This morning I spoke plainly with my dawdling youngest daughter, because departure for school was rapidly approaching and she still had a number of daily and allocated responsibilities to complete (meds to take, teeth to brush, and, oh yes, the dishwasher to unload with the help of her older sister – a task that was allocated the previous afternoon!).
I told her, “You better speed up! I assure you that you’ll be late to broadcast (she’s an in-school TV anchor for morning announcements) rather than us leave home with chores undone!” Do I even need to mention that she didn’t particularly like my message or my forthrightness?
Can you recall words and statements, expressed by never-t0-be-forgotten persons of influence (admired and hated), which stung like salt in even the smallest of open wounds, like a blister, BUT, which, you look back on with gratitude for the truth you needed to hear?
Early 2004 I remember one such occasion. I was under pressure to finish my research dissertation and be able to graduate by May. I e-mailed my advisor (and friend) what I thought was a decent, if not good concluding chapter. After a few days wait he responded with this basic message, “Scott, this stinks! Re-write the chapter.”
Like my daughter, I didn’t much care for his response, let alone his candor. But, I knuckled back down and persevered through the tediousness of a concluding chapter re-write. The result? Gratitude to my advisor for not allowing me to settle for mediocrity, or for wasting my time in circuitous efforts to soften the message I needed to hear.
Wiki defines “cut to the chase” as “getting to the point without wasting time.” Some individuals have a knack for compassionately cutting to the chase, while some people are more abrasive in their “cutting.” Either way, personally speaking, I’m grateful for parents, friends, mentors, colleagues, and occasional acquaintances, who cared enough about my life and potential that they risked cutting to the chase with me.
I hope you can be so grateful as well. AND, perhaps today will bring an occasion and opportunity, whereby you can return the favor to someone. In so doing, however, remember to abide by Google’s informal motto – “Don’t Be Evil!”