Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

Don’t Laugh At The Failures Of Others–Save Your Smiles For Successes

If you delight in someone else's failure, have some concern about your own character.

Dare to Dream,
Never Give Up,
Don’t Let Others Destroy Your Confidence-
Do You Really Believe Those Things?

One of the enduring positive philosophies of our culture–and of people who want to succeed–is to not be defeated by the sneers and taunts of others and to not consider an initial failure to be a permanent one. Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” He also said to never, never, never give up.

  • We enjoy hearing about people in history who achieved success even though they were mocked, ridiculed or persecuted because of their dreams.  
  • We applaud those with the courage to envision a better future, a better life or a better way of doing things.
  • We commend those who have the perserverence to keep trying when nay-sayers tell them they have failed and should give it up and get out of the way.

Unfortunately, all of our praise usually stops when the person trying to reach a goal or achieve a dream is an enemy, adversary or competitor.  Sophocles said, in about 400 BC, “Isn’t it the sweetest mockery to mock our enemies?”

Has It Happened To You?

You may have tried to change things at work for the better, only to have several people purposely try to block your success. When things didn’t go as well as you had hoped, some of those people chortled behind your back or to your face and you had a difficult time keeping on. You found out quickly why almost everyone with a task to accomplish has had detractors who seemed to enjoy watching problems develop, just so they could laugh with their supporters and say, “I told you so.”

You probably found out that some people enjoy the failures of others more than they enjoy their own successes. More to the point–some people are most happy when they can mock, kick, laugh at and disparage someone else. That is when they are in their element. It’s always been that way.  William Paley (1742-1805) said, “Who can defeat a sneer?”  Charles Simmons, British lecturer and politician in the 1940s said, “Ridicule is the first and last argument of a fool.” 

Do Unto Others……..

Have you ever wished some coworkers or employees you know would work harder at helping make things better than they do at tearing things down and blaming you for all of it? If you have worked around the barriers they placed to prevent you from being successful, you know how it feels and how it can stop forward motion, not only for you but for a group. That doesn’t mean their ideas are all wrong and yours are all right–but you get the sense that no matter what you tried to do they would knock it down.

Don’t do that to anyone else. Not even to those you dislike. Not even to those who you think really messed things up. Certainly not just because you want to seem better than them in comparison. That’s especially true if you had a chance to help make things work but you were too busy tripping them or refusing to lend support just because you couldn’t stand the thought of them succeeding.

Don’t support those who delight in mocking others.  When someone’s communication primarily involves ranting, snickering, jeering and heckling, avoid them as though they have the Swine Flu. They probably have something worse–a mean spirit and a cold heart.

Be part of the solution.  See if you can find it in your heart, mind and character to help–or at least to not to be a hindrance. If your help is rejected in a way that is demeaning, angry or unappreciative, focus on improving yourself and your area of responsibility and waiting until things change. Or, work in a positive, healing-not-hateful way to bring about change. If your ideas are appreciated and even a few are accepted, you may have forged a link that can help you, the other person and everyone else.

The bottom line: I am not suggesting that everyone who fails to achieve their goals is worthy of your sympathy or full-hearted support.  Many times people fail because they are selfish, unskilled, lacking in knowledge or wanting achievement without effort. Sometimes they fail because they were approaching a problem the wrong way, weren’t prepared for contingencies, used poor judgment about the people they picked to get tasks done, or didn’t provide enough oversight.  However, until you’ve thoroughly tidied up your own personality, knowledge, skills and effectiveness, don’t snipe at others, backstab them or show nastiness by high-fiving when they fall short of the positive things they were trying to accomplish.

Consider the advice you have probably given someone else: Don’t let others drag you down!  Apply that to your actions–don’t drag someone down and don’t smile if you see it happening. Save your smiles for successes.

February 7th, 2010 Posted by | Life and Work, Personal and Professional Development | 12 comments