Why “Teaching Someone a Lesson” Doesn’t Work

It’s so human to want to teach someone a lesson when they’re behaving badly.

Maybe because of the fundamental attribution error (we attribute other people’s behavior to temperament, ours to circumstances), we tend to focus on correcting poor behavior in other people.

We aren’t quite as ardent when it comes to scrutinizing ourselves.

I think it’s just easier to evaluate behavior from the outside. We can see what’s happening, and the impact it has.

Thus, we’re constantly tempted to show others the error of their ways when they color outside the lines. If only they could see themselves as we do, they’d understand. They’d do things differently.

But there’s a problem.

Teaching people lessons doesn’t work. It only convinces them that WE are annoying, meddling, aggressive, controlling, etc.

I wrote about this problem recently, and what to do instead if you want lessons to sink in. To read the article, click here:

How to Teach Someone a Lesson (Warning: What they learn might disappoint you.)

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