Dark roast coffee. Rosemary chicken. Hoppy beers. These are all some ways to infuse a bit of bitterness into your life if you have a strange craving for it. Other than these taste treats, there’s no place for bitterness in your life, especially in your career.
Past Need Not be Prelude
Do you remember your Logic 101 class in college, when the prof talked about the Hasty Generalization fallacy? This is, of course, a breakdown in the logical process or an unproductive way of thinking. The hasty generalization fallacy involves reasoning that if something is true once or twice, it will always be true. So if someone plays politics, the generalizer assumes the person will always play politics.
The generalizer may further assume that other people in the same situations will engage in the same kind of scheming. This means having a cynical, darkened heart and feeling what is best described as bitterness. Even though emotion—a wish not to be hurt again—drives this kind of thinking, logic should probably be your way out. All you have to do is remind yourself that the back-stabbing you encountered before could’ve been caused by many factors—it isn’t inevitable that it will be repeated.
To Forgive is Divine
You may have been disrespected by an employee; a client or customer may have shown disloyalty; a supplier may have shown negligence, leaving you hanging. However natural it may seem to want a bit of revenge, to want to stop dealing with these parties, etc., forgiveness may be the better option. Making your plans based on grudges and a desire to prove some sort of point isn’t the way to maximize your profits or run the best business.
Your goal has to be success, the bottom line, not any extra-curricular stuff. Further, if the person you’re not forgiving is an employee, you’re engendering low morale and setting a bad example in your own business.
Help is There
If you suspect that you’re succumbing to bitterness: if you are suspecting the worst of others, replaying ugly incidents over and over, plotting revenge, it’s important to take steps to improve this circumstance. A first step might be reading books on interpersonal relationships, psychological components of business, etc.
Consulting with a trusted friend, particularly one who has good relationships and who seems free of bitterness, may help. You may ultimately seek the help of a therapist.
The Benefits of Bitterlessness
One of the great things about the hard work of shaking off or fending off bitterness is that others notice it. People highly appreciate someone who has forgiven them or who didn’t even seem to notice a slight.
It’s strange, but if someone fails or wrongs you somehow, he or she will have a tendency to be defensive or combative if you are angry and if you play the blame game. But the same person will realize her or his faults and strive to do better if confronted with graciousness.
And the beauty of it is, after a while, you’ll honestly forget what the problem was in the first place. As the saying goes, you don’t have to forgive, as long as you forget.