I sense that something has changed. Within the last couple of months, some people have vigorously declared how my words and what they speculate about my motives and thoughts have fallen short of perfection. In the last few months, I offended some people with my imperfect choice of words.
It seems to me that we’re less tolerant than we were. More and more people seem to hold others to the standard of perfection. More and more I hear language that belittles or ridicules people we disagree with.
John Wooden was UCLA’s legendary basketball coach. He was legendary because his teams won consistently. More importantly, he helped college athletes become successful in life.
Wooden strove to develop character. He knew we all have flaws. He believed we demonstrate character by our persistent attempts to reduce those flaws. Even before I read his ideas, I was on the difficult quest to become more civil, considerate, courageous, generous, loving, thoughtful, and wise. If you’ve worked at self-improvement, you know that even modest gains are hard to come by.
Friend, I’m less of an arrogant jerk than I used to be, but I still have a way to go. I am still imperfect, with unrecognized biases and faulty assumptions. I know that I will never be perfect. I believe we are all flawed, “crooked timber.” Since none of us is perfect, we ought to understand and forgive the ways we each fall short of perfection.
Unfortunately, humanity tends toward a double standard. We tend to judge our enemies by their words and deeds and ourselves by our intentions. That hasn’t changed. But we used to express that judgement more gently.
From my wounded soul to yours, my plea is for more compassion, grace, tolerance and understanding. What do you think? Are we less tolerant than we once were? Are we less gracious than we once were?
Terry Moore, CCIM, is the author of Building Legacy Wealth: How to Build Wealth and Live a Life Worth Imitating. Read his “Welcome to My Blog.”