Yes, I know. It’s a completely overdone quote. “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” It seems like everyone knows that quote and ranks it among their list of favorite sayings. They have magnets and bumper stickers make up containing these specific words of Ghandi’s, yet in all likelihood you’ve been cut off or screamed at by someone advertising their appreciation of those words.
That’s because, like most things in life, the sentiment is one thing and the actions are another. Wanting to lose weight and getting up at 6am to exercise are two different things with vastly different results. Believing that littering is awful and missing the trash can by a couple of feet and leaving it there are two different things.
The worst thing is when a person not only claims a sentiment or a value as important while not actually taking action on it; they proscribe the behavior for others. Gets you riled up just thinking about that right? In fact, dealing with people who talk the talk and refuse to walk the walk ranks as one of many people’s biggest pet peeves. Yet it happens all the time in workplaces and families across the world. Bosses, parents, teachers – all telling us how to behave without bothering to behave that way themselves.
We once trained a group of middle school teachers and the list of their biggest challenges included students: talking in class, passing notes, not paying attention, and playing with their phone. Yet nearly all of them did just that while we were training, and yes, I sympathize with those teachers because those disruptions are annoying!