Friday, June 15, 2007

Building Up v. Tearing Down

Conference Manager Barbara Gavin shares:

Over and over again, maybe it is being in the city and not the suburbs, I am reminded of how easy it is to be kind, to be friendly, to make someone smile. To not be an asshole. To maybe throw some good energy in there to balance the other day-killers. [Full post]
Her blogpost made me stop and think... and come to the realization that the whole "building up v. tearing down" mentality is literally everywhere:
  • In our homes. Anyone who has tried helping a 3-year-old build a tower using those little multi-color plastic building blocks can immediately relate to this: it takes several minutes of effort and focus to stack the blocks and build a multi-storey tower, but all you need is a second or two to send the whole pile tumbling down. And kids much prefer to have you build the tower so they can crash it. Same goes for making sand castles at the beach.
  • In our workplace. It's so easy to criticize co-workers or teammates, especially in large organizations: he's always late, she's unprofessional, they're ineffective, she's ignorant, he's unethical... the litany can be endless. It's so much harder to do the contrary, i.e., figure out how we can help our colleagues become more effective.
  • In society at large. I've lost track of the times when periods of growth and stability in the Philippines are interrupted by coups or rumors of coups, political posturing, bomb threats and bombings, rebel activities, and terrorist attacks. It takes months, even years, to raise our country's economic rating and for our stock markets to recover each time these selfish and destructive elements come to the fore. Months of work can literally be reversed overnight.
It's so easy to give into human nature by griping and complaining about problems, especially when everyone around you is doing it. Heck, I do this all too often! In contrast, it takes genuine dedication and effort to brainstorm and implement effective solutions.

The world would certainly be a better place for our children if we spent more time building up rather than tearing down. Thank you, Barbara, for the reminder.


Barbara Gavin said...

So the next day, I made someone *laugh* on the subway and I felt quite proud.

This woman was clearly pregnant and I gestured to her to descent the steps before me. She hesitated, obviously not quite comfortable with being pampered. I said, "Go ahead, enjoy it. Another couple of months, we'll be back to knocking you down the stairs.'

She laughed out loud - what a nice way for us both to start our day.