What You Tolerate, You Encourage

Be careful what you allow, what you tolerate, what you accept. Often, it seems such a little thing, like telling a white lie. A white lie, seeming insignificant, is still a lie. When does a "little" lie become a "big" lie? Do you think people say: "Oh, he only tolerates lies this big," or do they understand that you juggle the truth? What you tolerate, you encourage.

We’ve all told little white lies, sometimes bigger lies; been late for important meetings, missed deadlines; worked on things that were unimportant while ignoring priorities. We’ve let others do the same with no reaction on our part, and no consequences that might have helped change the undesirable behavior. We’ve encouraged the behavior and we’ve guaranteed we’ll see it repeated.

Early in my career, I was asked to leave a project for making silly jokes about sensitive subjects. I thought it was a harsh and overreactive punishment. Now, I see it as an invaluable life lesson, a lesson which continues to teach. What I did was not tolerated and my dismissal reinforced the lesson. To everyone!

As with any action—or inaction—it becomes what you do, what you accept, what you allow. And what you do, accept, and allow, you become. Let’s be intolerant of the right things. Remember, what you tolerate, you encourage. Discourage behaviors that you don’t want repeated.

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