April 11, 2022
You are one of the best employees they’ve got. You’re competent. You deliver on time. You do excellent work with no hiccups. And then it happens.
You’re at a weekly catchup meeting with the boss and they hit you with something—a comma you missed in a sentence, two spaces after a period versus one—some minor error in your written report that they say has placed the entire organization in jeopardy. It’s as if the world has come to an end.
You’re speechless, but the pounding does not end. You wonder if you’ve stepped into some alter world like Alice in Wonderland. The pounding continues. The boss wants answers. “How could you do this?”, they ask.
What first seems so surreal, so unimaginable, becomes reality.
Anger enters your mind. All defense mechanisms kick into high gear.
If you’re lucky enough, you hold your tongue for the moment.
Silly little things. These nitpicking moments—the needling – are what bother us most.
We can’t seem to get them out of our minds. We think, “Such a harsh punishment for a small infraction, if it was even that.”
So, we seethe, we fume. The intensity grows to a point that we later say something we shouldn’t – possibly costing us the job.
For you, you take these moments as a sign. A very happy sign to you. “Why?”, you ask.
Because when there’s nothing left to critique you on, nitpicking is a wonderful last-ditch effort.
It’s a child’s game you realize you just haven’t played in some time.
You then remind yourself of the game’s rules you’d previously forgot: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”.
And as you think about how the game is played, you realize you’re entering the door of greatness in the eyes of the nitpicker. It’s your last challenge, to achieve your prize. So, you ignore their words – AND WIN!
Now using My S-T-O-I-C STORYTELLING method:
(S) How to I handle someone correcting me over silly things when I’m not wrong.
(T) “Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of things.” Epictetus
“When you are disturbed, do not sin; ponder it on your beds, and be silent.” Book of Psalms
(O) I felt empowered that I was able to keep my composure.
(I) I was satisfied with myself that although I may not agree totally with the person, I was able to rise above the scrutiny by letting them feel that their opinion matters.
(C) I was saddened over the event, but satisfied that I didn’t react in a negative way toward the person.
The Stoicess’ Secret?
As you enter the door of Greatness, their nitpicking is the final challenge
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