Choosing a Response
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response.” – Victor Frankl
In a career spent interacting with other people, some who aren’t always pleasant to be around, I’ve come to appreciate this Frankl quote. In general I work to choose the appropriate response. And by appropriate I generally mean professional. I write this with one particularly nasty human being who runs a successful business and happens to be a customer. He’s taken the opportunity to attack me a couple of times. I’ve taken the opportunity to never respond to his attacks. And while I haven’t fired this company as a customer, I have taken steps to replace his business with more pleasant people.
Life is too short to work for assholes. – Unknown
I use this one a lot when people ask me about taking certain jobs, or working with certain people. I’ve applied it in my own career to people who I didn’t like all that much but happened to be working for. In every one of those cases, we parted ways pretty quickly. There are four in particular who I won’t ever associate with again. And until I wrote this I hadn’t even thought about them in some time. Filed them in the memory dumpster.
I was listening to a podcast with David Goggins, an ex-Navy SEAL who is famous for putting himself through insane long distance running events, setting pull-up records, and generally for being a tough SOB. The interviewer stated that he did his best not to get upset about the trolls who commented on his social media feeds. They both agreed that deleting the comment and blocking the troll was the best thing to do. Why get upset about someone you don’t know saying something about you?
This goes for any celebrity, or anyone that contributes anything meaningful to the world. Haters are gonna hate. The New England Patriots are about to play in their third straight Super Bowl and the tenth in Tom Brady’s career. Fans of other teams, and sports writers and commentators who are sick of the same team being in it every year love to tear them down, find controversies, invent scandals, and otherwise act like trolls. I don’t believe Brady gives a damn what anyone thinks about it at this point in his career, but it must get old having to filter out the haters.
Perhaps the worst offense of all is the way many of us self-talk to ourselves. We’re our own worst critics. This is the stuff that drives growth but can cripple you with self-doubt if you let it. That’s choosing our response too. I try to delete the comment and block the troll whenever possible. Especially when the troll is in my own mind.