When did it become taboo to fail and recognize your limits?
I’ve been thinking a lot lately. Mostly reflecting on random things, and it struck me one day that as a society, we’re pretty comfortable with being average or mediocre.
It’s just so much easier.
Why the heck would we want to work hard? Push ourselves? Be extreme?
Think differently and do things differently?
GOING WITH THE FLOW IS EASIER THAN GOING AGAINST THE GRAIN
Some examples that made me think of this, was reading a book about how we’re quite narcissistic as a society and how it wasn’t like that before.
In there, it talks about helicopter parents who have pretty much pampered, babied and praised their children for doing the most banal of things their entire life, to the point where they’re all self-absorbed little narcissists.
NOTE: I am well aware that having a blog and writing about what I think, is the epitome of self-absorbed narcissism if I have ever seen one.
As a rather weak defense, I offer to you that this blog is more therapeutic for me and a time-consuming “free” hobby, than it is as a need to show off, but I do recognize that it is a narcissistic hobby.
Anyway, in the book it cites examples about teaching kids how being themselves is so important. Everyone is a fabulous, unique snowflake, they’re all brilliant budding geniuses, and don’t you DARE tell them otherwise.
But honestly, we’re going too far, and it’s starting to show, especially with clients I work with. At any given company, after about 2 months, I have a list of people I’d fire if I was the head there.
Can you believe that? I can see in about 2 months of asking questions and trying to get information from them, every single person who is useless at the company and not at all worth the salary they are being paid.
People who should be fired, who have enough skills and capabilities to work at fast food or retail minimum-wage jobs, if that.
On average, about 50% of employees in any given company can and should be fired.
I guess it’s kind of mean to say that.
No scratch that, it’s really mean to say that, but it’s the truth and I can say what I want on my self-absorbed blog.
Honestly, from my experience of seeing companies do this, if you fired these useless workers, the company would continue to function just as well as before.
Perhaps better now that they aren’t around to bog down the company and jam the wheels.
For me, either you are capable at the job you are doing, or you are not. Period.
There’s no in-between and I think when I express such opinions, people say things like:
“You can’t say that! That’s so mean!
She tried SO HARD.
She tried her best and that’s what counts.”
Actually no. That’s NOT what counts.
What counts is getting the job done.
What counts is that you don’t miss the deadline, the work is near perfect (or actually perfect, given how much time was spent on it), and it was done impeccably.
What counts the most, is that people around you who are more capable, don’t have to REDO YOUR DAMN JOB FOR YOU because you didn’t do what you were supposed to, and EFFED IT UP.
THAT is what counts.
It’s like they’re telling me that even though she reached a mediocre result and failed, she should STILL be praised and paid the same amount of money as someone who puts in the same amount of effort but delivered a stellar result.
Are you kidding me? I’d just fire her after giving her another supervised task to make sure it wasn’t a fluke.
Are we just praising mediocre, average people now, just because we don’t want to hurt their feelings?
Maybe we SHOULD hurt their feelings so that they stop screwing up the job, and find another company to work at, in another area that they can actually excel in and deserve the money they are making.
JUST LOOK AT AREAS THAT HAVE CLEAR WINNERS AND LOSERS
Think about disciplines like sports.
You are either the best or you are not.
There’s no award for showing up at the Olympics and participating. You don’t get a gold medal for being chosen to go to the Olympics.
You have to beat everyone there to get that medal, which is what makes it so much sweeter when you DO get it.
Think of Olympians like swimmer MIchael Phelps who won 22 Olympic medals.
He WAS (and for me) is still the best, and that’s why he won all those medals.
He is a winner and deserved every medal he got.
It’s pretty easy to see in sports who is a winner and who is a loser, but in life, it is a lot more difficult because you don’t want to crush children’s spirits and dreams….. but I think we’re going a bit far with that.
You’re not going to ever imagine when you first start swimming, that you might be an Olympian one day.
Maybe as you get better, you start to see whether or not you have a potential for it and can start training full-time, but when you start as a kid splashing around the wading pool, you aren’t dreaming of medals.
So why don’t we hold ourselves and our kids to the same standards in life?
PRAISING KIDS ALL THE TIME FOR DOING NORMAL THINGS IS A RECIPE FOR DISASTER
Telling a kid “Good Job” for every time they do something banal and not worthy of actual praise, robs the child of the feeling of true praise.
