Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

Why Would You Want To Dot Your Eyes?

I mentioned to my daughter and son-in-law the other day that I wanted to dot my i’s and cross my t’s on something I did. Casey said, with profound seriousness, “What if there aren’t any i’s and t’s in what you’re writing?”  I said OK, I would change that to “I want to put in the commas and the periods.”  Shannon said, “What if it’s Haiku?” We laughed for several minutes at how we could annihilate that old bit of advice. (Hey, there was nothing on TV.)

Not long ago I wrote a post about how inaccurate some advice could be in every situation–particularly the advice to praise in public and reprimand in private. I have received many emails about that, some of them agreeing and some disagreeing. The ones who disagreed were all referring to the problem of “chewing someone out” in public, which I agree is wrong.

One of the people who wrote to me said his boss’s advice for everything is, “Never go over something you can go around.” He said his boss has that on his wall and quotes it often. However,  that does not apply to all work situations. Another person said she had lived by a bit of wisdom for years, until she realized it no longer worked in her life: “People do not care what you know, until they know that you care.” She said she had observed that people who had high levels of expertise and were merely decent to others seemed to do just fine. She felt she had emphasized caring for people to the detriment of her own self-esteem and success. I can see her viewpoint.

This week I was teaching about conflict management and a supervisor talked to me after class. He said, “My  manager says that most conflicts are six of one, half a dozen of another, and that each person has a justifiable perspective. I guess a serial killer has a justifiable perspective too, but I don’t see why we should mediate with him.” Extreme, perhaps! But I agree with his concept. Not all contentious situations have two contributors, at least not initially. (You might recall that in another post I said we contribute to our own misery when we fail to do anything about the problem.) So, to keep pushing that view, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, is insulting to someone who has genuinely been victimized, bullied or treated discourteously by a coworker.

The bottom line is this: Do not just grab a quote, adage, old saw, aphorism or bit of advice and run with it forever. Check it out and see if it fits the situation you are encountering. The fact that someone said it does not make it right. And the fact that someone who said it usually said smart things, does not mean everything he said is correct. For example, Samuel Johnson, who seemed to say thousands of smart things, also said, “No one but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.” However, I do not make a dime off my writing.

OK. Bad example.

July 30th, 2008 Posted by | Life and Work, Personal and Professional Development | 2 comments


  1. Blockhead? That will be something new for you to call me. lol

    Comment by Wiseacre | August 12, 2008

  2. No, probably something new for you to call yourself, Wiseacre. (Picture me shaking my head and looking tolerantly amused.)

    Comment by Tina | August 12, 2008

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