ToleranceI’ve been exploring the latest book from Paul McGee ‘how to succeed with people‘.  It’s written in Paul’s typical style – full of no nonsense, practical advice. I’ll be reviewing the full book in due course. So why this post? One short sentence in the book really resonated with me “We receive the performance (behavior) that we’re willing to tolerate“.

I really like the thought provoking nature of the words. Could they have application beyond performance and behavior?  As I started to think about this two things stood out:

  1. How much by our tolerance of something are we are playing a part in our own concerns and or unhappiness?
  2. I’ve typically considered tolerance to be a real asset – could these words bring that into question?

For me, point one focuses on how comfortable we are with accepting we have a choice in any given situation. I’d argue strongly that we do have choice. I’m not arguing that we can control what happens to us but we can choose our response. For example, working in a team, our approach to dealing with illness or relationship with a loved one. What is important is going beyond the point of tolerance and proactively thinking about how we could take ownership and deal with a situation. Focusing on the things we can influence either directly or indirectly is a great way to approach this.

So picking up on my second point. I’d still argue that tolerance is an asset; for me at least. However, it could be detrimental if it’s not used in parallel with proactive action. And let me be clear that pro-activity comes in many forms and could include your own thought processes. I guess Steve Peter’s in the Chimp Paradox would call that good chimp management.

So the next time you catch yourself bemoaning a situation either to others or in your head why not flip it and ask yourself how much has your tolerance of things lead to where you are? Of course, you then need to rise to the challenge and do something about it. You might just find you’re the key to unlocking and improving things. Is there something that you’ve been tolerating that you could do something about in the next 7 days. Go on, have a think about that and then take some action.

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