I want to share three common statements that I am not fond of. In fact, the majority of the time I believe they are simply not true, even though many people accept them at face value.
1. Good things come to those who wait.
Hmmm…not necessarily. There must be persistence applied to the situation, otherwise one is passively waiting around for something to happen. When persistence and diligent awareness is combined with patience, this can be a very good thing. When applied over time, this combination can lead to triumph, even when there have been many setbacks or failures.
We think of Thomas Edison and the lightbulb–I hear different things about how many times he ‘failed’ to make the lightbulb work. He is reported to have once said the following to someone who labeled his efforts to create a working lightbulb as a failure:
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 700 ways that won’t work.” People debate the actual number that he said, but I think you get the idea.
2. Adversity makes one stronger. Sometimes this is true, but often it is not. Adversity can beat people down. I see people often go into a tailspin after adverse events in their lives, especially after a series of them.
A very interesting question to ponder is this: What’s the difference between people who seem to get stronger from adversity and those who despair and become more depressed, cynical, etc.? Hmmm…
3. This last one is not so much a quote, but rather a statement that adults make to children, and/or one that older adults make to younger adults.
“When you get older, you are going to see that the world works like…” (fill in the blank, but it’s some prediction of how the younger individual is going to see the world, or people, or events, at some point in their lives).
This one drives me crazy, and it’s not helpful the majority of the time. What is really being communicated here? To me, this sounds like “I really know what’s best, and you’re going to learn to see it the way I do someday”
Wow, really?! How in the world does someone know this? Even if the advice or input is solid, more often than not this statement creates resentment and disengagement, rather than true learning or growth. I’ve witnessed this statement–and the accompanying negative reaction–more times than I care to remember, both in my work and in my life.
From my viewpoint, it’s easy to see why people don’t react well to this. One alternative to this statement could be “This has been my experience, and this is why I believe this to be true”.
I finish this blog by saying that Statement #2–and the question of why people respond so differently to adversity in life–deserves more attention, and soon!