Quote of the Week: Start with you

“The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there.” – Robert M. Pirsig, from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

I lived this quote tonight.

There I was vacuuming my house and sensing something was wrong, again, with my vacuum.  I should mention that I loathe my vacuum.

For a while I continued to vacuum, frustrated at how little dirt the vacuum seemed to be getting out of the carpet.  I started shouting over the vacuum noise, at the vacuum.  Not surprisingly, it didn’t respond to my pleas for it to improve its performance.

Then, I remembered this week’s quote, and a few of the other things I learned reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

I stopped vacuuming, turned the vacuum off, unplugged it and flipped it over.  There in the suction intake, just behind the brushes, was one of my son’s toys.  It was wedged across the intake blocking, I’d guess, 80% or more of the opening.  I dislodged the toy, flipped the vacuum back over, plugged it in and continued to vacuum, to much better results.

When you’re struggling with someone or something that just won’t do what you want, don’t shout.

Figure out what you can change about you first.

Drive change.

2 thoughts on “Quote of the Week: Start with you”

  1. Great quote and I think it is often neglected. One of the reasons I really relate to Covey’s 7-Habits is because it uses that “inside out” approach. Before you can manage others (or in the context of your blog; drive change) you better learn how to manage yourself.

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