I’ve been thinking a lot about respect the past couple of weeks, and more particularly how people or teams can earn or lose my respect. By definition respect is giving something or someone a “high or special regard” or “to consider worthy of high regard”. Respect is a strange thing. It often takes a lot of time to gain, but can be stripped away in a minute.
For me there are a few key things that will cause me to lose all respect for something or someone. Not being humble in successes, or gracious in struggles top that list. With regards to this I am often reminded that “modesty is attended with profit, arrogance brings on destruction”. I cannot stand people who gloat needlessly; regardless of if it’s the game winning touchdown or simply crossing a finish line first. It is the fastest way to lose my respect and likely never regain it. I have almost zero tolerance or patience for those who let their egos control their actions rather than their minds and morals.
That being said, not far behind is being dishonest or disingenuous – either as an individual or as an entity. I cannot stand being lied to, regardless of the reason. If you can’t be honest with those who trust you, then you are not worth respect. And to push that even further, if you can’t be honest with yourself then you can’t be honest with others. Which, again, means you are not worthy of respect. And if you lie to promote yourself at the cost of my friends, you can bet that you will never gain my respect again. Ever.
I think that they last thing I would put on this list today is those who quit when they are faced with a challenge, rather than find ways to overcome the challenge. I don’t really like quitters, and as such it’s probably natural that I have no respect for them. I often think that quitters run from things that are too difficult for them rather than work to find solutions. I often think they are so afraid of failure that they are too scared to attempt to succeed. Which brings to mind another one of my favorite sayings “what would you attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail”. What if you took out the possibility that you would fail, would you become fearless? Would you try things you never tried before? Fear of failure is a natural response for everyone, but it’s how you react to that fear that shapes your character as a person, and subsequently earns my respect.
You are all probably wondering why I bring all of this up, and the answer is simple: things have happened that have put it on my mind and made me really think about how I view earning and keeping respect. You see I pretty firmly believe that respect has to be earned, and that it is not freely given. It’s not easy to earn, at least from me. But on the flip side, it is incredibly easy to lose. And sadly, I have lost respect for quite a few people over the course of the past few weeks, but I have gained an enormous amount of respect for others.
I’m not really going to talk about those I’ve lost respect for the last few weeks, because they aren’t worth additional time or thought. I will, however, state that if you are reading this and fall into one of the two categories above, perhaps you should question what you are doing and how you are interacting with people. Even if I’m not referring to you, specifically, if it’s causing you to question if I am talking about you perhaps you should re-evaluate your interactions with people, as even if you have my respect, you’ve likely lost someone’s respect as a result. (Have I been vague enough for you and are you completely lost yet?)
Instead, I’m going to talk about some people who have earned my respect.
Monolith has had a bit of a rough start this expansion for any number of reasons. I think it all sort of culminated last week on Thursday, when he let a tank go mid-raid. But rather than worry over it, we kept chugging along. And despite not getting much time last night to work our new heroic boss because we working in a new tank, the raid was hardly phased. It turns out we could have spent much more time on the encounter than allocated – because somewhere between our struggles we started to click as a team.
And the fact that we had a few exceptionally terrible raid nights and collectively as a team decided not to let that get us down, and didn’t quit when things got hard, has earned a great deal of respect from me. The fact that no one so much batted an eye when we removed a player with a key role in our raid, and rather we just continued to push forward and work progression has earned a great deal of respect from me. And the fact that we have continued to remain focused on our progress and how we can improve as a team as we move forward has only solidified that respect.
We have often said that this is one of the best raid rosters we’ve ever had – but I sometimes think it’s for more than the simple reason that each person on it is strong individually. I think it’s because we largely enjoy gaming together, because we challenge ourselves and because we can collectively share in our successes and work through our failures. We’ve had a few bumps in the road, but at the end of the day perhaps those bumps were necessary to teach us that individual success does not automatically equate to team success. I am confident those bumps will smooth out, and have already started to do so as we’ve gotten more comfortable as a team. And as that happens it will be reflected in our continued progression. After all, I’ve always said that progression should merely be a by-product of hard work. While we’ve not progressed as quickly as we’d have liked right out of the gate, I am still having fun. And the reason for that is not because of how quickly we are killing things, or what arbitrary metric we are being measured by, but rather because I’m enjoying the time I am spending with the people that I’m succeeding with. And, honestly, that fact alone has given me a new level of respect for my raid team.
After the struggles that I felt last expansion, this is a welcome and refreshing feeling for me. I don’t know what changed. Perhaps my outlook, perhaps Brade’s rubbed off a little more on me. Perhaps I’m just in a better place over all (and maybe I’m simply feeling overly reflective with my wedding in less than a week). Regardless, there it is. And for the first time in a long time I look forward to raid nights and I’m excited to see a challenging boss. I don’t dread having to work on it; I simply know that we’ll get through it as we’ve always done. Quietly, with respect, and on our schedule.
In closing, I will leave you with the following thought: “The way to overcome the angry man is with gentleness, the evil man with goodness, the miser with generosity and the liar with truth.”