“You sound very upset by this interaction you had.”
Yeah, well the guy just butts-in with his ‘If I’d have been there here’s what I would have done…’ and it was so condescending and kind of embarrassing too. It’s so easy to be the after-the-fact guy and announce how you would have handled some situation. He wasn’t the one called in by the executives to give them an overview, and he wasn’t the one who had to answer all of their questions either.
“Did it make you feel like you had failed in some way?”
No, not really… I did a pretty complete presentation of our issues, and I’m sure that the management understood everything I outlined. They followed up with some pretty tough questions that Stan ended up hearing about, and that’s when he started preaching about how differently he would have handled it. Of course it was all presented to me as if he was trying to help me out with his vast experience. He just burns me up sometimes.
“Perhaps you are not seeing this interaction for what it truly was. There are many facets to each gem, and this encounter is no different. You are upset because of the perspective you have chosen to view this from, not allowing yourself to imagine that there are other possibilities.”
Like what? I can’t just think that Stan is an asshat and I don’t have to listen to asshats?
“That is not at all what I am attempting to relay to you. In this case, as in many other cases, the person offering the ‘advice’ is doing more than just trying to best you at some game. The person is usually inflating their own ego, so to speak. It is all ego-based braggadocio disguised as some kind of help to you. Does he think you will encounter the exact same situation in the near-future? No, he is putting on an ego-show for you and anyone else listening. It is what someone once called ‘mental masturbation’ in a public place.”
So he’s just performing for the crowd huh? I can see that now, I knew he wasn’t really helping me at all. It’s not like I don’t know the difference, I’ve had people give me constructive criticism before, and it feels completely different.
“Yes, of course it does because ‘help’ meant to aid you. Good critique is offered in private, as to not risk embarrassing the one you are intending to help. It usually consists of some points of critique followed closely by advice that can make a difference in the future. Also, it is effective to point out what the person has done correctly as well, and emphasize their strengths for support. Criticism is best received with a bit of sweetener to make it digestible. If the receiver feels attacked, their defenses naturally come in to play and nothing is accomplished.”
So it’s possible to help someone out after something like my presentation, without making them feel like you’re saying that you’d have done it all better?
“Very much so. When the ego is put aside, and your heart tells you that you truly are trying to assist someone, the entire experience feels different to both parties. The receiver of the offered knowledge can also tell that it is being offered from a genuine place. In this case, your associate was only trying to reassure himself, and others, that he might have done a better job if it. My guess is that no one, not even himself, truly believed any part of what he said to you. People such as that are very transparent to those who understand the true nature of helping a colleague.”
If I look at it how you laid it out I can see that Stan is just as insecure as anyone else might be. Seeing it that way, it’s hard to be mad at him – I kind of want to assure him that when it’s his turn to do a presentation, he’ll be fine.
“That is a fine thought for you to have. Perspective and knowledge can give you a different place from which to view others from. Once you can understand their motives and objectives, it makes it easier to check your own ego, and respond in a more measured way.”
So, it’s almost like getting a peek at what another’s soul journey is about, in a way. The things that people do or say can reveal the parts of themselves that they are either working on, or need to be.
“That is a very difficult statement for me to simply agree with, Thomas. Perhaps it is best to concentrate on your own journey, and not attempt to decipher another’s. In that way you can remain on your own path and not be side tracked by what another soul may or may not need be doing.”
Ahh, so if I’m trying to figure out what someone else needs to work on, I’m just distracting myself from my own learning?
“Yes, something like that, but there is a bit more to it. I will tell you that there are some earthbound souls who are extremely good at figuring out what you are here for, but that knowledge is seldom used for positive interaction. It is true that some of those individuals can become teachers or gurus of some manner, but more often the knowledge is used in ways that diminish others.”
You mean like con-men or other grifter type criminals? They figure out your vulnerabilities and then pretend to supply you with whatever you most need?
“That example will suffice, but just know that there are myriad ways the same knowledge can be used for corruption. I do not mean to imply that there always like that, in fact there are a rare few who possess such insight, and choose to never reveal what they know.”
So, there’s some people who can figure out other’s deepest needs and then choose to do nothing with that information?
“Yes Thomas, there are some like that. Old souls, quite evolved in their own journeys typically. They listen and observe carefully without judgment, in doing so they can learn much about someone in a very short time. They notice how other’s comport themselves, and the manners in which they deal with others around them. Yet, even with that knowledge, they simply choose to better themselves and not use it against those they have observed.”
That does sound pretty evolved actually, I’m not sure I know anyone like that myself. I guess if I did, I wouldn’t know it anyway from how you tell it.