The piano at my house had a bad note. One of the pins that held one of the strings kept slipping in its hole, and the string could not stay in tune. The result was truly obnoxious. . When I sat at the piano I found myself expending energy to avoid the note, modifying my playing to stay away from the note, and in some cases I reluctantly endured it even though the discordant tones were dreadful. The piano contains 87 other wonderful notes yet the joy of playing was forfeited and I found myself not playing at all, because of one bad note.
I’ve found the same can happen in relationships. One bad spot between friends can sour all the good spots.
It can happen in organizations. One toxic employee can poison the entire group, causing otherwise happy and effective people to become guarded and unproductive.
A few weeks ago I had a piano professional come and repair the broken note. Oh the wonders! Not just that note but all 87 of the other notes sound brilliant once again. The time and money to fix one broken note had an exponential impact on the quality of the the rest of the piano, and on the amount of joy in my life.
Where else are there broken notes in my life?