How to identify a terminal failure of a person – scenario: Sales were flat or even negative after being positive for a long period of time. When confronted with this reality at a meeting, their immediate response was to ask the landlord to lower the rent, eliminate a service, or cut down on something that cannot be considered “waste”. Notice the pointing of fingers at anything and everything to take attention away from the possibility that the problems lie with their laziness, incompetence, or both. It was explained to them (in a nice way…I could have said, “you stupid moron…how many times do I need to explain this to you before it sticks in that pea-sized brain of yours?”…but didn’t..*sign*) thoroughly and yet when nothing changed or deteriorated further, these same individuals suggested the same “solutions” as the last time, being completely oblivious to the fact that their own abilities were worse than ever.webcam girl
Ignorance can be corrected if people do not hide from their faults. Stupidity, on the other hand, is terminally unfixable, especially if the people involved have developed a spoiled or “entitled” mentality since they have never faced any true personal tests or risks due to the very uncompetitive job market at the time.
Some will point to one of my favorite quotes by Michael Jordan that basically says that the reason he always came out on top was because he never gave up. The reality is that Michael Jordan knew his strengths and weaknesses and didn’t really hide them. He wanted his competition to over or underestimate him if they thought that they knew everything about his game. Michael Jordan knew his weaknesses the best of all. After he spent all of his time focusing on his strengths, he’d then see if he could also bring up a weakness. Most of the time his best effort still produced a result better than most due to his unending work ethic and competitive drive. Michael Jordan was the consummate professional and led by example when it came to the game of basketball and related dealings.
Notice that Michael Jordan was always working on what he was 100% sure that was effective and advanced not only his career but the careers of all of his teammates since he knew, better than anyone, that a team is only as strong as its weakest link. Michael Jordan was the master of the “win-win”. He also knew how to cut his losses if there was something that he could not fix. Again, an athlete that intelligent and dedicated to competition will almost always find a way to make a weakness a non-factor. In other words, the competition knew about the weakness, but since they spent the majority of preparation on this strategy of exploitation (example: Jordan Rules) they were wholly unprepared when Jordan developed his outside game making the Chicago Bulls effectively unstoppable.
So the moral to all of this observation is to not misquote someone who is renowned for their ability to inspire others. Taken out of context it can even be dangerous since it tends to oversimplify a very important life lesson. It can allow people to overlook self-reflection or self-criticism thinking that as long as they just keep being a good little mindless drone who does the bare minimum, they will have a job forever. As long as they haven’t been fired yet or the business that they are involved with hasn’t closed, they see no need for any significant or “difficult” changes by their part.
I am now seeing people who quote Michael Jordan or claim to follow his principles fail repeatedly at pretty much everything they ever tried to do that had any real tangible value. The most embarrassing part is that they think that all of their failures were the faults of others, even if their failures/faults can be itemized on 10 sheets of small font, single-spaced, and maximized margin legal paper. I know that if I list my own failures, the length of said list is not exactly something of which I am proud. But seeing as how I’ve seen no evidence that they’ve even thought about, let alone admitted, how they managed to be nearly worthless for so long and were figuratively carried along by those who were not opportunistic sociopaths. To them, as long as they were making money personally, it doesn’t matter if their organization is burning down around their heads. They really believe that they can continue this parasitic behavior forever and will not run out of hosts. This brings me to another quote that is the “dark side” to the principles expressed by Michael Jordan that pretty much sums up these people:
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over (to infinity) while expecting a different result.”
2012 will be a very interesting year indeed…or at least entertaining. For once, I’d like to be proven wrong when it comes to things like this. Just once. But to believe that would actually happen is probably asking for something that is just too much against the natural order of the Universe.
When it comes to relationships, jobs, or pretty much anything else, most people are Pavlovian in how they interact with the world…they are reactive. It is nearly impossible to change from the negative “reactive” to the positive “proactive” state of mind. So if you are proactive (independent, natural leader, entrepreneurial, etc) you will never be satisfied by surrounding yourself with reactive people. This has probably also been your biggest frustration in the past, i.e. you go out of your way to help create a win-win for one or more people who needed your help (and they didn’t even have to ask since you wanted to help) and once they get what they want and allow things to deteriorate (since you cannot carry them forever), they blame you for everything. Again, this is why it’s so important to not forget your role…as well as what people will do to you if you let them. Patience is a virtue, since good things come to those who wait…in a proactive way of course ;-)
This essay/rant is for all of those people who have tried to help someone to become better in a job, a relationship, their approach to learning, their appearance, etc, but ended up feeling used, exhausted, and unappreciated especially if you asked for nothing in return. There are just some people in the world that cannot be fixed since most people are incapable of significant change in their lives, especially after they’ve reached a certain age or comfort zone. Save the ones you can…let go of the ones you cannot…