We lived near a person of power growing up. He is/was a wonderful human being. It was fitting, then, that he always had a group of friends join him on his morning walk. They seemed to enjoy the walk and conversation.
I checked in on this morning walk routine recently. And, I heard that the group of friends stopped joining him on the walk. Their disappearance coincided with his retirement.
This story got me reflecting…
First, power influences the behavior of those around you. It is why folks in power who are self aware appreciate folks who speak truth to them. Telling the truth is a risk and helps folks in power stay grounded – assuming they want to be (and not everyone does).
Second, this story made me reflect on how I behave with folks around me. Our incentive to behave a certain way with folks who have a sway over us is strong. The question, then, is – how do we behave with folks who are no longer on that list? And, what about random strangers who were never on that list?
I think there’s a strong correlation between the strength of a person’s character and how they behave with folks who have no obvious sway over their behavior.
As we make progress along our journey, it is worth remembering that our character is one of the strongest leading indicators of our happiness through it.