Happiness Evangelist

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From Tolerate to Celebrate


Life would be boring if everyone was the same.

If someone has different ideas about a situation than we do, we cannot equate difference with wrongness. This came home to me powerfully last week after a particular interaction.

In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey offers a rule that helps us deal with differences.

Level 1 – TOLERATE: To endure or put up with someone’s differences.

Level 2 – ACCEPT: To consent to someone’s differences; to regard them as proper, suitable, or normal.

Level 3 – VALUE: To be open and see someone’s differences as worthwhile.

Level 4 – CELEBRATE: To deeply understand another’s point of view, and to explain that point of view as well as or better than he or she could.

It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognise, accept and celebrate those differences.

Too often we arrive at the first landing – tolerate – and stop. We simply ‘put up with’ each other’s differences when we have a responsibility to keep climbing past acceptance, to levels where we value and celebrate one another.

Not wrong, just…Different.