Take for instance my nephew the other day. He fell down and got back up without anyone helping him.
My brother says: “Good job, kid!”
….. good job for what, exactly?
Getting up off the floor?
Not lying there for the rest of your life?
I mean what were the other options for him other than to stand back up?
Are we so stupid these days that we are anxious and overeager to praise children at very young ages for NORMAL things?
He’s just going to expect praise to do what is he supposed to do now. He’s been trained to expect to be brilliant without deserving it.
An excellent example of bull*$& in our schools
Everyone wins awards in school now, not just the ones who deserve it because they were smart AND they worked hard.
Awards for participation, awards for having the best spirit on a team… I mean all of this sounds rather familiar as I was growing up.
Did life ever give anyone money to clear their student debts just because they showed up and participated in college education?
That idea is so ridiculous, it is laughable.
Parents are now slaves to their children, and are constantly telling them how great and special they are for burping, for doing basic things, for having a spark of BASIC MANNERS by saying “thank you” to people.
Right, because that’s what actually happens in life, right?
Your boss will give you a 10% raise because you said “Thank you” when he opened the door for you.
WE ARE TRYING TO MAKE PEOPLE WHO DO WELL, FEEL BAD ABOUT IT
There is a stigma against being #1, and being a winner.
You shouldn’t want to be a winner, you should choose to let EVERYONE win because.. well, as the author put it quite sarcastically, it reflects reality oh so well doesn’t it?
Being a winner is a bad thing these days.
You can’t gloat about it, you can’t be proud that you accomplished it, you just sound like a braggart for one thing, and for another, you are making other kids who tried JUST AS HARD, feel bad about not winning.
Never mind that you worked hard, you tried harder and you were just BETTER, you can’t actually enjoy your win because everyone is a winner.
Look, I am all for self-esteem in a child so that they do not feel depressed, like they’re a loser their entire lives, and can accomplish something, but there’s a line that has to be drawn somewhere.
You can’t tell every kid that they’ll be a winner because they won’t be.
FAILING & LOSING IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD
When did it become taboo to fail?
I’ve failed and sucked at plenty of stuff in my life. I try not to dwell on it so that it doesn’t bring me down, but… hey, that’s reality.
I’ve lost plenty of things, like the campaign I did in freshman year to become president of a club I was part of.
I lost by a rather wide margin and it hurt, but I got over it. It wasn’t meant for me, even though I still think I would have been perfect at it.
I tried really hard, spent a lot of time and worked my but off to win, but I still lost.
In recent years, I’ve lost out bidding on plenty of contracts in the last 5 years. They didn’t choose me because I didn’t look good on paper, or I bombed at the interview.
Or maybe they just didn’t think I had what it took.
These are all my failures that I’ve taken on, taken the risk doing, and chalked it up to being a learning experience for the next time.
I can only just try again after failing, but at least I am not being false-praised for something I didn’t earn.
Why are we trying to teach kids that no one fails at anything? That if you try hard, everything will work out?
They’ll just end up being disappointed when they DO fail, and fail miserably at a life that they are ill-prepared to lead.
Or maybe they’re just so used to fake winning all the time that when they do get out in the real world against others, they are surprised that they don’t get raises and promotions every 2 months just because they’re the loudest of the bunch but can’t do jack squat.
RESULT? THE CURSE OF MEDIOCRITY IN OUR SOCIETY
Ever go to a company and think: You guys goddamn suck. Your products suck, your customer service sucks and I can’t believe you are still in business.
(KitchenAid, Staples, and all you crap stores, I am looking at you)
Guess what? That’s the result of praising children who then grow up into adults who think that they’re the best in the world without having to do much.
Now that we don’t have ANY standards to hold people against because everyone is a winner, everyone has fallen into the curve of mediocrity.
Like they’re all inherent, budding geniuses without having the intelligence or the work ethic.
In contrast, Einstein was a true genius, and he was one person out of many generations.
Now, we just have a society filled with people who do a HALF-ASSED job at everything in their life.
- At working out and losing weight.
- At their jobs, slacking off while others pull their weight.
- At their finances, not being able to become debt-free yet they own a $600 phone
All of this stuff adds up to one big fat ball of average-ness.
We have such LOW STANDARDS for everyone these days that it is easy to be stellar.
It results in a society and a culture of folks who don’t want to push themselves to do anything but sit on the couch, snack away and dream of a pill to take away their pain or a lottery ticket to solve their financial woes.