I am a person who strives to treat each person I meet with respect and kindness, and I expect that those with whom I choose to work, socialize, and develop intimate relationships would treat me in the same manner. As a result, I am always temporarily taken aback when folks don’t respond in kind. Of course, I realize that humans aren’t always on their best behavior. We all have bad moments and sometimes even long, dark bad spells in our lives. However, once we schlep off those dark webs, we make our apologies and amends and rejoin the ranks of our mutually respectful peers.
There are, however, those who derive immense satisfaction from siphoning the respect and kindness out of our otherwise grace-filled lives. What is most saddening about these people is that they will often make a show of cooperation in public and then go behind closed doors with their conspirators to gossip and gripe and make assumptions about their coworkers/friends/lovers’ motives, authenticity, intelligence, and so on. These folks are, without a doubt, a serious drain on any intentional community’s resources. They stunt business growth; they sabotage friendships; and they poison intimate relationships.
Oddly enough, very often these purveyors of negativity don’t even know what they are doing. Their souls are so twisted by the gossiping and complaining that it becomes difficult, if not impossible, for them to straighten the spine of their character and see the damage they are causing. They likely believe that they are the only ones to see the “truth” of a situation.
Unfortunately, these are the people who find themselves terminated from jobs or passed over for promotions for what seems, to them at least, no reason at all. They are the ones who have constant falling outs with their friends and family. They cannot get along with lovers or spouses and believe the other is always in error. They are the ones who think everyone is out to get them. They sincerely believe that their constant foul mood is someone else’s fault.
Generally, we can distance ourselves from such people and not allow them to take up space in our circles of friends. However, in the workplace we face a difficult situation. If we are the coworker, we have little say in the person’s continued employment. Some will find a new job rather than put up with these energy vampires. Others will stay on, trying to help the twisted one straighten up and see the light. Some perfect the art of avoiding and ignoring the naysayers. Sadly, others will succumb to the negativity and become twisted themselves.
When we are the employer, we must be more proactive. Energy vampires have no place in an organization that seeks to grow. Coaching, mentoring, and training can and should be offered. Respect and kindness should be modeled by management and expected from employees. Those who can’t or won’t follow this lead should find themselves jobless. Respect and kindness towards positive, productive employees demands that managers remove those who disrupt the work environment.
I have been mulling over these thoughts and realizing that the necessary actions are easier to voice than to execute for those of us who truly care about the people in our lives. It seems that respect and kindness go hand-in-hand with hope and forgiveness. And yet, the day must come when action is taken before the integrity of the community is forever shattered.
I made a mistake this week. I was installing a new website for a client and accidentally wiped out an existing site…. OOPS!
Not an unheard of goof in the technical world. Although, for me, it is usually a client who accidentally wipes out his own site and calls me in to fix it.
So what do you do when you make a mistake that is going to be obvious to the client as soon as he tries to visit his website? I suppose you could feign innocence. You could shift the blame to a poor hosting interface (why, oh, why, does any hosting company use an interface other than cPanel?). You could say you didn’t do it and the site must have been hacked. You could, in essence, lie.
On the other hand, you could fess up, immediately, before the client even knows there is a problem. That’s the route I took. First, I contacted the hosting company to start a ticket to get the site backups restored. Then, I contacted the client to own up to my error.
You know what? The client was actually understanding and gracious. I didn’t get screamed at. I didn’t get called names. And, less than 24 hours later, the site was back up.
I don’t recommend duplicating this mistake. However, when the inevitable human error occurs, I do recommend fessing up no matter what the potential consequences.
(After writing this I decided to add this disclaimer at the top: I believe a modern, civil society has a moral obligation to care for the sick. However, each individual in such a society also has a moral obligation to do his or her part not to invite illness and disease into his or her life.)
Good health starts with healthy habits. Healthy habits are a personal responsibility. Eating right and exercising are personal choices–personal choices that far too few Americans choose to make. Despite the millions of dollars spent each year on gym memberships, fitness products, and fad diets, Americans continue to be overweight and unhealthy. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, back pain, knee pain, and not a few types of cancer, can often be traced directly back to poor choices when it comes to diet and exercise.
