Have you every want to to confront someone or share with them something helpful, but wondered if you did would it make any difference? In Chapter 7 of his book, Necessary Endings, Dr. Henry Cloud deals with the difference between wise people and fools.
“According to King Solomon, there is one major thing that differentiates a wise person from a fool: how he or she receives instruction and correction. (See, for example, Proverbs 1:5; 9:8–9; 10:8; 12:15; 15:12; 17:10; and 19:20.)
A wise person:
- Listens without being defensive.
- Accepts responsibility without blame.
- Changes without delay.
If you are dealing with a wise person, talking is helpful. They soak up feedback and use it to adjust their lives for the better. Your input can truly make a difference.
If you are dealing with a fool, however, talking is a waste of your time. They resist change. The problem is never “in the room.” It’s always out there somewhere—something you can neither access nor address.” [Amazon.com]
Author Seth Goden had a recent post that made a similar point.
“The person who has ideas that are well defended isn’t going to be able to listen carefully for the lessons that can help him change those ideas.
And the person who is defensive not only won’t hear the ideas, but he’ll push away anyone generous enough to share them.” More>>
If you are dealing with a fool…or someone that is defensive, you don’t waste your breath. If you decide to share your insights, it might make you feel better, but if you expect change, understand upfront more than likely it won’t happen. Sharing will only compound your frustration.
Now just for a minute, turn the mirror on yourself. How do you respond when confronted? Do you come across as defensive? Do you place blame or do you take responsibility?
Don’t be the fool…or I’ll have to sick Mr. T on you.