In Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, drunken war veteran Mike Campbell is asked how he went bankrupt. “Two ways,” he answers. “Gradually, then suddenly.”
When things go bad, it is often in two ways. Gradual means easy to overlook at first, then justify or explain away, then ignore. When we give attention and intention to gradual, we can be thoughtful, strategic, and proactive. We can take responsibility, get help, learn, reiterate, and, hopefully, make things better.
Or, we can take another well-trodden path: ignore it until we can’t ignore it anymore, assume someone else will deal with it, minimalize potential consequences, rationalize that it’s not that big a deal.
It’s worth looking around honestly to see what is going bad. If it’s still in the gradual phase, what can you do to help?
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