The floggings will continue until morale improves

On the absurdity of punishing ourselves in pursuit of success.

The floggings will continue until morale improves
Photo by Museums Victoria / Unsplash
flogging · noun
1. Infliction of punishment by dealing blows or whipping.
2. Beating with a whip or strap or rope as a form of punishment. 

- Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

The title of this post is a quote of unclear origin, which I spotted at the Beamish Museum.

It's pretty silly on its face, but the reason I love it so much is because it reflects the way many of us treat ourselves. We punish ourselves when we are not as productive or successful as we want to be. The quote highlights how absurd this behaviour is.

Management theory is absolutely full of advice about positive reinforcement and being compassionate. But we so rarely apply this to ourselves. Instead, we beat ourselves up because we think we will feel better if we work harder or do more.

Instead, we need to do what a good manager would do: be compassionate and non-judgemental, and address the root cause of the problem.