YOU CAN GET USED TO ANYTHING
…and that’s the problem
That is the problem…
I’ll never forget my first “real” job, (apart from lifeguarding…) I couldn’t have been more excited. I burst into work the first day with all the energy and optimism my dad (the original “motivator” in our family) had pumped me up with.
“Have a wonderful time,” he’d said. “Look for the positive difference you can make!”
But, here’s the thing: I was absolutely struck, after the first few days, by how the people who worked in the company acted like robots! Seriously, they took coffee and lunch breaks at exactly the same time every single day no matter what else was going on. They had nothing resembling the “optimism” and “evergy” my dad so highly recommended; their aim seemed to be to do as little as possible without getting fired. They didn’t even act like they gave a rip if things went well or went amok, as long as they weren’t blamed.
“What if I become like that?!” I asked my dad, getting worked up. “You won’t,” he said. “Yeah, but what if I’m not paying attention and I just get used to it and I change just a little bit every day and then, when I’m looking the other way, I become one of “them?!” “You have to pay attention,” he said, looking me in the eye.
“Okay,” I said. “I will.”
But I was worried. I’d already heard the story of the frog in the pot of water who just didn’t notice that the heat was being turned up, oh, so gradually, and by the time it started to boil, he was so lulled into listlessness that he forgot to jump out…
And I’d seen “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers” where perfectly good people are “taken over” by aliens in the form of “new” people, who come out of pea pods (which was very cool) and look exactly the same as the good, “old” people… But they’re “bad.”
It’s easy to be “taken over” or to get used to, well, just about anything – in other people – and even in ourselves. Things like rudeness, cutting corners, taking the easy way, settling for second-rate, bending the truth, keeping walking instead of stopping to help somebody in a wheelchair. Whatever.
“Hey, that’s the way it is,” you might say, and shrug.
No, it’s not. There’s no “way it is.” There’s only the way we say it is. My dad was right. We have to pay attention. Close attention. Hey, you don’t want to look in the mirror one morning and find that your face has a funny green tinge to it, do you?! I mean, that’s just not “you”…