The Importance of Developing Tolerance in Life and in Business

A Virtue

TolerantI believe tolerance is crucial in finding happiness and fulfillment in life. Being tolerant does not only apply to being accepting of another race or a foreigner in the neighborhood. There is much more to tolerance. Personally, my outlook on life changed when I realized it was impossible to grow in business without developing in tolerance.

This morning as I was getting ready to go off to my office, I looked through my closet trying to decide what sweater to wear. I noticed several sweaters I had thought were very cute when I first saw them at the store but after I brought them home and wore them a couple of times, they lost their appeal. And I found myself asking why I had purchased them in the first place. I am sure you relate to this, especially if you are a female.

How about marriage and relationships; we are often so in love in the beginning and everything our partner says and does seems like heaven. They are the best, and our thoughts go something like: “I have never met anyone quite like her or him, I am so blessed to have found them,” …and then 2 years into the relationship, things start to change, you are not so sure anymore. 5 years later those bubbly feelings are all but gone; suddenly, all that is irritating about them is now so very obvious. 10 years later you are still together – things have settled down, you love each other and you are happy inspite of all those imperfections.

You know why? Because you developed in tolerance.

Tolerance teaches us to focus on achieving an important goal regardless of who or what is rubbing us the wrong way.

Situations such as, “I thought this sweater was absolutely super when I bought it, now it looks kind of tacky, but I am going to wear it anyway!”

Or “Despite all our misunderstandings and troubles, I still love my spouse. We are determined to make our relationship work!”

Or “This customer is so very disrespectful, but I will do my best to grant them the best service possible.”

Tolerance according to the dictionary is

A fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry.

A fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one’s own.

Interest in and concern for ideas, opinions,practices, etc foreign to one’s own; a liberal, undogmatic view point.

The act or capacity of enduring; endurance: my tolerance of noise is limited

I believe tolerance, like resilience is one of the most powerful character traits we can develop as human beings. Why? Because tolerance is endurance! What worthwhile goal are we able to achieve unless we're willing to endure?

At home, in school, at work, at the gym, at the restaurant, everywhere – we are called to deal with people and situations that we may dislike and find challenging. People are going to rub us the wrong way. Human beings are all different and unique. We reason differently and handle situations differently. The tolerant leader understands, respects and learns to work with this aspect of human existence, hence he wins! 

Network marketing has been described as a ‘people business’. In network marketing, people are our best asset, yet our greatest demise at the same time. Why? Because you are leveraging the activities of independent distributors who must experience some kind of success in order for you to be successful. This is challenging on most fronts for the simple reason that folks are unpredictable … it is difficult to be in control over that which we're unable to predict.

The people we deal with

ToleranceYour customers: my cell phone devise is what we commonly called a blackberry, which means that in addition to the regular functions of receiving and making calls, it is also setup to receive emails as well as perform countless other functions … additional services we of course have to pay for.

A couple of months ago, I couldn’t assess my emails through my blackberry. Two weeks went by during which I was kind of hoping the phone would ‘wake up' on its own, because I didn’t have the time to seek technical support and start the process of getting this fixed. Another month went by during which I was being billed for a function that wasn’t working, and so I called my cellphone company one day and behold it took the technician almost 40 minutes to fix the problem. 

So feeling frustrated over this, I thought to myself, “wow, what if this had just happened to one of my direct sales customers – that an issue with a home phone service purchased through me kept them on the phone with technical support for almost one hour?”

We all know stuff happens, especially when dealing with technology. Customers can be highly critical and unforgiving when a product they purchase from a person they know malfunctions. They tend to be more forgiving when it happens with another company, but find it totally unacceptable if they ‘did you a favor by consuming one of your products’. The conversation becomes “I did not want to take the service in the first place. These things don’t work. I knew this was going to happen,’ etc and then it becomes a personal problem. Take control.

Your team members: You know what? There is nothing as rewarding as leadership, when you take responsibility and dedicate your time and efforts in helping team memebers succeed.

But I can tell you from experience that it can be crushing when these same individuals take you for granted, quit on you and walk away without even a “thank you”.

This has demoralized many distributors on the field. “No one in my team is doing anything,” the leader cries, “I am trying hard to keep them motivated, to keep them going. It is disappointing.”

There are cases where distributors on your team will quit the business just to frustrate or hurt the leader. Solution: keep sorting.

Other ‘leaders’ in the company: The most unique thing about network marketing is that anyone with the right work ethic can make it to the top … even those who lack the character required for true leadership.

The ones in whose organization you find yourself, but can’t figure out how to work with.  You know how they say you are free from a ‘boss’ in network marketing? Well, some uplines are known to take on the role of ‘boss’ sometimes.

In network marketing, you absolutely have no control over who you may have to work with. Hence, you must be tolerant. You must learn to deal with people and situations you would have avoided if you had a choice.

How to develop tolerance

1. Be pleasant and avoid confrontations.

"Tolerance is another word for indifference." – William Somerset Maugham

2. Be respectful of your differences with others.

"You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist." – Friedrich Nietzsche 

3. Make it all about your business, leave emotions aside.

"If a profound gulf separates my neighbor’s belief from mine, there is always the golden bridge of tolerance." – unknown 

4. Maintain a positive attitude and take everything with a grain of salt.

"Good humor makes all things tolerable." – Henry Ward Beecher 

5. Remain focused on your goals.

"Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach." – Tom Robbins

6. Be willing to ‘kiss-ass’ (for lack of a better word) until your business grows to the level where you are independent. May sound cold, but this most savvy business people are great at this.

"Reasonable people adapt to the world. Unreasonable people persist in trying to adapt the world to themselves. Therefore, all progress depends on unreasonable people." – George Bernard Shaw 

7. Do not hesitate to step back and ‘act like the fool’ when need be. This requires humility and shows your willingness to put business building first. It may seem like you are being trampled over, but at the end of the day, your bottomline is growing.

"In the practice of tolerance, one’s enemy is the best teacher." – Dalai Lama

8. Don't be easily shaken up, be tough mentally and seek to understand the character of those you are working with inorder to foster growth.

"Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving." – Dale Carnegie

9. Make sure the team especially those ‘bossy’ ones understand you are no push-over. Know when to hold your own. Be self-confident.

"If you will discipline yourself to make your mind self-sufficient you will thereby be least vulnerable to injury from the outside." – Critias of Athens

10. The last but not the least tip on how to develop tolerance is the realization that all people including yourself are imperfect.

"What is tolerance? … it is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly … that is the first law of nature." – Voltaire

Why most people find it difficult to develop tolerance in network marketing is because as independent business owners they do not have to put up with anything they don’t like – hence ‘independent’. Unlike employees who must tolerate in order to get a pay check, these entrepreneurs do have other choices. This also may explain why many great leaders have 'moved-on'.

Lack of tolerance breads hostility. Hostility disintegrates relationships.

Tolerance is a virtue. Until we accomplish the goals we seek and find success in an undertaking, tolerance is a ‘skill’ to be mastered.

Cheers to your success!

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  1. Disgruntled customers make me laugh – “I did not want to take the service in the first place. These things don’t work. I knew this was going to happen,’ lol. Great article. Tolerance is a virtue!

  2. Great article! Loved the quotes. A reader can’t come to face2face and leave without learning something. Thanks!

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