I believe that the daily realization and internalization of the following statement will keep you from turning into a crotchety old person, regardless of your age: Everyone is not like you.
I know that’s obvious, but think about how often you’ve been frustrated or upset because someone:
- Didn’t respond to something the way you thought they should have.
- Didn’t say the exact words you wanted to hear
- Didn’t show the same importance toward something as you thought it warranted.
- Expressed a thought or idea that didn’t agree with the way you think.
These frustrations occur because we are not all alike. Our experiences, environments, beliefs, and personalities are all different, which causes each of us to think, speak, act, and prioritize differently.
While we usually applaud our differences, I’ve realized recently that I’ve been allowing these differences to needlessly frustrate me. With regard to colleagues or my spouse, I’ve allowed these differences to create frustration and impact how I respond to and treat others. In short, it’s negatively impacted my attitude, and it’s time I change.
I realize that the lens I view situations through is not the same lens that everyone else uses. In fact, the lenses for viewing the world are as varied as the people who inhabit it. In light of that reality, how can we any of us expect others to always think and behave just like we do?
When I have the displeasure of meeting crotchety people of any age, there is usually a frustration expressed that the world, or at least their little part of it, is not as they would like it. There is rigidity to their thinking that is unwilling to consider a different point of view. They often feel that thinks would be better if everyone else just thought the same way about things as they do. Not only is their mindset unrealistic, it leads to continued frustration and a negative attitude about the people around them.
I don’t want to be like that. I’m making the decision to be aware of the differences between my thinking and the thinking of others, and to remove my expectation that others should be thinking the same way I do. While that doesn’t mean I have to agree with everyone’s way of thinking, it does mean that I don’t have to be frustrated by it or have my attitude adversely impacted. And that sounds good to me!