I love how when we see other people’s stories, we make excuses for them about how easy it was. What’s hilarious about this is that, for ourselves, we don’t look at the advantages– just the obstacles. “Oh, but it was easy for him, because X, Y, and Z,” we say. “You and I don’t have those advantages anymore, though– it’s harder for us.” For ourselves, it’s like “Oh but I can’t because,” and for others, it’s “That was easy for them because.” Pretty hypocritical, right? (Unintentionally, of course.) Reminds me of Hugh McLeod’s phrase, “Don’t compare your inside with somebody else’s outside.” -Julien Smith, The Lie of the Moment
I recently watched a film in which a teenage girl was defeated in a fencing match by a 27-year old, military trained male.
She was clearly outmatched and her performance was less than impressive.
The Winning Response
Her reaction: Where did you learn to fight like that?
Which led to: Can you teach me how to fight like you do?
Which led to: Her becoming a better fighter.
Which led to: Her helping the military leader defeat the villain at the end of the film.
Which led to: Her becoming a highly respected, nation-wide hero.
That wasn’t her only option. She could have chosen…
The Losing Response
Possible alternative reaction: Of course, you’re a better fighter than I am. You have advantages that I don’t have. You’re a grown man, you’ve been trained by the military, and you’ve been fighting for a longer amount of time.
Which would have led to: My failures have nothing to do with any changes which can be made on my end and your superior results are not based on anything I can emulate.
Which would have led to: I am doomed to remain the same because I lack your good fortune and God-given advantages.
Which would have led to: stagnancy, bitterness, and disillusionment.
Both responses are right, but only one of them leads to better moves
Here’s the deal: If you have any goals that involve getting off the couch and making an impact, you are going to encounter people who are doing a better job than you at producing results. Your reaction to that experience will determine everything for you.
Will you interpret their success in a way that allows you to improve?
Will you simply dismiss them as just another lucky person who has it easy, while you go on with your life using the same ineffective moves you’ve always used?