One of the founding principles of the Theory of Constraints is "People are good". A silly statement, we all know plenty of people who "are not good". Still I appreciate the statement a lot and I have taken it as one of my leading principles. For me it means that if something does not work with other people I have two choices:
  1. I can blame it on the other person. Which basically means, this person "is bad". The moment I make this statement, I know that this means that nothing I will or can do is going to change this situation, I am not able to change another person's character. This implies that I will not be able to change the situation, which means that I stop learning. This conclusion leads to stagnation in stead of growth. However, it may feel good to my ego in the short term.
  2. I can blame it on myself. This is more difficult for my ego, it will sometimes require strong self examination, but it will leave options open for finding another way to make things work between me and the other person. It will require me to see the world from his perspective and to think harder on what I can do further to make things working for the both of us. From this I learn and grow as a person.
I don't take the term literal. I know most people are not angels. I can lower my expectations to prevent getting burnt and damaged. But the dilemma is that I will then also automatically lower the ability to get going with people and to grow myself. The only way I know out of this dilemma is to stay humble (ai, difficult!), to not expect but to observe and to try to let my ego out of the picture as much as possible. This forces me to apply the 5th skill from Stephen Covey: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood. If something does not work, the only person to blame is myself, I was apparently not listening to the other person. Full stop. Why? Well, because "people are good"!

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