Just because something happens repeatedly doesn’t make it right, healthy, or logical. It may make sense to you contextually, but take a step back. Don’t accept the unacceptable simply because you’ve habitually conditioned yourself to believe that it’s normal or permissible.

Your iTunes library does this to you all the time.

You create a killer playlist of your favorite Jay-Z and Coldplay tunes. These two artists have (almost) nothing in common. Yet, I guarantee you that if you listen to that playlist frequently, something very interesting will happen. After you hear Coldplay’s string-driven ‘Viva la Vida’ fade out and Jay-Z’s hard-hitting ‘Run This Town’ fade in enough times, you’ll begin to accept that transition as normal. In fact, you’ll begin to expect it. Even when you’re listening to a Coldplay-only playlist, you’ll start anticipating Rihanna’s “Feel it comin’ in the air…” vocal line at the beginning of ‘Run This Town’ to begin as ‘Viva la Vida’ closes.

No authority in the music industry has given you any reason to expect that transition to occur, yet you do. Every time. You’ll probably even begin to hear it in your head when it doesn’t happen. There’s no musical explanation for your expectation — you’ve simply conditioned yourself to believe that’s what should happen.

When you’re only talking about musical expectations from listening to an iTunes playlist, this fact is entirely insignificant. But when you are dealing with a boss who routinely under-utilizes your talents, an employee who is habitually late for meetings, a volunteer who consistently speaks negatively about your organization, or a friend who regularly doesn’t fulfill commitments, the consequences of your conditioned acceptance are larger than yourself.

In every one of these situations, you’re not the only one who’s suffering. Your boss is costing your organization time, money, and resources by not letting you work at your full potential. Your employee is not only disrespecting your company and team, but creating habits that will follow him in every step of his future career. You never know who your volunteer will be talking to the next time he decides to bad-mouth your organization’s latest initiative. You’re not the only person who you’re friend is letting down — he’s doing the same thing to all of his other friends too.

Refuse to settle for what you have conditioned yourself to believe is permissible. Re-evaluate your expectations — be the one who takes a stand the next time you find yourself accepting something unacceptable.


Photo Credit: neomusicstore via Flickr

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