Not sure who authored this short quote: “Be the better person.” I’ve been hearing this line from my wife and have been using it since in almost all difficult situations I get myself in. You would think it’s part of a checklist of sorts from a self-help book but actually, it’s not. People usually react negatively to certain situations and this 4-word quote can be a helpful reminder to tackle situations differently. You’d think this quote encourages your superiority complex or that you’re a far, better person than say a co-worker, well it doesn’t.
It’s easy to get caught up in being the one trying to please everyone else. But being the better person starts with treating others with genuine kindness. It means to allow yourself to have more time to think about the opportunity to turn things around and work on better outcomes from even the most confrontational situations.
I’d whisper this to myself whenever I’m dealt with problematic situations. I was once confronted by a former colleague who has pointed the blame on me for a failed project. I thought I was unfairly made accountable and it would’ve been a shouting feat if it weren’t for my wanting a positive outcome. I thought I didn’t need to explain myself so I took over the failed project and worked hard on turning it around. Thankfully, the rehashed project was completed ahead of schedule requiring minimal resources.
I didn’t need an apology from that colleague. We even became friends even when we’re both no longer connected to the same company. I need not hate nor retaliate but I needed to be the better person and influence others with the same attitude. I moved on and made every effort to avoid a repeat of that passing the accountability mindset.
This is one of the stories I share when asked on job interviews about projects that I’m truly proud of. While you might think these only apply to work situations, being the better person works for every life situation. How many times have we been confronted by a family member or a friend even a neighbor for petty things that you’d think will end up badly? Allow yourself to process the situation and never give in to emotions. Instead, show that you truly care, sit and talk, focus and listen, it’s not going to be easy but work together in figuring out ways for a positive outcome, be the better person.