Right discipline

Whenever someone has done wrong by you, immediately consider what notion of good or evil they had in doing it. For when you see that, you’ll feel compassion, instead of astonishment or rage. For you may yourself have the same notions of good and evil, or similar ones, in which case you’ll make an allowance for what they’ve done. But if you no longer hold the same notions, you’ll be more readily gracious for their error.”

– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 7.26

At 49 years old, I have made enough mistakes to recognize in the mistakes of others one of my own. At times, this awareness helps me realize that the other person’s wrongdoing hasn’t hurt me at all. I can let go without a word spoken, without a gesture made.

In the workplace, we cannot always quietly forgive wrongdoers and wish them well on their way. We have a duty of care to the organization and its stakeholders. However, we can remember the words of Marcus Aurelius when deciding on the appropriate discipline, and be mindful that the very act of discipline we decide upon will be viewed by others as good or evil.

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