Bad examples are powerful teachers.
Good examples are aspirational, but bad examples are practical.
Witnessing a bad example is memorable. Seeing the opposite of how you view yourself or what you yourself to be or to be perceived to be, is a singular teaching moment. It’s not most pleasant of experiences (after all, it is a bad example), but the feeling of recoiling from that experience gets burned in your brain. That moment then serves as a reminder to catch you before you make a mistake.
We all know that we don’t want to be certain things, to say certain things, or to do certain things. Seeing those things come to life in front of you, in another person, is more potent than reading about those things. It’s recognizable, it’s visceral, and it stays with you.
Photo by Diogo Nunes on Unsplash
So, when you have a bad experience with someone, file it away under, “Goodness, I hope I never act that way.”
Know whom you don’t want to be like.
Know what you don’t want to say.
Know what you don’t want to do.
Know how you don’t want to react.
Know the opposite of who you aspire to be.