Over 2,000 years ago the Roman philosopher and statesman, Cicero, wrote down what he considered the six mistakes of mankind. I think he must have meant the six main mistakes of man, because I'll bet we could all come up with more than six, but those six that Cicero wrote down are so very true . . . unfortunately.
THE SIX MISTAKES OF MAN:
1. The delusion that personal gain is made by crushing others.
2. The tendency to worry about things that cannot be changed or corrected.
3. Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it.
4. Refusing to set aside trivial preference.
5. Neglecting development and refinement of the mind, and not acquiring the habit of reading and study.
6. Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.
Let's take a look at the six mistakes through the eyes of a trainer.
The delusion that personal gain is made by crushing others.
In almost all of our business endeavors the more we operate as a team, the more we can accomplish. We gain more personally from raising others up rather than putting them down. Crushing others means reducing their enthusiasm, their confidence, and their overall ability to contribute. Raising them up increases their worth . . . and ours.
The tendency to worry about things that cannot be changed or corrected.
Stress is the by-product of worry. There are many things we should be concerned about, but darn few we should worry about. While we work on a proposal we should consider it from all angles. We should plan, and practice the presentation, prepare our materials and ask questions about its viability. After the proposal has been made, however, there is nothing we can do. Nothing can change the outcome. Worry is useless and fruitless. Let it go.
Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it.
Time changes everthing. Who knows what we might find out next week . . . tomorrow . . . or when we turn the next corner. The impossibles of yesterday are commonplace today. We should never look at anything as impossible.
Refusing to set aside trivial preference.
Often we fool ourselves into thinking that the way that we do things is the right way and what it usually comes down to is simply preference. And sometimes that preference is really trivial. The way we put our shoes and socks on, the way the install a roll of toilet paper, the way we hire a new employee. There's nothing wrong with preferences, but we should study our choices and make sure there is nothing trivial about our decisions.
Neglecting development and refinement of the mind, and not acquiring the habit of reading and study.
I like avid readers. Those are people will read the contents printed on the ketchup bottle at a restaurant. There are always new ideas and new solutions to old problems, but they can be missed unless we are constantly looking . . . reading . . . and studying. Personally, I like to read three or four newspapers every day. I even like to read old news magazines in doctor waiting rooms. Reading is brainstorming. Even a comic book can bring enlightenment.
Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.
As our workforce and consumer base becomes more diverse, there are those who would deny that diversity. We can't make everyone believe and live as we do and even if we could, wouldn't that be boring? Diversity brings us more ideas and more experiences. We should celebrate the differences, not try to obliterate them.
We are all guilty of making the six mistakes of mankind at some time or other. We just need to learn from our mistakes every two thousand years or so.
Justin Tyme is an internet reporter and published author. He writes for print media and industrial video productions and is a contributor to Ideas and Training (http://www.ideasandtraining.com ) and Human Resources Radio (http://www.humanresourcesradio.com ).