December 14, 2011

Things I've learned

I put this to writing a week or so ago, and it sums up a lot of what I know about the world:
Rules can be bent if you want to bend them.
If you don’t want to bend them, it’s nice to have rules to fall back on.
We all take advantage of and get screwed by that.
It's far from a chipper thought and all, but it's something that I've seen happen over and over again. Teachers and administrators give students second and third chances, but if they don't want to give those second and third chances - because the student's a jerk, because the teacher's in a bad mood, because the student didn't ask the right way - then it's awfully easy to just point at a the rules and say 'tough luck, kid.'

It doesn't matter whether you're a teacher, a student, a building administrator, a politician, a father, a mother, a police officer, a boss, or an underling. There are times when the rules work for you - because you understand the rules better or because you're in a position to make the rules - and there will surely be a time when you'll come out wishing the rules weren't there.
People are doing the best job they can.
There are a hundred reasons why they might be doing a crappy job, but they're doing the best that they can. They might be dumb. They might be ignorant of how to do a better job. They might have things going on at home or with their mistress. They might have your wishes running about fourteenth on their list of priorities, but they're doing the best they can within those limits.

Don't complain that they're lazy. Don't complain that they're stupid. Don't tell them to just work harder. At best you'll get a momentary improvement but rarely anything valuable in the long term.
You get more bees with honey than with vinegar.
There are hundreds of reasons why we could go through the golden rule in any one of its variations, but I find much of the important things about behavior boil down to this - be nice to people. It's not always easy to do. It's not always something that sees quick results. But it's the better path if you can manage to take it.


achilles3 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
achilles3 said...

I think that that mindset works for Middle Class Americans.
But, and maybe sadly, not for many other people on the planet.

PHSChemGuy said...

I have a feeling I'm being trolled, but I'll bite.

Please explain why these things I've learned don't apply to anyone but middle class Americans.

achilles3 said...

Not trolled.
I'm just saying that that the whole "people are doing the best that they can" probably does not apply to say government officials in countries where oppressive regimes reign.

I don't think that protesters on the streets with real change in their plans have "people are doing the best that they can" as a reminder on the way out the door.

In fact I would argue that most of the world should be saying the exact opposite. That most people are not doing the best that they can and that they need motivated by the people that are.

Middle class working America has little in the way of things that would motivate them to say any different. They just stay quiet enough to keep their jobs. And saying "Most people are doing the best that they can" is a perfect attitude if you want to keep your job/the status quo.