I was reading some announcements about the retirement of Randy Johnson today. For those of you who don’t know, Randy Johnson is at least in the conversation, if not the front-runner, for the greatest left handed pitcher of all time in baseball. Don’t worry, this isn’t a baseball post.
One of the reactions I read was from a writer by the name of Jeff Pearlman. I used to read Pearlman consistently, but this post shows why I stopped. It’s whiny and condescending, and blames another person just for being who they are. The complaint isn’t germane to Johnson retiring and seems needlessly petty and confrontational. Pearlman does this a lot.
Was Johnson a jerk on the days he pitched? From everything I’ve heard, he definitely could be. Does that really matter? Nope. Why did Pearlman feel like he needed to say this? I have no idea.
I see a lot of people (and I’ve been guilty of it myself) who will deflect blame onto someone else, even when there really isn’t any blame to be had. Be it through petty sniping behind someone’s back, passive-aggressive statements toward people we don’t enjoy being around, or through some other means, criticism and complaining doesn’t solve any problems. It may make you feel better, but it’s not going to make anything actually be better.
Harry Truman had a sign on his desk saying, “The Buck Stops Here”. This statement has become almost ubiquitous in our society, but the actual meaning is often ignored.
You, and I, and everyone else we come into contact with is responsible for one thing, and one thing only: our response to circumstances. We can’t control how other’s act, or what Life dumps in our paths. What we can control is how we react to it. We can handle things with dignity and grace, and rise above the mud, or we can wallow in it with the other pigs. It’s as simple as that.
When we react defensively, or out of spite or envy toward someone else, we’re really showing how little we trust ourselves to be able to solve our own problems. We demonstrate that we have no faith in being able to rise above, that we’re content to be mired in our situations, and that we don’t have the initiative or drive to solve a problem ourselves (or find someone who can provide support in doing so).
Take charge of your own life by refusing to allow negative circumstances to turn you into a whiner. Don’t be Jeff Pearlman. Be Harry Truman.
Photo courtesy: The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum