Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald: You can do better

Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald: You can do better

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Dec 15, 2008
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You can do better

It is very easy to hear good things about ourselves. It is nice to receive compliments and hear about what we do best. How differently we react when we receive criticism or hear negative things about ourselves.

How do you react to criticism? From your family? From your clients? Do you get defensive, get angry, or attack back at negative input? Or are you able to dispassionately evaluate the charges and coolly measure their validity. Does the shoe fit? I guess, more important, how do others view you? Are you sound and balanced? Do you have subtle (or not-so-subtle) biases? Do you have a temper?

We are human. We all have faults, we all have heels of clay. Every day we fail, we make mistakes, and we fall short of the bar. Every day we are our own worst enemy. Gossip at work, an unkind remark, childish outbursts--all are so destructive. How great it would be to be able to be as strong and as good as Atticus Finch in the movie “To Kill a Mockingbird.” How reassuring it is to know Gregory Peck said of his favorite and most famous role, “I tried to create a character that no one could live up to, a man of immeasurable inner strength that always did the right thing.” How reassuring to know that no one can live up to that, but still, what a role model!

It is OK to fail as long as we recognize and identify our weaknesses. Additionally, we cannot simply identify them, we must also make a solemn vow to remedy them, learn from them, and prevent them from recurring. It is one thing to stumble, but quite another to keep repeating the same mistakes. We have to grow--that is our challenge as people.

View yourself in the eyes of others and you may be in for a startling surprise. Are you fair? Are you likeable? Are you patient? Chances are, the things that you like least in others are qualities that you yourself possess to some degree. Recently, I had a tantrum at work, and I hurt someone I care about very deeply. How do you overcome that? How do you regain balance and recover trust and confidence? Can you ever go back?

Nevertheless, there is a positive side to failing. That is, we learn much more when we fail than we do when we succeed. But be sure and learn. Fail, but learn from adversity and do not continually repeat the same mistake. Take positive steps to break destructive cycles. Change is scary but nowhere near as frightening as being doomed to cycle in the same destructive behavior. Learn from your mistakes. Own them. Approach others with humility, and admit your shortcomings. Forgive the mistakes and shortcomings of others. Also, forgive yourself--but you only get to do this if you change. Go work-out!

See you next week, Kev