You may have noticed a trend in my writing. That’s because the more I look around, listen and interact with people around me, the more I see how fucked up we are to one another. And frankly, I’m really exhausted by it. Especially since 2020 has been such a shit show, we should at least try to band together and lift each other up a little. But unfortunately, it’s a beatdown from all angles. With 2020 beating us down while our masked peers kick us, run away and deny ever being there. I suppose that’s why the quote by Hippocrates resonates with me so much right now. Especially since we have such a contentious election going on. We are so divided politically and ideologically that we are neglecting to treat each other the way we should. But politics aside, this is a trend I’ve been seeing grow more and more over the past few years.
We are two faced to those in our lives. We are kind and polite to their face and turn around just to talk shit behind their back. We verbally, though disingenuously, encourage people to better their lives and achieve great things but in secret we rejoice in their failure and shortcomings. I’ve also experienced family and friends telling me why my ideas, dreams or plans won’t work and received discouraging feedback which should have kept me from achieving them. It’s terribly sad when the people you think should or would support you do everything they can to tell you that what you are aiming for is unachievable. To which, I call, bullshit!
Truth is, we don’t actually want the best for others.
When others fail or fall flat on their face, we are quick to say, “I told ya so” rather than “Get the fuck up and try again! You got this!”
We all do it in one way or another. Hell, even I do it at times. I know I’m one of those people who will say “I fucking told you, stupid”. However, when I do, I do it out of Tough Love (Click here for my views on that) because I know the sting of failure can sometimes be a great motivator. But I’ll admit there are times that I do it maliciously, even though I know I shouldn’t. Why are we like this though? What is the point? What purpose does it serve by being this way? Other than boosting our own ego for just a split second, we are accomplishing absolutely nothing by taking this approach. But this degrading mentality, though directed outward at others, is actually harmful to us at the same time.
Remember, there is a flip side to every coin. In every life decision we make, there is a flip side to it. It’s not a matter of whether you are going to pay a cost for your actions, it’s merely a matter of which cost you are going to pay. By rejoicing in the failures or shortcomings of others, we are only tickling our own ego. We know deep down that our own insecurities are preventing us from taking the chances and risks we wish we had the courage to do. We don’t want to see others succeed because somewhere deep in our own minds and beliefs, it means we are slackers, failures or incapable. When others do better, then it must mean we can’t. This simply isn’t true.
I attribute this to the “everyone gets a trophy” and “everyone is special” mentality in our school systems and little league sports that started some 35 years ago. When equal outcome is the standard and reward is given simply for attendance and minimum effort, we are set up for a lifetime of self deprecating beliefs when others achieve greatness and we are stuck in our cubicle hating life. It leads to this resentment to the unfairness of life. Thus why we feel compelled to tear others down.
Elon Musk was told by his heroes, Neil Armstrong and Gene Cernan, who testified in congress, that they believed that Elon’s Space X program was irresponsible and should not be allowed to launch or proceed. This broke Elon’s heart and brought him to tears in an interview on the evening news broadcast, 60 Minutes. But this didn’t stop him. Elon continued and has since launched a car into space, launched the first private rocket into space that then connected to the International Space Station. He has also developed the first reusable rocket, developed the first electric car with Tesla and also found a way to make it affordable. He continues to make huge progress in the world of space exploration, biomedical engineering and electric vehicles. There was no real purpose for Neil and Gene to tear down Elon like that. Two men who should have been absolutely thrilled that people want to continue to build the space program. Luckily, Elon had enough people in his life who encouraged him to keep going, thus achieving all that he has. But to be torn down by his heroes could have completely destroyed what has become a remarkable advancement.
“Help, or at least do no harm.”
The point is, Hippocrates makes it very clear that there are only two things we must do. “Help, or at least do no harm.” What does that mean for us? Instead of disingenuously giving encouragement, try being genuine and honest. Instead of telling them why an idea or plan won’t work, ask if they have considered all the alternatives and possible obstacles. Instead of saying, “I told you so”, say “Well, that sucked. Get up, let’s do it again. Now we know what to do better next time. I got you.” Why don’t you offer some genuine help rather than be in the way? Why not desire to see someone succeed at tasks that we feel are impossible? Everyone loves an underdog story! Root for the underdog! Maybe it’s their achievement and success that inspires someone else to do great things. Maybe when you witness the help you offer others, it inspires you to do better than you are now. Don’t be the reason someone doesn’t try, doesn’t get up or gives up. Don’t do the harm that prevents them from bettering themselves. You never know what kind of greatness and beauty they can bring into the world. So encourage them and help them however you can. Don’t be a negative voice. There’s already too many of them out there. And if you are reading this blog series, I’m confident that you are not that type of person to begin with. So instead, go help, do no harm. Who knows what kind of greatness this world could produce if we took Hippocrates advice.