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Broken Window Theory

January 28, 2014

From The Rawness (a blog you should be reading if you aren’t already):

 Picture you own a house, and you allow the windows of this house to remain broken. Other people who live in and visit this house will believe that they too can break windows in your house, because you give the impression that you don’t mind the windows in your house being broken. Furthermore, they may feel free to escalate and do even bigger acts of vandalism to your house.

This is the broken window theory in a nutshell. Allow others to “vandalize” you (you personally and the company that you keep) and respect goes out the broken window. The vandal loses respect for you, and you lose respect for yourself for allowing the treatment to go on this way.

This is why in politics you notice two opposing statesmen jockeying over the most minor of slights. While observers my mock them for child play, each man knows that how he responds will dictate future relations and perceptions.

The takeaway is not to become hyper-defensive about being respected, but to start by respecting yourself in the first place. This means standing up for yourself, speaking up if someone has disrespected you and setting a tone that you are worthy of recognition and appreciation.

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