Thursday, September 10, 2009


Words of Wisdom from Harvey Mackay:

The best way to get even is to forgive

Clara Barton was an American nurse who founded the American Red Cross in 1881 and was its president until 1904. A remarkable woman, she made it a rule never to hold resentment against anyone.

Once a friend reminded her of a cruel thing that had been done to Barton some years previously, but Clara seemed not to remember the incident.

"Don't you remember the wrong that was done to you?" the friend asked.

"No," Clara answered calmly. "I distinctly remember forgetting that."

You will never get ahead of anyone as long as you are trying to get even with them. Even if you do get even with someone, you have put yourself on their level.

The daughter of a friend of mine gave me some advice a few months ago on how to handle forgiveness. She suggested making a list of the grudges, anger and pain that weigh you down. Commit to releasing it once and for all. Take three deep breaths and ask for peace. Then burn the list. And smile. You've just lightened your load.

As F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "For every minute you remain angry, you give up 60 seconds of peace of mind."

Forgiveness is the key to healing all relationships and leads to happiness. You'll be grateful for the experience of forgiving someone. It ultimately makes you stronger.

Forgiveness is something virtually all Americans aspire to, as is witnessed by a nationwide Gallup poll that found 94 percent of those surveyed said it was important to forgive. Yet in the same survey, only 48 percent said they usually tried to forgive others.

I don't think a single person can escape life without experiencing hurt by another person.

That's as true in business as every other phase of life.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, messes up, hurts others, finds fault, misjudges and acts emotionally and improperly from time to time at the expense of others. Recognizing this, I'll overlook an honest misunderstanding in the office, the vendor who blunders over prices, and the occasional dumb mistake. And I know my character will strengthen when I have to work hard to forgive the deal makers who tried to cut me out of the deal, the bankers who wouldn't lend me money when tough times rolled to town, the sales rep who left me for a "sweeter" deal and then asked to return.

And if the day is done, and I can't forgive them, I forget them.

These days especially, many people harbor hard feelings toward the companies that either laid them off or asked them to take pay cuts, reduced hours, additional responsibilities, or otherwise interrupted their careers and lives.

What is the best course of action? How can you get past the anger and the bad feelings? Only one way that I know of—forgiveness. Forgive the company for falling on hard times and making tough choices, even if you disagree with them. Forgive the people who kept their jobs when you lost yours. Forgive the people who piled on extra work and focus instead on how you can help get the company functioning at its best. Forgive yourself for being in whatever position you find yourself. Accept that some things are just not in your control. And then, except for the lessons you learned, forget it.

Carrying grudges can be a heavy load. Just the thought of past pains pulls your energy down. Forgiveness is how you free yourself. You release your anger. You move forward. And you lighten up.

Forgiving what's happened in the past allows you to focus on the future, which is the only place you have to go. Imagine your frame of mind going to your next job interview with a chip on your shoulder. You'd have to be an Oscar contender not to let that shine through to the prospective employer.

And if I haven't convinced you, perhaps you will heed this advice: "Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude," said Martin Luther King Jr. "Forgiveness does not mean ignoring what has been done or putting a false label on an evil act. It means, rather, that the evil act no longer remains as a barrier to the relationship."

Mackay's Moral: It is far better to forgive and forget than to resent and remember.

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