Red Tape

Why don’t people get it?

Are you like me and sometimes feel you are surrounded by small-minded people trapped in the patterns and routines of the past? I find this especially when I’m trying to do something new, important, or good. I immediately start seeing the red tape and barriers to incompetence or protest from people who don’t know what they’re talking about. 

I like reading about the experiences of historical figures who felt the same way.  One quote I found from Marcus Aurelius paints this picture of people:  They’re surly, aggressive, dishonest, mean, pedantic, stupid… and they constantly get in the way of people who are not those things.

Jonathan Swift is famously quoted as saying, “When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.”

I realize this is not a productive way to live. Because it makes it other people’s fault. It’s always easier to blame others and not yourself. 

Instead of getting angry at other people’s poor execution, focus on the deficiencies in your instruction. Instead of resenting their protest, examine whether you’ve been persuasive enough. 

Don’t get mad about red tape —think about all the bad ideas this process actually has helped stop. Be forgiving of other people’s stupidity or rudeness—because you’ve been plenty guilty of it yourself at one time or another.

A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly.
The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
keeping watch on the evil and the good.”

Proverbs 15:1-4

You may not control what happens around you, but you can control what happens inside you.

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