On any given day there are about a million things that make their way up and down our to-do lists. Busy, busy, busy. We are forced to find a balance between what needs to be done, and what’s important but can wait. We prioritize because we have to. The danger lies in leaving the wrong things on the to-do list for too long.

The ‘wrong’ things to leave on the list; to keep pushing down in priority because a continuous chain of more ‘urgent’ items keep popping up, are the very things that define you and your world. They are the behaviors that you tolerate at work, at home, and in your life.

What you tolerate defines your culture.

If you tolerate disrespect, then your culture is a culture of disrespect. It’s a ‘lowest common denominator’ kind of thing. One bad apple is all you have to tolerate to define that culture of yours. This is where you should draw your ‘expectation’ line in the sand for the world. “If you’re with me, this is what I tolerate.” (This by the way is likely not something you say, it’s a constant state of being.)

What you tolerate defines your culture.

The first time I heard someone say this it was in a seminar to a group of managers. It was a business thing, but what part of our lives doesn’t this apply to? If nothing else, we can apply it to a culture of one, ourselves.