If we truly wanted to reduce the cost of healthcare, we would make a national vow to mend our errant ways. A healthy populace needs very little in the way of healthcare. Instead, we look to our government to solve the healthcare problem. Guess what? They can’t solve it. They can throw money at it. They can provide more health services to more people. They can make sure more people with unhealthy habits have access to medications that ease the symptoms caused by those habits. They cannot make us more healthy.
Of course, there is little incentive to ask Americans to take personal responsibility for their own health. Pharmaceutical companies don’t want you healthy: they need you to buy their drugs. Health care facilities don’t want you healthy: they want your money for all the services they provide. Health insurance companies don’t want you healthy: they want your premiums. Health industry retailers don’t want you healthy: they want you to keep buying product after worthless product.
Almost 2 trillion dollars are spent on healthcare in the U.S. each year. Two trillion dollars looks like this:
Those are two times twelve zeros of reasons why the healthcare industry really has no interest in people taking personal responsibility for their health.
If, as a nation, we chose to be healthy instead of unhealthy, what impact would that have on the cost and availability of healthcare? Personally, I think it would reduce the burdens on the current system, reduce costs, and allow us to provide healthcare to everyone when they needed it. Disease and illness certainly can strike at any time. We can’t prevent all sickness by practicing healthy habits. We can, however, create a society in which health is the norm and medical care for every ill person is also the norm. As it stands, disease is the norm and a huge industry has developed that feeds off that norm. Each of us, individually, has the power to change the way the system works. The government can’t fix it: they can only continue to feed it.
October 1 is World Vegetarian Day and the start of Vegetarian Awareness Month. If you read my e-book, “The Walking Vegetarian,” then you already know some of the facts about the health benefits of a vegetarian diet, including:
- Lower cancer risk
- Lower heart disease risk
- Healthy weight maintenance
- Increased fiber in the diet
- More vitamins and minerals in the diet
Research also indicates that vegetarians live longer and have stronger bones.
Every day physicians encourage their patients to eat less meat and more fruits and vegetables. Ignoring this advice is one factor in the sky-rocketing costs of health care in this country. Obesity-related heart disease and diabetes are growing burdens on the health care system. And an alarming number of children are joining the ranks of the obese and unhealthy. We can spend time and effort lobbying our government for health care reform, but the real reform will come when we as individuals decide to take responsibility for our own diets and health.
I’ve made a commitment to a healthy vegetarian diet. I’ve made a commitment to do the things necessary to prevent me from becoming an unhealthy consumer of health care. I’ve made a commitment to be responsible for my health. On this first day of October 2009, will you make the same commitment?
I was doing some research on the factors that drive up health care costs and came across Dr. Waldman’s blog. I love that he has been practicing medicine for more than 30 years and yet still cares not only about his patients but about the state of the health care system in this country.
I found him by searching for “personal responsibility and health care.” Why did I search for that phrase? Because I believe we are each responsible for taking reasonable steps to maintain good health. We should eat healthy foods, exercise, not smoke, and avoid risky behaviors such as abusing drugs/alcohol or riding a motorcycle without a helmet. People who choose to live an unhealthy lifestyle should not have an expectation that others will pay for their medical care. There ought to be consequences for willfully abusing your body. However as Dr. Waldman so eloquently says:
People – as both the responsible persons and as national assets – must pay for the consequences of their decisions – both literally and figuratively.
Is there personal responsibility in healthcare? The unfortunate answer is no! Our present system not only discourages such responsibility, it actually prevents it.
You can read the complete post here: Is There Personal Responsibility in Healthcare?
This idea of personal responsibility is glaringly absent from the discussion on health care reform. All anyone seems to want to consider is how to fund the care of every person, regardless of whether or not they have behaved as responsible citizens. Do I really have a right to health care if I don’t take care of myself first? My driver’s license would be revoked if I purposely ignored the rules of the road day after day. I’d land in prison if I robbed a bank to pay my bills. All rights come with responsibilities. In a free country such as ours, each person must do his or her part as a responsible citizen — and that includes a responsible attitude toward personal health.