Preaching is more important than practice

It’s easy to take offense when someone extols a virtue that you don’t feel they exhibit.

I’ve been called out on this many times. For example, when someone accuses me of being inconsiderate, I’d rather not react in kind with “how dare you.” I’d rather listen and see if I can understand why the other person is hurting. I’d prefer to give the other person the benefit of the doubt.

Does that mean that I always give the benefit of the doubt? No. Certainly there are situations where this “rule” I’ve created for myself doesn’t apply, but even when it does apply, I don’t always take heed.

There are some situations though, where I’ve applied this advice, and it’s resulted in remarkable outcomes. Instead of me blowing up, I’ve routinely found that I was talking apples, and someone else was talking oranges. That happens more often than you think and that’s why it’s sage advice to try to give people the benefit of the doubt.

If you know me, you know I like to share my thoughts on this as well as many other techniques that I think can lead to more productive relationships between people. Do I practice all of these techniques? No. Some I’m just exploring.

Nonetheless, I’m excited to share them with other people. And I do this for a variety of reasons. Sometimes I feel they can be helpful to others. Sometimes I like to gauge the reactions of others and use their feedback to refine my views.

I frequently preach what I don’t yet practice.

Preach being used in the sense that I want to share what I’m thinking with those around me, if it can be of benefit to them. There are also plenty of times I think out-loud and I’m sure that comes across as preaching when it’s not intended.

I’m proud of the fact that I preach what I don’t yet practice because preaching is a prerequisite to practice.

It’s one thing to do the “right” thing, whatever that might be.

For example, I personally feel giving the benefit of the doubt is what I’d prefer to do. I will simply call that the “right” thing for me to do, not necessarily the right thing for you to do, that’s up to you.

Ok, so back to what I said, it’s one thing to do the “right” thing. It’s another thing entirely to be aware of what the “right” thing is, even if you don’t yet do it. The latter is more important than the former.

If you know what you want to do, you can know when you aren’t doing it. If you don’t know what you want to do, you won’t know when you stop doing it.