I have never known how to deal with other people's failures. When I screw up
, the issue is simple. I yell at myself
what I did wrong
, fix things up as much as is possible, and ensure that I never make the same mistake
again. I don't fail
often. I never get
at others for my errors, especially not those who did better than me. I get angry at myself
, and I accept all the blame
When other people fail it is different. I am not trying to say that everyone deals with failure in the same way, but when
I discuss it here, I will deal with the most common reactions I have observed. I suppose I'll look at the two sorts of failures that really bother me.
1) When a person who you were depending on or who has been working with you fails, and 2) When someone or someones fail in the same way you do well. Of
the two, type 1 is certainly more annoying, however part 2 can be quite a problem as well.
When someone says they will do something, I expect it to be done. If you're not sure of yourself, then why give your word? Of course,
I'm not so hard-hearted that I don't see why sometimes the unexpected can get in the way, but, if it does happen I would expect that person to at least contact
the people who are depending on them as soon as possible, to give them at least some sort of chance at working around the problem. That too is fully
acceptable. However, when someone doesn't accomplish
what they said they would, or does a substandard job at the task at hand, I can't help but feel, at the very least, disappointed in them. Even one occurence
can make me not want to work with that person ever again, and several occurences will seal that idea. I usually manage to make it by anyways, for, I have always
been a master at improvisation of all forms, but still... I shouldn't be forced to do that.
The other problem with a situation like this comes from the "what am I supposed to say?" The natural reaction is to become angry at the person.
Some people might yell at the person, or at least say in a calm tone of voice how disappointed and unimpressed they are. Society, however, tells us that this sort
of reaction is wrong. We are supposed to support people, tell them it's ok, and remind them kindly to please try to do better next time. Well... I don't believe
in this at all. I believe in a bond of trust, and once trust is broken it is difficult to repair.
I have more to say on type 1, but I don't really feel like phrasing it into words right now, for it's a jumble in my head. Instead
let us look at type 2. I supposed the best way to look at it would be to take a realworld example. A few days ago I recieved my current mark in physics class,
and to put it simply, my mark was significantly higher than any other member of the class. This was no statistical anomaly, for, I was one of the few (if any)
people who had actually put some effort into the class, done the assignments, and understood my material. Not all of the people who recieved a mark update
on the same day seemed to understand this however. Some looked at their poor mark as an indication of their poor performance, but more did not. They looked
at it as a punishment for a crime they had not committed. By seeing that I had not been punished as they had, they then took the leap that I was somehow to
blame. Sure, all of this may be completely illogical, but for some people logic isn't that important. Of course, this is a random guess and probably has nothing
to do with the actual thought proccess they went through, but the results were the same. Anger and bitterness towards me.
How exactly am I suppose to react to this? I'll tell you what the natural reaction is: to tell these people, "It's your own damn fault!" I
had nothing to do with it. Personally, I would rather that they had done well, but no one seems to understand this. It is too easy to blame someone else. My
secondary reaction is to want to comfort these people, to explain how they might improve their performance in the future or undo some of their mistakes, but
this too is taken in the wrong way. People accuse me of being patronizing, and of simply wanting to gloat how I had done better than they. What can I say
to that? None of it is true, but we're long past the use of logic here. Usually I find the most effective thing to do is to just shut up. These are not my
people. They will never be my friends.