Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Don't Let The Bad Guys Get You Down

Inevitably when you know a lot of people in your business or personal life, somebody will let you down. Probably more than just one person. I am a big believer in the power of networking and building mutually beneficial relationships with lots of people, but with that will come some disappointments. There will always be individuals who are naysayers, critics and those that just suck the joy and enthusiasm out of the room.

A friend of mine was recently upset by the fact that too many people in her network were "takers" and not "givers". She herself works hard to reach out to everyone she knows and constantly helps others in business and personal situations. She had always believed that if you do for others, then others will instinctively reach out to provide you with the same level of support. But recently she noticed that there were many people who not only would take her friendship, but then do nothing to return it.

I think this is common. I wish that the whole world embraced the concept of selflessness, but throughout human history there are countless examples, large and small, of just the opposite. I am reminded of the movie Pay it Forward where each person did a good dead for someone else in the world with the only request they they "pay it forward",... meaning the recipient someday do a miraculous favor for another person. Eventually that good deed would come back to the person who started the chain. The problem is that this only works if EVERYONE reciprocates. Everybody has to "pay it forward" or the chain of good deeds dies. The problem is that that too many people are selfish. Sometimes on purpose, other times simply because they get caught up in their own issues or mistakenly inflate their own level of self-importance.

I thought a lot about my friend's situation. She is a selfless person, and by no means expects people to reciprocate, .... but as human beings, we all have emotions and feelings. In addition to these feelings, we also can have expectations of others that are too high. I am not saying that you should not hold people accountable for their actions, but rather realize that people may be dealing with personal problems that they do not share publicly, thus not allowing us to fully understand what motivates their actions.

I have had many people who have disappointed me throughout my lifetime. But I have many other relationships with people who are amazing friends, co-worker and mentors. If I was to put everyone I have ever met onto some kind of "cosmic scale", the positive experiences would so greatly outweigh the negative ones that the scale would tip over.

My father always told me not to let the bad guys get me down. He has a wonderful way of looking at the world and at society. He instinctively saw that those who cut you off in traffic or are rude in restaurants have their own problems. He always told me to focus on the good in my life and don't spend too much time worrying about the rest. Do I still get angry when I am treated poorly? Absolutely. But I know that my true friends and respected colleagues are the antidote to those who would try to bring me down.

Have a great day

Thom Singer

No comments: