- (of a person) having sound judgment; fair and sensible.
Reasonableness is probably one of the most important, yet least recognized traits in great humans.
Do you like your boss? If you do, it’s probably partly due to their reasonableness – even though that may not be the first trait you think of. Conversely, when someone is unreasonable, we recognize – and bitch about it – right away.
If I had to pick the #1 (intangible) reason I accepted my current job, it was because the stakeholders were reasonable during the interview process. While it may not be the most intuitive or predictable answer, it’s the truth. Of all the people I know, both personally and professionally, I am most fascinated by those who are reasonable. Maybe it is because so many people are unreasonable (aka asses). It’s actually pretty easy to be an ass.
In my experience, there are few things more contagious that unreasonableness. If the leader is unreasonable, it makes it super tough for people to “buy in” and commit to the cause. Really, if any one person in any given situation gets the “unreasonable” bug, everyone else involved is pretty much f*cked.
I spent years surrounded by unreasonable asses, who sucked the life out of me and made the game hard to play and even harder to win. But the truth is, outside factors are only part of the story. I also need to be reasonable with myself. I push myself harder than anyone else ever has, and likely ever will. It’s a characteristic of mine that can be a great asset, or a huge liability.
If I set unrealistic expectations of myself (financially, physically, spiritually, mentally) I become unreasonable. I begin to think differently. I react instead of respond. I push and struggle. I’m unwilling to accept anything other than the unreasonable expectation I set for myself. It impacts my overall happiness, in turn affecting my goal.
My recovery from my car accident has been mired with unreasonableness. I have suffered irreversible damage that prevents me from doing some of the things I did before the accident. Yet, I have continued to make the mistake of setting expectations for myself that are not reasonable. Self-will, grit, determination, sheer unrelenting determination, tenacity and perseverance get a person like me far. But none of those attributes trump reasonableness. Once you bump up against reasonableness, you will lose every time – no matter how hard you try.
We should take advantage of the power and merit behind reasonableness. At SoapBoxSample, Be Reasonable is one of the Telltale Ten principles we embrace. There are also few powers greater than reasonableness to fuel contentment, happiness and freedom. If you want to be happy, in or out of the office, start with awareness. Ask, “Is this reasonable?” If not, what can you change? How can you help lead change in others?
Bottom line. Be reasonable. With your own expectations of yourself and with your expectations of others – whether it be in personal relationships or the workplace. Remember, reasonable = sanity. Unreasonableness = insanity.