Change them or change you?

I know I've written about this before, but it bears repeating:

The only thing you control is your own behavior.

Period. Of course you can have conversations with others about their behavior. I am a big fan of giving people direct feedback, and making specific requests of them (which makes future feedback easier). You should definitely stand up for yourself.

But when people don't do what you want, you have a choice. You can keep doing whatever it was that brought out that reaction in them in the first place, or you can change something about you and the way you are engaging them.

I know this is frustrating when the other person/group/side is doing things that you are sure everyone and their brother would agree are awful.


The only thing you control is your own behavior.


  1. 10.11.2008 at 3:23 pm

    This post reminds me of an editorial I read in today’s New York Times:
    While we can only control our own behavior, it’s almost impossible sometimes not to try to subtly nudge others in the “right” direction…

  2. 11.11.2008 at 2:28 pm

    Thanks for the comment, Sue! Okay, I read the piece, and I am not convinced! Yes, I think a part of what we always do is try to nudge people in the direction we feel is right. But the message I hear in that article is about guilt-tripping people into doing the right thing. Personally, i’d be more impacted by this guy if he would say “It hurts me when you don’t apologize when you drop my apple. It’s up to you, but that’s the kind of thing where an apology from you would really make a difference to me.” It’s still nudging, but it’s owning your own stuff.