Everyone’s heard the phrase, “take the high road.” It usually gets said when someone’s choices are about to affect others, and may be witnessed and appreciated by a wider audience.
It can sound vaguely spiritual, but it’s actually very much a “this world” approach to human interactions, a signal about one’s intentions: high-mindedness and hope.
It’s a pre-emptive attempt to affect an outcome positively, and the hope is that it will be an example, help set a tone, become slightly “contagious,” which might then elevate behavior and cooperation toward the best possible outcome.
Taking the high road is not being naïve. You know very well others may not choose to take the high road. Your eyes are wide open.
But here’s the thing. This is not idle philosophical rumination. Individuals may privately struggle with true feelings that contrast with conveying the high-mindedness to be good – and do good – in a scary, disappointing world.
But. If you’re a parent, or a workplace supervisor, you’re dealing with the simple reality that other people are experiencing and noticing you emotionally, viscerally – apart from any conscious thoughts they might have about you. How much you think you should, and how often you actually do, take the high road, affects everything. Everything.
If you don’t believe that, if you don’t think it’s true – you’re just wrong.
It’s not about always being right, and it’s certainly not about being a saint. It’s just that children, family members, coworkers, employees, and colleagues are constantly sizing up and reacting to the emotional state inside Mom or Dad, or inside the Boss. If they’re too angry, too anxious, or too self-absorbed it will be perceived and become a problem that will play out in the real world.
And yes, of course, there are all kinds of differences between what goes on within a family and what happens at work – and I write about that all over this blog. Still, taking the high road, being authentically seen as someone who takes the high road whenever humanly possible, means fewer (but not zero) problems, and the problems that do occur are more manageable, sooner – in the workplace or on the homefront.
Here’s an audio about that: [display_podcast]