We spend a lot of time asking employees to mind what they do and say so as not to hurt of offend others.
Perhaps there should also be room for us to teach employees how to prepare for hurt and offenses.
Here is one method, borrowed from today’s entry in The Daily Stoic. First, we should not expect to work our entire life without a colleague offending us. This expectation is absolutely ridiculous. Second, we should consider (as in think carefully about) the offenses that can be realistically thrown at us. Third, and clearly most difficult, we should want for these offenses to materialize as an opportunity to practice excellence and virtue.
This teaching reminded me of a story about Ajahn Chah, the famous Thai Buddhist monk:
Before saying a word, he [Ajahn Chah] motioned to a glass at his side. “Do you see this glass?” he asked us. “I love this glass. It holds the water admirably. When the sun shines on it, it reflects the light beautifully. When I tap it, it has a lovely ring. Yet for me, this glass is already broken. When the wind knocks it over or my elbow knocks it off the shelf and it falls to the ground and shatters, I say, ‘Of course.’ But when I understand that this glass is already broken, every minute with it is precious.
When we know – truly know – that someone will eventually offend us at work one day, we can shift our attention to the joyful moments at hand.