this subject, but for the sake of brevity, will try and wrap this up.  My main point is this: instead of tearing down people, we should be building them up, supporting them, encouraging the things they are good at/interested in.  If everyone gave this a try, I think we’d see much happier, healthier work environments, and this would spill over into other aspects of our lives.  Like Einstein said, “Everybody is a genius”.  Give people the chance to shine in their own way.


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