Caring About What We Know

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Isn't it amazing that people do things they know they should not? Most obese people know how to lose weight and be more healthy, but most don't follow through and do it.
Most people know how to save money and be financially responsible, but most aren't (To be perpetually in debt to maintain a lifestyle is financially irresponsible).
People who smoke realistically know that it is bad for them, but few make the necessary efforts to quit smoking.
We can "get all judgmental" on these people and wonder what's wrong with them.
But then we have to come to the realization that we're all that way.
Everyone knows some things with which they don't conform their lives.
For some, it's stopping completely at a stop sign.
For some it's not texting while driving, or even talking on the phone while driving if it impairs their ability to drive (hint: it always does).
For some it's being honest.
For some it's working as hard as they ought to for the money they are paid.
For some it might be getting to bed and out of bed earlier to be more productive.
I think for everyone, it's something.
Why do we do that? If we know something, why don't we always pay attention to it? As often as not, it is a matter of not caring.
Some simply don't care about truth, knowledge, or wisdom, and go on about their lives in that careless fashion.
I personally know I should eat better--meaning I should eat more natural foods and fewer processed foods, and I am doing better than I used to--I'm slowly getting better all the time, but when it comes down to it, I don't care enough to radically change my life.
The way I eat hasn't killed me so far and I feel that I'm in pretty good health, so I'm not freaking out about it.
I probably should.
Some of us live in our own little fantasy lands where truth and facts are irrelevant.
We might figure we can do whatever we want and it won't matter.
It always will.
To get a person to do something, intellect is not enough.
Emotions must be engaged.
We have to care about something to give it any weight in our lives.
Well maybe it's not completely important that we try to do everything exactly the was we would if we were perfect.
But I hope all of us--me included--will often take a look at our lives and be realistic about the things we do and why we do them.
In a formal personal inventory session, we can make a list of things that we do most of the time, when given a choice.
It might show the difference between when we should get up and when we do get up each morning.
What we eat and how we should eat.
How we drive and the things we do while driving compared to how we should drive.
What we do at work compared to what we should do.
How we treat our spouse and children compared to how we should.
How we spend our discretionary time compared to how we should spend it.
We can evaluate each thing and ask ourselves realistically and candidly if the things we do are okay, and what we should do about the ones that are not.
Maybe we don't have to be perfect, but the more we conform our lives to reality, the better off we will be.
That's something we know.
Do we care? It's time to blow the dust off our lives and work on them a bit.
In cases where we are concerned about the way our children are living, or we need our employees to act in certain ways, where it's obvious they don't seem to care about the things they know or should know, there are at least two ways to help them get some emotion into what they do and why, to help them make better choices: 1.
If they have to defend something, right or wrong, they might be able to see that the wrong is causing problems in their lives and the right would eliminate problems in their lives.
I understand that the second an authority figure brings up a touchy subject, children and teenagers turn them off and ignore them.
Adults are that way too.
My grandfather smoked all his life.
He never quit even though he had a lung problem and died because of it.
He never got to where he cared more about his health and his life than he cared about tobacco.
He knew the facts.
He told my father and uncle not to smoke.
He said, "You see what it's done to me, so you leave it alone.
" But he never quit.
Creative leadership is necessary to make this work and it probably won't work the first time, no matter what.
A trusted doctor in the case of tobacco, alcohol, or drugs might be able to get someone to talk about why they do what they do, and change their defense from ruining their lives to defending doing the right thing.
Once we feel that we have to talk to ourselves about what we do and why, we might convince ourselves to do the right things.
A man in the neighborhood where I grew up smoked all his life until a granddaughter wouldn't be with him because of the way he smelled.
He quit smoking in short order.
A teacher who is a friend might be able to help a poor student to change his mind.
A business leader might be able to help people understand the importance of education, responsibility, and hard work.
Many things can be tried, and something just might work.
2.
If they become involved in the way someone else does things: There might be a way to get people involved with others who are living examples.
Since people who don't want to be reminded about their poor habits won't seek out things that emphasize that to them, perhaps people can help by coming into their lives.
Again, creative leadership is necessary for this to have any chance of working.
Somehow getting a paraplegic or quadriplegic into the life of someone who doesn't pay enough attention the way they drive or who drives under the influence of alcohol or drugs might make them think twice.
It might help to invite people who don't know how to read and who subsequently have had to labor all their lives into the life of someone who seems unconcerned about progressing and advancing, or doing well in school.
If a person who lives at odds with what he knows has to be involved with living examples of where that gets you, he might convince himself to care.
In working with ourselves or with other people to try to influence behavior, it's always important to recognize the things we and they do right and see that in many areas we and they are successful in living according to reality and to be sincerely grateful for that.
No one is a total loser and no one should be treated that way.
We can love and appreciate ourselves and we can love and appreciate others, no matter how they try our patience.
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