After his book launch an author complained that one of his best friends never bought his book. He ranted, saying that he expected his friend to support him by buying his book. He got nods of agreement from the the rantees.
The author went as far as saying that he was prepared to terminate the long-standing friendship because of this ‘shameful’ behaviour. All, once again nodded in agreement. Except for one.
He asked, “Is it true that your friend had to buy your book?” He went on to ask if it wasn’t conceivable that the friend expected the author to maybe give him the book for free because of the virtue of their long-standing friendship?
He also asked if the author was prepared to break up a friendship over the price of a R150 book? The same friend who had helped the author out of many a tight spot and had been nothing but supportive throughout the blood, sweat and tears that writing brings out of one.
It is easy to get on one’s high horse and judge someone for a perceived slight. But, who knows that person’s situation? The friend may have been going through a hard time financially and just managed to scrape enough money for the petrol to get to the book launch. The friend may be an inch away from debtors prison, his wife may be leaving him and he is barely hanging on. You see, one doesn’t always know the other side of the story.
Take taxi drivers for instance. A seriously easy (and mostly-deserved) target for our ire. Generally, they’re hated for the way they take over the road, cut in front of us, stop at will and break every rule of the road. Monsters, one and all, aren’t they?
But, is this true?
From my understanding, a taxi driver has to make a set sum of money for his boss before he starts making any money for himself. Let’s call it R1 500. This means that he has to get as many passengers into his vehicle and drop them off as quickly as possible so that he can do this again and again and again. He may only start making money for himself late in the afternoon and could walk away with the princely sum of R200 for being up before the crack of dawn. This kind of pressure can’t possibly lead to sterling behaviour.
Remember, like us he is a parent, a husband, a son and a human being. He is just trying to do the best he can do under the circumstances. Just like you and me. Perhaps our judgement should go to the taxi bosses whose yoke enslaves these drivers?
My housekeeper was late for the umpteenth time. I got angry with her. She explained, that for the piddly (my words) R150 a day I paid her to clean up my mess, she had to get up at 4 am and catch two taxis. Then she had to do the same going back home. I can’t remember the detail, but her taxi fare was in the region of R70. So, her take home pay was R80. I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I would go through the stress she does to work for R80 a day.
I don’t get angry with her much anymore.
I’m mindful that the universe doesn’t revolve around me, that other people have their own issues, hopes and dreams. And, that whilst I’m judging them, they too may be judging me because my behaviour is strange and abhorrent to them too. Perhaps a better way is to look at every situation with curiosity rather than with judgement.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.jacquesdevilliers.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Screen-Shot-2015-06-20-at-11.43.17-AM.png[/author_image] [author_info]Jacques de Villiers is the strategic account director for the Jacques de Villiers Group. He helps set both his clients and his partners up to succeed. For his own account he speaks and trains on, personal excellence, leadership, marketing and copywriting.[/author_info] [/author]