Monday, August 28, 2020

Human Nature Doesn't Change

It’s easy to think that today’s problems and behaviors are unique; that we are somehow different from everyone who went before us, perhaps because we’re the ones with the BlackBerries, the Internet, Beyoncé and Madonna (Heaven help us!).

Here’s the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (A.D. 161 - 180) making a point that today’s leaders could well bear in mind:
I have learned from Alexander the Platonist that I should not keep telling people, nor write in letters, that I have no time for leisure, unless I truly must. Nor should I continually excuse my neglect of the duties that come from relationships with the people around me by alleging urgent occupations.
How many leaders and managers today find it convenient to claim to be rushed off their feet to get out of obligations to others, I wonder? And how many have become so used to saying they have no time for anything that they say it automatically, even when it isn’t true?

I thought of this when I saw this quotation from Eric Hoffer in the blog “37 days” at the head of a piece called “Purge Your Portfolio” on making sure you aren’t continually giving excuses for things you’re ashamed of in your life.
For many people, an excuse is better than an achievement because an achievement, no matter how great, leaves you having to prove yourself again in the future, but an excuse can last for life.
Many people today cling to their belief that they are rushed off their feet because it offers a fail-safe excuse for missing things, ignoring things, or not completing things they didn’t want to do anyway. If they once admit the excuse isn’t always true, they might have to face up to activities and obligations (and relationships) that they’ve managed to avoid for years.

I wonder just how much overwork and time pressure is becoming that priceless possession, an excuse that can last for life?

Think about it.

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From today's Washington Post. I hope the rest of the country is not like mine.

"A State of Extreme Unwinding
When Washington Pressure Junkies Head for the Hills, A Quiet Getaway Is the Last Thing They Have in Mind" (registration, free)
Thanks for pointing this one out, Richard. Even reading about it makes me feel breathless.

I guess an addiction stays an addiction, even when you are supposedly relaxing.
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