COMMENTARY: Ten things that bother me

Aaron Hughey

For unknown reasons the other night, I found myself sitting at the computer thinking about things that bother me. I always try to accentuate the positive and see myself as an optimist, but these are some of my complaints:

People who criticize more than they praise. We all have room for improvement and most of us are acutely aware of our shortcomings. The quickest way to kill morale is to be adept at pointing out deficiencies while never acknowledging strengths.

People who focus on what we should be instead of appreciating what we are. It’s fine to aspire to greater heights and most good leaders always have a clear vision of the future. But we need to spend just as much time celebrating the things we already do well.

People who don’t understand basic budgeting. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about your personal finances or those of the government. If you are spending more than you have coming in, you are acting irresponsibly and probably headed for disaster.

People who don’t care about other people. One of the biggest problems in our culture today is selfishness. Contrary to what some seem to believe, we’re all in this together and we’re obligated to take care of each other – especially during difficult times.

People who aren’t speaking to other people. This is fine if you are 12 years old, but adults should be beyond this kind of nonsense. If you are past your teens and still giving someone the cold shoulder – regardless of the reason – get over it. Nothing is ever resolved if you aren’t willing to communicate.

People who think they alone are responsible for their success. Nobody flourishes entirely on their own. If you are doing well in life, it’s due in large measure to the fact that you live in a country that has provided you with immense opportunities. So stop patting yourself on the back because you’ve “made it.”

People who confuse documentation with accomplishment. Any time I’m forced to spend convincing others that I’m doing great things is less time I have to actually do great things. Whether I’m doing a good job or not will be evident over time.

People who focus on packaging instead of content. This is one that has bothered me since high school. Substance is infinitely more important than presentation; i.e., what you have to say is much more important than how you say it. I know some people who would basically ignore you if you cured cancer but didn’t explain it the “right” manner.

People who think PowerPoint is the answer to all their problems. As a faculty member, this one rings particularly true for me. I have occasionally encountered students who seem to have nothing meaningful to contribute – but they sure do it in a very exciting and creative way. Technology is not a substitute for critical thinking and originality.

People who complain that they receive too many e-mails. In the digital age, I put this in the same category as people who can’t walk and chew gum simultaneously. Each morning when I arrive in the office, I have about 100 e-mails waiting in my inbox. It takes me about 90 seconds to delete the ones I don’t want to read. We increasingly live in an information-saturated world. Learn to deal with e-mail.

Again, these are just a few things that annoy me – not to the point where I can’t sleep at night – but still they are irritating. I’d be interested in hearing some of the things that irritate you.

Feel free to e-mail me.

This commentary doesn’t necessarily represent the views of the Herald or the university.